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Magny-Cours, France, 07/10/2015, BMW Motorrad Race Trophy

Eventful World Championship races in France

Magny-Cours hosts the Superbike World Championship

The 2015 FIM Superbike World Championship (WSBK) held its final races in Europe last weekend. Magny-Cours, in the heart of France, was the venue for the penultimate event of this season’s World Championship. The two BMW riders Ayrton Badovini and Markus Reiterberger can look back on a positive weekend, even though rain did make conditions extremely difficult.

Magny-Cours hosted the final round of the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup (STK1000), with Roberto Tamburini scything through the field to produce a stunning fightback on his BMW S 1000 RR. He ended the season in second place overall.

Badovini back on song

BMW Motorrad Italia SBK Team rider Ayrton Badovini was again one of the best riders for a privateer team in Magny-Cours. After he and the team had found a good set-up for the BMW S 1000 RR in the first free practice, he was consistently placed in the top ten in the remaining sessions. As such, he qualified automatically for Saturday’s crucial Superpole 2, in which the positions on the front rows of the grid are determined. The rain – which is particularly feared in Magny-Cours – arrived just as Superpole was about to start. The surface of the French circuit is renowned for being like an ice rink in wet conditions. This was confirmed by a remarkable 47 crashes on Saturday alone.

Badovini found a good compromise between aggression and caution in these perilous conditions. He qualified eighth, putting him on the third row of the grid. It did stop raining on Sunday morning, but the track was still wet for the opening race. Badovini came home 14th. “We didn’t find the right set-up for the wet conditions in race 1, meaning that I chose to finish without taking risks,” the Italian explained.

The majority of the track had dried out by race two. Badovini was running eighth when his race came to a premature end on lap 11. When braking into the Adelaide hairpin, he came into contact with the cement that had been applied to cover a large patch of oil in the preceding Supersport race. Badovini skidded off the track. “It was a pity because I think I could have scored a good result in the dry,” he said. Despite this, he left Magny-Cours in a positive frame of mind: “The important thing is that we’ve found our rhythm again after the disappointing results in Jerez.”

Impressive wildcard appearance from Reiterberger

SUPERBIKE*IDM champion Markus Reiterberger made his second guest appearance of the season in the World Championship in Magny-Cours. The main aim of the weekend for him and the Van Zon-Remeha-BMW team was to gain more World Championship experience. “Reiti” consistently improved his lap times during the free practice sessions. He was tenth in the combined result from the first three sessions, earning him a place in Superpole 2. He went on to qualify in tenth place. “I don’t think that is bad at all for a wildcard team,” he said, happily. This was also the first time he had ridden his World Championship bike in the rain.

Reiterberger had to start race one from the very back of the grid. The reason: “I had an oil leak in warm-up on Sunday morning. However, I did not notice that I was losing oil, and simply rode back to the garage. It was then that I discovered that I had been relegated to the last place on the grid and got four penalty points. Apparently the stewards had shown me the black flag, but I didn’t see any. The penalty was a bit harsh, but it didn’t matter that much for race one in the rain,” said Reiterberger. He and the team used the opening races as a learning process. In his first wet race in the World Championship, he had problems with his bike. These did not improve when he switched from wet tyres to intermediates. As such, he eventually came home 21st.

“Reiti” rediscovered his speed in race two, finishing 13th to score more World Championship points. With a little more luck, the result could have been even better. “It could have been tenth or 11th,” Reiterberger explained. “However, I lost a lot of time in the pack at the start of the race. I had to go to the outside twice, as bikes had made contact ahead of me. I then had a few battles with Leon Camier and David Slalom, which also cost me time. I then had to take the emergency escape road, as Alex Lowes forced me out under braking. I think I lost between five and ten seconds there. Generally speaking, a top-ten result should be possible for us at the moment.”

Reiterberger was positive in summing up the weekend: “I am definitely happy. We reduced our deficit to world champion Jonathon Rea from 1.6 seconds to one second – even less at times. When you consider that we have less experience with our bike than anyone else in the World Championship, this is very good. We will now try to cut that gap even further next year.”

Gábor Rizmayer of BMW Team Tóth ended the two races in Magny-Cours in 17th and 20th. His team-mate Imre Tóth finished 20th and 21st.

Courageous fightback from Tamburini

BMW rider Roberto Tamburini produced a sensational fightback in the final race of this season’s FIM Superstock 1000 Cup. His Motoxracing Team had found an outstanding dry set-up for Tamburini’s BMW S 1000 RR. However, it then rained in qualifying and the Italian had to settle for 17th on the grid.

With dry conditions for the race, Tamburini set about scything through the field. He pushed his bike to the limit, overtaking rider after rider to climb no fewer than 12 positions. At the end of the 15-lap race, he came home fifth. The Italian ended the season in second place overall. In eight races, Tamburini won three times and claimed a further three podium finishes. Only on two occasions did he not make it onto the podium: in Assen, where he crashed through no fault of his own, and now in Magny-Cours.

Federico D’Annunzio (FDA Racing Team) came home tenth on his RR in Magny-Cours, while Eric Vionnet (Motos Vionnet) also finished in the points in 15th place.

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