With a soothing result from the preseason tests, the alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW team entered the season opener of the FIM Superstock 1000 European Championship in MotorLand Aragón (ESP). Markus Reiterberger and Jan Bühn are going into the new season with great expectations after an intensive preparation. Determining the position of the new BMW Motorrad Customer Racing Team in the Superstock European Championship, in the surrounding of WorldSBK.
Day 1 – Free Practice. Fastest laptime for Reiterberger in debut.
Free Practice 1
A wet start for Markus Reiterberger and Jan Bühn into the first free practice in MotorLand Aragón. Having just a functional test with the newly built BMW S 1000 RR, Reiterberger lined up with a 2:09.091 min lap time on position four and Jan Bühn with a 2:17.242 min on position eleven.
Free Practice 2
The second free practice was then held on dry track. The timesheet showed a satisfactory picture after the 30-minute session. Reiterberger on pole position (1:53.068 min) and Jan Bühn on P5 (1:54.291 min; +1.223).
Day 2 – Qualifying: Reiterberger beats existing lap record from 2017.
Free Practice 3
Reiterberger again secured the fastest laptime in the last free practice session. With 1:52.203 min he reached his set goal to set a new lap record, and made a gap to his competitors with over half a second distance. For Jan Bühn it was rank twelve with 1: 54.279 min.
Fun Fact – Markus missed the Superbike best laptime of Jonathan Rea in the FP4 only by 1.5 seconds. With his STK lap time from the FP3, the Bavarian Superstock pilot would be on rank 7 of the WorldSBK. As the best BMW in the WorldSBK field.
Markus Reiterberger secures the pole position with a sensational lap time. After his wildcard appearance last year, Reiti starts again from the first starting position. With 1:51.427 min, he rode 0.558 seconds faster than his direct pursuer Tamburini. With this lap time he was even 0.440 sec faster than Loris Baz (Althea BMW) in the Superpole 1 of the Superbike World Championship.
As a reminder – Reiterberger rides a superstock category motorcycle with profiled tires. The WorldSBK bikes may include stronger engines with more detailed electronics, better suspension elements and slick tires.
Jan Bühn placed with a 1:52.853 min on an excellent fifth grid position. The 26-year-old pilot from Kronau/Germany thus confirmed his top 10 ambitions in qualifying.
Day 3 – Race: Reiterberger with slight problems and Bühn with bad luck.
Race STK 1000
The 13-lap STK1000 race took place in dry conditions and 35 ° C track temperature. Warmer than all previous sessions. Reiterberger was able to settle easily with a good start and came without incident into the race. Jan Bühn had to go down to the ground because a competitor touched his front wheel already in the first corner, but was able to resume the race uninjured, but with about 30 seconds behind.
With a time of 1:52.188, Markus Reiterberger set a new lap record for the STK1000 category in his first flying lap, but then struggled with a decreasing grip level, especially on the front wheel. Aprilia works rider Scheib, as well as the two Italians Tamburini (BMW) and Sandi (Ducati) remained close behind him and attacked the alpha Racing Van Zon-BMW pilot. Reiterberger, who had even fallen back to third place in the fourth lap, saved the front tire in the best possible way and focused primarily on the acceleration phases. In the meantime, Jan Bühn worked his way back to the points with stable lap times by six positions.
In the ninth lap Reiterberger again conquered the lead. The 24-year-old Bavarian successfully kept the Chilean Aprilia factory rider Scheib at bay until he lost some positions due to a technical defect in the last lap. Jan Bühn crashed again in his ambitious catch-up and was forced to give up the race. After 13 race laps, Reiterberger crossed the finish line as the winner, with just over two seconds ahead of Tamburini and now leads the championship with 25 points.
„That was a good debut for our entire team. Markus and Jan did a great job on the track. Markus impressed in qualifying with the pole position and a new lap record, but Jan was also very good with P5. We have been able to increase from session to session. In the race Markus had some problems but he solved them very well – another lap record and of course the victory. Jan had a lot of bad luck and unfortunately could not confirm his good performance at the weekend with a good result. But we can all be proud of this season’s start.“
„The weekend was great. We have successfully developed from a very good setup of the test already on Friday. In qualifying, we delivered fast laptimes directly, so we had very little stress. The race was a bit harder than expected because we had a little less grip due to the temperature difference. I slipped a few times over the front wheel and could not break down so hard into the corner. After I changed my riding style, it went better. The team did a great job and handed me with a great bike. With the result, I can sleep peacefully and look forward to Assen.“
„My first race in the Superstock European Championship was different than expected, but that’s the way it is. I can be happy with the race weekend, even though I have to go home with 0 points at the end. We improved steadily and the result in qualifying was perfect. After the early crash in the race I was still able to ride good lap times, which theoretically would have been enough for the Top5. The disappointment is there, but in Assen it starts again in a few days. We should be well prepared as well. To a new one.“