The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola, Italy was the venue for the third Superstock 1000 European Championship race of the season. Markus Reiterberger, who had won the first two races in superior manner, and Jan Bühn expected the full opposition of the Italian competition.
In addition to the strong Italian STK1000 riders, several guest riders from the Italian championship had signed up to break the alpha racing van Zon-BMW rider’s winning streak.
Friday – Free Practice sessions
Markus Reiterberger knows the racetrack in Imola quite well, but Jan Bühn had to familiarize himself with the demanding track. Thus, the first free practice focused on the collection of data. Reiterberger worked himself to the first position with his basic setting and a 1’50.685 min lap. Jan Bühn set his personal best time with 1’53.174 min and joined P12.
In the second free practice session, however, the team around the 24-year-old Reiterberger could not run the test plan as planned. Touching the curb broke the gear lever of the BMW S 1000 RR # 28, which made involuntary pit occupancy necessary. The crew lost an important outing as a result of the repair, but towards the end of the session Markus Reiterberger was ranked third in the timesheet. Jan Bühn finished 16th in the combined free practice.
Combined FP Result
Reiterberger P3 | 1’50.273 (+0,296)
Bühn P16 | 1’52.615 (+2.638)
Saturday – Qualifying
Also in the third free practice the focus was on the durability of the racing tires. With a 1’49.371 min Reiterberger finished first, just ahead of his strong Italian competitor Roberto Tamburini. Also Jan Bühn improved his lap time, placed on P16.
The conditions for the qualifying were anything but steady. A rainstorm turned the tire choice into a poker. Parts of the track were very wet, others almost dry, which made the strategic orientation for the 30-minute session considerably more difficult. The poker for the right setup proved to be not optimal and thus Reiterberger and Bühn fought on the starting positions P9 and P19 respectively. Not a good starting position for the alpha racing van Zon-BMW duo.
Sunday – Raceday
Reiterberger, Bühn and the crew around team boss Werner Daemen had to take a risk on race Sunday to get the motorcycles on podium direction. In the warm-up the last changes have been tested in order to achieve the desired progress for the upcoming 14 laps of the race.
Under dry conditions Markus Reiterberger had to fight from starting position nine through the field. After a good start, he only passed one competitior, but at the end of the first lap Reiti had already worked his way up to position five. Jan Bühn, starting from position 19, came in 20th position from the first lap.
As the race progressed, Reiterberger joined the group riding in front of him, who until then had been fighting closely for the lead. After a mistake by Althea BMW rider Delbianco in the sixth lap, Reiterberger finally managed to effortlessly advance to fourth position. Jan Bühn meanwhile worked his way up to 17th place.
Towards the middle of the race, Reiterberger’s problems with the setting of his S 1000 RR became increasingly troublesome, so that he was unable to catch up with the leading group and fought several times with front wheel slips.
The strategy was now no longer the attack, but only the safe arrival. In lap eleven, he had to let his direct rival Tamburini pass and finally finished the race in fifth place. Under the circumstances a respectable result, because several times the 24-year-old Bavarian escaped a crash. Reiti continues to lead the championship with 61 points, but his lead on Roberto Tamburini has shrunk to just one point.
Jan Bühn crosses the finishing line in Imola in 14th position and still collects two points for the overall standings. The German #45 occupies the 14th place overall in the classification. The victory in Imola goes to the Italian Matteo Ferrari, who had come up with a wildcard.
The alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW team is ranked third in the STK1000 championship team standings with 69 points due to the combined points of Reiterberger and Bühn. The next Superstock 1000 round will take place from 25.-27. May in Donington (UK).
„The track in Imola is very demanding, especially in terms of acceleration and braking. That suits me well, but unfortunately we have not managed to solve our problems in the best possible way. Qualifying was difficult to predict with the increasing rain and we did not choose the best setup under the conditions. I then tried to make the most of the situation, but could not make a good lap. More than P9 was not in it. We might have had to take another setting, but you’re always smarter afterwards. We then did some adjustments for the race, which had a negative impact after a few laps. I had to ride more conservatively and concentrate on braking. At some point I got violent problems with the front and I almost crashed several times. Gravel bed excursion included. Today I had to ride way above my limit to bring P5 home. Fortunately, a wildcard rider won the race and I’m still just overall leader. We have to make sure we get back to our pace for the next race.“
„That was a difficult weekend for me. I was a bit heavy on the track and especially the rain in qualifying did not help us. We needed the session to try something for the race. We were just not in the optimal window with the settings – especially the brake has caused me difficulties. We now have to analyze and check off the weekend – focus is now on the next race in Donington.“
Werner Daemen | Team Principal alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW:
„The weekend started well, but unfortunately we did not improve as planned. In the race, the bike did not fit perfectly, but luckily Markus did not crash and he scored important points for the championship. Jan had to fight the whole weekend, but made the best out of the situation and scored two points. The weekend did not go well and we understand that as a wake-up call for the rest of the season.“