Where it all began … In 1988, the first round of the newly founded World Superbike Championship took place at Donington Park in the UK. Last weekend, Markus Reiterberger and Jan Bühn, after an unsatisfying result in Imola, set high expectations for the STK1000 race on the demanding race track in the United Kingdom. High pressure was put on the two riders of the alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW Team. Reiterberger was only one championship point ahead of pursuer Tamburini and Bühn must convert his performances into race results.
Reiterberger and Bühn were welcomed with a cold and wet racetrack during their first session. Typical English weather. In the first session, the two Germans entered the track early to not get into traffic. They finished the 30-minute free practice in fifth and 14th place.
P5 Markus Reiterberger 1´43.371 min (+2.744)
P14 Jan Bühn 1´45.944 min (+5.317)
On a dry track, low temperatures and high humidity, the field regrouped in the second free practice session. Reiterberger set the best time three laps before the end of the session but was pushed off P3 by Scheib (Aprilia) and Tamburini (BMW). Jan Bühn, interim session in eighth place, finished the second practice in tenth place.
Combined FP results
P3 Markus Reiterberger 1´30.742 min (+0.079)
P10 Jan Bühn 1´32.352 min (+1.689)
Reiterberger started into the beginning of the third free practice in the top positions with the opponents Scheib, Tamburini and Delbianco. The 24-year-old Bavarian set his first best time in his fourth lap and was able to beat again twice in the further session. He was the first to break the 1’29 mark and crowned the session in his penultimate lap with a 1’29.507 min as leader. Jan Bühn, meanwhile on P12, managed to advance to seventh place and finally finished the FP3 as a good eighth.
Reiterberger and Bühn started first in qualifying and tried to deliver fast lap times directly on the open track. With 1’30.3 Reiterberger set the first best mark. After Maximilian Scheib took over the lead on his factory Aprilia with a 1’29.8 in the meantime, Reiterberger dropped this lap time twice. With 1.29.089 Reiti set the absolute best time, starting for the third time this season from the pole position and undercut the existing lap record of the STK1000 class from the year 2015. Jan Bühn placed with a 1’30.646 min for the outstanding eighth starting position. Reiterberger’s persistent pursuer in the championship, the Italian Roberto Tamburini (BMW), qualified directly behind Reiterberger for the second starting position.
The warmup on Sunday morning confirmed the good performances of both alpha Racing Van Zon riders – the fastest lap went to Reiterberger and the seventh fastest time was achieved by Jan Bühn. The basis for the two Germans for the upcoming race in the afternoon was more than satisfactory.
15 laps over 60.345 kilometers were on the plan. Reiterberger made a good start from pole position and held on to the lead. The Chilean Maximilian Scheib on Aprilia was half a second behind but in the slipstream. Jan Bühn came in eighth position from the first race lap. A duel with Alex Schacht on Ducati had cost him some time, so he did not come within striking distance of Russo in front of him. Reiterberger could meanwhile constantly detach from Scheib and Tamburini. From the eighth lap, the pursuers couldn’t keep up the speed and so Reiti rode just half a second per lap faster than the direct competition in the title fight. In the last four laps of the race, the Bavarian took some of the pace and safely managed his third race win of the season across the finish line. Nevertheless, he rode out a remarkable 4.166 seconds advantage to his direct pursuer in the title fight, Roberto Tamburini. Jan Bühn was also able to break away from his pursuers and brought the eighth place safely home.
Also on this race weekend it is worth an objective comparison of the respective fastest lap times in the direction of World Superbike. Reiterberger loses with his more standard motorcycle – equipped with profiled tires – only 0.085 seconds on the BMW in Superbike field during its second SBK run.
4 races – 3 pole positions – 36 laps as leader – 3 new lap records – 3 race wins. An impressive half-time record for Markus Reiterberger on his BMW S 1000 RR. With 86 points, the 24-year-old leads the Superstock 1000 European Championship and 10 points ahead of Roberto Tamburini (BMW). Jan Bühn climbs to eleventh place in the overall classification with his eighth place from Donington and now 16 Championship points. The alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW Team is in second place in the STK1000 team classification.
„The track in Donington is brutally exhausting – especially for the forearms. We worked hard as a team to make the bike easy and consistent. That was the key to success. The first few laps of the race were difficult, as Max Scheib was stubbornly close to me, but we were able to keep the pace, not the competition. In the end, I even managed to get some speed out and win the race safely. The team has been working in the right direction all weekend and we can all be really proud with the result. Everyone has done a perfect job. I’m now championship leader again with 10 points lead – a kind of half time champion. That was an important step after the Italian round in Imola. This is also my first victory in Donington – dedicated to Waldi († Ralf Waldmann). He made an impressive victory here in 2000 and I know how much this meant to him. I think he is also happy for us, wherever he is right now.“
„The weekend in Donington was quite good, for that I have never ridden here. We got the best result of the season. It is a pity that a free training was messed up on Friday by the rain – so we missed a session for our dry setting. Eighth place is a good result, but I still want to go further. For the next race in Brno I feel well prepared after my private test.“
Werner Daemen | Team principal alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW
„That was a good presentation of Markus and Jan. Both needed a good result after the weekend in Imola. Markus has again set a perfect weekend with pole position, track record and the race win. I am happy for Jan as he was was finally rewarded for his performance. Donington is a special race track and the weather can be a big challenge. We’ve seen how competitive the championship is and that you can not afford to make a mistake. We are halfway through the season and in a good position for the coming races. But we can not sit back. The team did a good job and we take the additional motivation to Brno.“
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