The European Superstock 1000 Championship title hunt will go down to the wire at the final round in Magny-Cours (France). In the penultimate round of the season, championship leader Markus Reiterberger of team alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW, set out on the most challenging track on the WorldSBK calendar in Portimão (Portugal). With a third place finish in a thrilling Superstock race, he secured a comfortable starting position for the final race of the season, with only three title candidates remaining. Team mate Jan Bühn earned another top 10 result on the Portuguese track with a solid performance.
Free Practice 1+2
Although Markus Reiterberger was able to finish the first free practice session with a lap time of 1’45.298 minutes in first place overall, the Bavarian was not yet satisfied with the basic set-up of his S 1000 RR. The 24-year-old still saw potential in his feeling for the front wheel as well as in the setting of the overall geometry. Especially the increased asphalt temperatures in the second free practice session, worsened the grip ratio and made it much more difficult to improve the lap time. Meanwhile, his teammate Jan Bühn struggled with similar challenges and finished the two Friday training sessions in eleventh place overall.
FP1+2 Combined Results
P1 Markus Reiterberger 1´45.298 min (-0.244)
P11 Jan Bühn 1’47.168 min (+1.870)
Free Practice 3
The last practice before the qualifying session was a tough one for both alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW riders. Reiterberger improved his lap time to 1’44.736 and was at the end of the session just 0.114 seconds behind the fastest of the classification in third place. Jan Bühn defended his eleventh position with a 1’46.831 min.
With a technical adjustment, Reiterberger managed to establish himself right at the head of the field in the beginning of the qualifying session. Although his best time was undercut by Federico Sandi on Ducati, nevertheless Reiti confirmed his second starting position for the race with 1’44.0 min lap time. Also ahead of his title rivals Roberto Tamburini and Maximilian Scheib. Jan Bühn ranked, as in the previous sessions, the eleventh position overall. The 27-year-old, however, was not satisfied with the feeling for his BMW S 1000 RR.
P2 Markus Reiterberger 1´44.017 min (+0.116)
P11 Jan Bühn 1´46.140 min (+2.239)
For the two alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW riders, the race started on Sunday noon and was scheduled for 14 laps. Reiterberger, who started from second position, took the leading role before the first corner. But he did not manage to get away from his pursuers. Federico Sandi stayed close behind him, could attack from the slipstream and took the lead. Reiterberger then found himself in second place under pressure from BMW rider Roberto Tamburini. The Italian managed to pass Reiterberger in the third round. Even at this early stage of the race Reiterberger could not keep his desired racing line and lost valuable time on his competitors, especially in the corner exit phase. Yamaha factory rider Florian Marino also closed the gap to Reiterberger and passed the 24-year-old Bavarian. At high risk, the championship leader fought back and successfully attacked Marino from the slipstream two laps before the end of the race. Reiti defended this counterattack to the finish line and took third place at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. He achieved important points in the battle for the championship.
Jan Bühn fell back to 14th position right after the start. However, he managed to fight his way to 10th place until the middle of the race. In the last lap he luckily inherited the ninth place, due to the crash of Luca Vitali.
The title in the Superstock 1000 European Championship will be decided in just under two weeks in Magny-Cours between alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW rider Markus Reiterberger (140 points), BMW brand colleague Roberto Tamburini (122 points) and Maximilian Scheib (121 points) on Aprilia. It promises to be an exciting race weekend, where mistakes are not allowed for neither of the three riders.
Final Round STK 1000 European Championship
France | Magny Cours | 28.-30. September 2018
„That was not a walk in the park. Portimão is a special track where we had to keep the others at a distance. In the free practice sessions I did not had a good feeling for the bike, which improved on Saturday in qualifying. As we have seen, we could not bring the speed over the race distance. That’s why I had to make a smart race. Especially from the middle of the race, I only saved my position. With a lot of risk, I rode up to third place and at the end we collected valuable points for the championship. It was a difficult race weekend, but we still have a good starting position for the season finale in Magny-Cours.”
„It was a difficult weekend for me and my team. Unfortunately, more than ninth place in the race was not possible. We tried to improve the feeling for the front wheel over the whole weekend. But we could not make the decisive step for more confidence. I lost too much time at the corner entry during the race. The track in Portimão is actually quite good for me and we were optimistic that we can get a good result here. In Magny-Cours we have another chance to prove ourselves.“
Werner Daemen | Team Manager:
„Portimão is a challenging track where we had to compromise with our setup. We were not able to fight for the victory, but we are satisfied with third place for Markus and ninth place for Jan. We are now fully focused on the last race in Magny-Cours and are doing our best to win the title.“