Without a break, the alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW Team travelled from the successful season opener in Aragón to the Cathedral of Speed – the legendary TT Circuit in Assen (Netherlands). Another fantastic race weekend for the rookie team in the Superstock 1000 European Championship.
Day 1 – Free Practice
The first free practice started promising for the squad around team principal Werner Daemen. At the first stint, Reiterberger set a lap time of 1: 37.837, at which the pursuers had to grind their teeth. Meanwhile, Jan Bühn surprised with P5 and led the top speed classification with 275.3 km/h. Shortly before the end of the 30-minute session Reiterberger then again undercut his best mark two more times – with 1: 37.326 min he finally marked his fastest lap. Bühn with 1:39.010 in position five.
With the used tires from the first session, Reiterberger and Bühn got into their second free practice session. However, an improvement in the lap time was not expected due to the significantly higher track temperature. Reiterberger led the timesheet consistently and set his best time finally in the last lap – 1:37.502 minutes with heavily used tires. Also Jan Bühn scratched with 1: 39.010 min on a personal best time again, but the lap times from the first free practice reached neither of the two.
As in the first practice, Reiterberger dominated the events and set the best time in all track sectors.
Combined Result Free Practice
P1 Markus Reiterberger | best lap 1:37.326 min
P6 Jan Bühn | best lap 1:39.010 min (+1.684)
Day 2 – Qualifying
The FP3 was also completely dominated by Markus Reiterberger. He improved his personal best three times to finally 1: 36.431 minutes with a lead of 1.682 seconds over second-placed Roberto Tamburini (ITA / BMW). Jan Bühn struggled with a technical problem and could not improve his lap times in this session.
Reiterberger already broke Florian Marino’s qualifying lap record of 1: 36,775 in the third free practice session and also in the qualifying the 24-year-old Bavarian shocked the competition. Already in the first timed lap he put a 1:36.572 min on the result lists – position one of course. However, Reiti was not entirely satisfied with his lap time, as he was hindered by a mistake in the pit exit in the early stages of qualifying by competitors. With a new pair of tires, he improved his lap time again at the end of the session to 1:36.456 min. Pole position! Jan Bühn finished fourth in the middle of qualifying, finishing the session in 1:37.424 on a strong fifth place. Reiterberger and Bühn therefore entered the race from the first and second row respectively.
Day 3 – Race
Though Reiterberger had to deal with a tire issue during his warmup session, everything seemed to be in perfect order for the race. The expected rain shower fortunately was delayed and the 14-lap STK1000 race took place at Assen in untypically summery conditions.
While Reiterberger turned into the first corner with a nearly perfect start as leader, Jan Bühn lost several places after a bad start and joined P12. Jan could not use his good starting position and had to fight his way forward. Reiterberger set a new lap record already in his second race lap with 1:36.594 min – almost a second faster than the best race lap of Rinaldi from the previous year! Reiterberger extended his lead over Tamburini (ITA / BMW) and Sandi (ITA / Ducati) to more than five seconds and managed the gap up to the finish line. Jan Bühn meanwhile fought intense duels with Althea BMW rider Delbianco (ITA) and Aprilia factory rider Vitali (ITA) for sixth, but had to settle for position ten in the end. A solid Top10 result for the BMW rider from Germany, who had hoped for more due to his promising performances in qualifying.
With the second victory of this season, Markus Reiterberger leads the championship with now 50 points. Jan Bühn collects his first European Championship points and is ranked P13 in the overall standings (6 points).
With the result from Assen, the alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW Team is ranked first place in the team classification.
P1 Markus Reiterberger | new lap record 1:36.594 min (-5.525)
P10 Jan Bühn| best lap 1’38.595 (+26.294)
“The weekend was perfect. We had a good pace from the beginning. In the third free practice we have already beat the lap record from 2017. We definitely did not expect that. Although we were already really fast, my team was able to go one better. Everyone of my crew did a flawless job during the weekend. However, I did a small mistake with my tactics during the qualifying, because at first I stalled the engine in a rush. Some competitors passed me, I got stuck in traffic and was unable to make the most out of the new set of tires. But in the end – Pole Position is Pole Position. During the race I was able to fullfill our tactics and put a gap between Tamburini already in the first lap. I managed to extend the gap even up to five seconds until the end.
25 championship points, the lead in the overall standings, pole position, lap record – what more could you wish for.”
“We were doing good during all training session and I was happy with P5 and only 0.9 seconds behind Reiti. Unfortunately we can not perform the same in the races yet. My start was miserable and destroyed my whole race already in the beginning. I was involved in a lot of fights that costed a lot of effort. I felt faster in the fight with Vitali and Delbianco, but whenever I passed one of them, they pressed again and I had to take a detour. So in the last lap – and then also two other riders slipped through. In the end, unfortunately, it was only 10th position. On the positive side, I got my first European Championship points and now we have to improve our starting procedure for Imola.”
Werner Daemen (team principal alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW)
“After such a race weekend you can only be happy. We were able to confirm our performance from Aragón also here in Assen. The whole team did a great job. Markus has done his job perfectly and also Jan has presented himself strongly over the weekend. Such results are not self-evident with such strong competition, so we need to keep working hard.”