Racing Update: Four Podiums at British Superbike Opener; WSBK Returns to Europe

Racing Update: Four Podiums at British Superbike Opener; WSBK Returns to Europe

BMW racers were in action in Spain and Great Britain last weekend. Spanish MotorLand Aragón hosted the third round of the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) and the season opener of the new FIM Superstock 1000 European Championship (STK1000). At Britain’s Donington Park, the British Superbike Championship (BSB) 2017 season started with four podium finishes and more great results for the BMW S1000RR racers.

MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship in Alcañiz, Spain.

After the overseas races in Australia and Thailand, the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) has returned to Europe. The third round of the 2017 season was held at MotorLand Aragón near Alcañiz in the northeast of Spain.

Althea BMW Racing Team Rider Jordi Torres #81 (SPA)

Althea BMW Racing Team rider Jordi Torres (ESP) qualified sixth on the grid for Saturday’s race. He dropped a few positions at the start but fought his way back towards the front and crossed the line in sixth position. According to the new regulations, the result meant third on the front row for Sunday’s race. In the turmoil of the start – with the highest placed riders from race one pushing from behind – the Spaniard lost positions. But repeating his feat of Saturday, Torres overtook several opponents, finishing seventh in race two.

His Althea BMW Racing teammate Markus Reiterberger (GER) had bad luck in Saturday’s Superpole 1 when he crashed with only a few minutes to go. He had qualified 13th on the grid, but his bike was damaged. The last minute repairs in the short time available forced him to start Saturday’s race from the back. The German made a great come-back on his S1000RR and came home in 12th position. In Sunday’s race, Reiterberger was 16th.

Jordi Torres: “We finish this weekend with a good feeling because this is a very difficult track. For me it was a special weekend as we returned to Europe and it was my home round. We all gave our best and also the support of the BMW Motorrad Motorsport engineers was very helpful. Unfortunately the start in both races was not the best and we were not too competitive in the first laps. But lap by lap we found our rhythm and I was able to overtake a lot of riders and to catch up again. That was good and important. The whole team worked very well and we did not have any problems with our BMW S1000RR, so it was good.”

Althea BMW Racing Team Rider Markus Reiterberger #21 (GER)

Markus Reiterberger: “The weekend was a bit difficult for me. We started pretty well on Friday, were competitive and made good steps in the right direction. Especially on Saturday morning, my BMW S1000RR felt good. In Superpole 1, I was lying in third for most of the time and went out for another fast lap to further improve my time. In any case I would have had the pace for Superpole 2 but unfortunately I fell — probably because of a cold front tire. During the outlap, several riders had tried to stay at my rear wheel in order to achieve a decent lap time. I had to get rid of them all and also to wait for a clear track. The other riders who also waited crashed in the same corner as well. It was a pity that this prevented me from qualifying for Superole 2 as I am convinced that a position in the top 10 on the grid would have been possible. Starting from the very back, I still managed to improve to 12th in Saturday’s race, which was okay. Sunday’s race was a bit more difficult. The wind was much stronger and we opted for a different rear tire. That turned out to be the better choice for the opening laps but as the race went on, I started to struggle a bit, could not turn the bike properly and develop a feeling for the bike. Now we will do some testing and I hope that we will find the way into the right direction.”

FIM Superstock 1000 European Championship in Alcañiz, Spain.

At MotorLand Aragon (ESP), the BMW teams and the engineers of BMW Motorrad Motorsport kicked off the season in the new FIM Superstock 1000 European Championship (STK1000) that replaces the former FIM Superstock 1000 Cup. Eight BMW S1000RR riders took to the track in the first race of the season. The highest-placed among them was Marco Faccani (ITA) of the Althea BMW Racing Team. He crossed the line in fifth on his RR. Points also went to Sébastien Suchet (SUI / Berclaz Racing Team) and the young German Julian Puffe (MF84 Althea) who finished the race in 13th and 14th respectively. Another new member in the BMW family is former Grand Prix and WorldSBK rider Federico Sandi (ITA), who competes for the Berclaz Racing Team. After a successful test with his RR, he aimed for a top result but bad luck prevented him from demonstrating his skills and performance.

Althea BMW Racing Team Rider Marco Faccani #5 (ITA)

Marco Faccani: “I can be pleased with today’s result, we came home in fifth and have scored some points, which was important considering I still have some shoulder pain after a previous injury. I’ve got to know the bike better and think we’ve done a good job, improving session by session. In the race, we perhaps didn’t have the pace that we had in practice but I’m nevertheless pleased with fifth, and will be doing my best to improve on this during the next rounds.”

Julian Puffe: “My start wasn’t bad but another rider cut my line at the first corner and I lost a lot of places. I then found it hard to build up a rhythm and made a few mistakes but lap by lap things improved and in the end, I finished fourteenth. For my first race that’s OK but I’m sure we can do much better, as the team and bike are working well. We will work to improve and get faster step by step, starting from Assen…”

Federico Sandi: “I was pretty happy with the set-up solution we found during the warm-up. Unfortunately I had a small problem at the start, when the bike stopped briefly after 50 or 60 meters. This cost me a few positions but I was able to pass several riders and after three laps I was behind the guys that eventually finished in the top positions. But then all of a sudden my rear wheel locked and I crashed. We still have to analyze why this happened. For sure I am a disappointed because the potential for me and the team is very, very high. We can fight at the very front but this time we go home empty handed. It is a pity, but I am sure that in Assen we can improve with another step forward with the electronics and also with the engine. I will do my best there and push to fight at the front. I like the BMW S1000RR a lot. It is fast but we still have some work to do. The weekend did not finish well but we will try with a clean sheet in Assen.”

British Superbike Championship in Donington, Great Britain.

The long winter has also come to an end in the British Superbike Championship (BSB). For the 2017 curtain raiser, the BMW teams and BMW Motorrad Motorsport experts traveled to Donington Park (GBR) – and kicked off the season with two podium finishes for the BMW S1000RR.

Team BMW Bathams SMT Racing Rider Michael Rutter #4 (GB)

In the first of the two races in the Superbike class (BSB SBK), Tyco BMW rider Christian Iddon (GBR) finished third on the rostrum with his RR. He was immediately followed by Peter Hickman (GBR / Smiths Racing) in fourth. Davide Giugliano (ITA) finished his first race on the Tyco BMW S1000RR in 13th and Jakub Smrz (CZE / Lloyd & Jones PR Racing) also collected points, crossing the line in 14th. In race two, Iddon missed out the podium by just a few tenths of a second, coming home in fourth. Hickman and Giugliano were eighth and ninth respectively. Smrz completed the points positions in 15th.

Team Tyco BM­W Motorrad Racing Rider Christian Iddon #24 (GB)

Christian Iddon: “It’s a good solid start to the season for us and a great reward for the team and the boys in the garage as I’ve given them a tough few weeks. I’m pleased to start the season with a podium finish for Tyco BMW and give all our sponsors a good showing. We still have work to do to bridge that gap to the front guys, but it’s very achievable and I can leave round one with a lot of confidence.”

Davide Giugliano: “Some of the racing was a bit of a surprise and a few of the guys got very close, but that is okay. I’ve learned a lot about the championship today and also the Tyco BMW, so we can go to the next round and show a little bit more of my own style and I will also not be afraid to make some good passes on my Tyco BMW S1000RR.”

In the Superstock class (BSB STK) all three races this weekend saw a BMW S1000RR rider on the podium as well as several BMW racers in the top eight.

Race one and two on Saturday were combined into an “endurance race.” In both legs, 18 laps were completed and half points were awarded on both occasions. After race one, the teams had ten minutes in the pit lane to change tires, refuel and prepare the bikes for the second part. Michael Rutter (GBR / Bathams SMT) rode his RR to third on the first podium, with Chrissy Rouse (GBR / Mission Racing) following in fourth. Tom Tunstall (GBR / Integro) was sixth. In race two, Rutter and Rouse again finished third and fourth. Ian Hutchinson (GBR) raced to fifth on his Tyco BMW S1000RR after starting from 30th on the back of the grid. Ashley Beech (GBR / Jones Dorling Racing) was seventh.

Sunday’s third race was to the usual format and this time it was Hutchinson’s turn to step onto the podium in third. In this nail biting thriller, he crossed the line only 0.5 seconds behind the winner. Rutter and Rouse followed on their RRs in fourth and fifth place. Adam Jenkinson (GBR / Northern Escalator Instrallations) was seventh.

Ian Hutchinson: “Not a perfect weekend by any means but I probably passed more riders in that race on Saturday than I have done in the best part of a season before. In Sunday’s race we grabbed a podium, which is always my goal for a weekend, but we want to be winning races and pushing hard with a championship challenge. The Tyco BMW S1000RR has plenty of potential again this year and I’m looking forward to the next few rounds before the road racing season starts.”

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