BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Schleiz, Germany, 05/08/2015, Superbike IDM / International German Championship
The sixth race weekend of the SUPERBIKE*IDM / International German Championship (IDM) at Schleizer Dreieck saw Van Zon-Remeha BMW rider Markus Reiterberger continue his winning run. He claimed his ninth win of the season on the BMW S 1000 RR, finishing runner-up in the other race. In doing so, he tightened his grip on the top of the overall standings and now holds a comfortable lead.
Reiterberger has a very special relationship with the Schleizer Dreieck circuit – the undulating track in Thüringen is his favourite circuit of all. “Schleiz has a long tradition, and my sponsor also tasted success here in the past,” said Reiterberger. “The layout is superb. Then there is the atmosphere. You get far more spectators and fans in Schleiz than anywhere else – and that makes it special.” His own Reiterberger fan club travelled to the circuit from his home town of Obing – and the “Reiti” fans were not to be disappointed.
Reiterberger may only recently have returned from the eight-hour race in Suzuka, Japan, but there was little sign of jetlag or fatigue following the gruelling 20-hour journey. He promptly set a new lap record on his #21 BMW S 1000 RR on Friday, before smashing the new best time by more than half a second on Saturday. As such, Reiterberger had little trouble securing pole position.
However, Reiterberger had to “settle” for second place in an eventful opening race, coming home 0.077 seconds behind his rival Xavi Forés. “I very nearly had a highsider on the opening lap. I had the front wheel in front of my face and was almost put down, but just managed to get the bike back,” said Reiterberger. He initially lost ground to Forés as a result, but then launched a successful fightback. Reiterberger set the fastest lap of the race and had closed the gap to Forés by the halfway point. The ensuing battle for the win was not one for anyone with weak nerves. The lead changed hands repeatedly over the course of the final few laps, and the two riders touched on several occasions. The decisive moment came just before the finish. “I led until the final corner, braked as usual and thought that was it – he could not pass me again. But, at the last possible moment, Xavi stuck his bike down the inside with a hari-kari manoeuvre and, fortunately for him, came off better,” said Reiterberger.
However, there was no stopping the Van Zon-Remeha BMW rider in race two. His team had fine-tuned the set-up of the front fork and opted for a different rear tyre. “That made me faster for the entire distance than I was in race one,” he said. “Reiti” took the lead, set the fastest race lap again, pulled clear of the rest of the field and came home more than seven seconds clear of runner-up Forés. Reiterberger was celebrated enthusiastically by his fans on the warm-down lap following his ninth win of the season: “That was crazy. There were so many people. As a rider, you feel completely different to when you are just returning to the pit lane on any old warm-down lap. The weekend was absolutely awesome. I will never forget it. It was wonderful.”
Success in Schleiz saw Reiterberger take a big step towards the title. With four races remaining, he now leads the Superbike class of the IDM (IDM SBK) with 285 points. His lead over second-placed Forés remains 55 points. As a result, Reiterberger could mathematically wrap up the title in the next races this weekend in Assen. However, he is not putting himself under any undue pressure and will just continue to do his best. Reiterberger does not believe the fact that he will have to add another kilogram of success weight to the previous six kilograms in Assen will be a problem: “We were carrying one kilo more than we needed in Schleiz, just for safety – in case we had to do another lap or used more fuel than expected. And: Xavi must also carry four kilograms in Assen. So the difference between the two of us will not be so great.”
For team-mate Bastien Mackels, who had also just returned from Japan, Sunday’s race in Schleiz was over after the warm-up. The Belgian had crashed in Saturday’s Superpole and suffered painful bruising to his hip and ribs, as well as a sprained ankle. Mackels did take to the track for the warm-up on Sunday morning, but the pain was too great and he was unable to start the race.
That made Matěj Smrz the only other RR rider in the Superbike field, alongside Reiterberger. The Czech rider from the Wilbers-BMW-Racing-Team finished fourth and fifth in the Superbike class (sixth place overall in both races).
The most successful BMW privateer in the Superstock class (IDM STK) was Van Zon-Remeha rider Pepijn Bijsterbosch. The Dutchman came home ninth and sixth (15th and 13th overall). Wilbers rider Lucy Glöckner returned to action in Schleiz following an injury-enforced break. She was the best-placed BMW rider in race one, finishing eighth (14th overall). However, she failed to finish race two. Vincent Lonbois from Belgium was tenth and ninth (16th overall in both races) on his RR. Marc Neumann (Neumann Racing Team) finished 13th and 11th. Johannes Hoffmann (Comedy Central Racing Team) finished in the points in both races, courtesy of two 15th places (both 22nd overall). The two BMW Sikora Motorsport riders also picked up points in race two: Michael Filla was 12th (19th overall) and Ireneusz Sikora 13th (20th overall).