BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Motorland Aragón, Spain, 06/04/2016, FIM Superstock 1000 Cup
Having seen Jordi Torres finish fifth, the Althea BMW Racing Team also had cause to celebrate in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup (STK1000) at MotorLand Aragón. Raffaele De Rosa started the new season, which opened in Alcañiz, with a podium finish.
De Rosa is by no means a new face in the paddock, having raced in the STK1000 with Althea Racing last season. In 2015 he claimed six podiums en route to third place overall in the Riders’ Championship. Before then, he had gained valuable international experience in the 125cc, 250cc, Moto2 and Supersport world championships.
Despite this, Alcañiz still represented a first for the Italian, who turned 29 just a few days ago on 25th March: he was making his race debut on the BMW S 1000 RR – and came home third to earn a place on the podium at the first attempt.
The STK1000 race began in chaotic fashion, but De Rosa kept a cool head. Several riders crashed out in turn one, causing the race to be suspended. The red flags resulted in the race being reduced to eight laps – a true sprint, in which De Rosa had to fight his way through the field from sixth place.
By the third lap he had climbed into fourth place on the number 35 RR, and had his sights set on a podium finish. He attached himself to the rear wheel of third-placed Roberto Tamburini, before passing him with an excellent overtaking manoeuvre on the final lap. Tamburini attempted to fight back, but crashed out. This left the way free for De Rosa to claim a fine third place.
However, this could just be the start of a successful season, as De Rosa is hungry for more. Indeed, the result could have been even better in Alcañiz, had the race been held over the full distance: “The key to success was to remain focussed. It is just a shame that the shorter race meant I was unable to close in on the two leaders and put them under pressure. Because of this, I have to be happy with third place – but we will meet again in Assen in two weeks!”
“Third place is fantastic, even though I feel that De Rosa could have achieved an even better result if the race had not been reduced to eight laps. That ruined his strategy. Despite this, third place is a positive result and good for the championship,” said Althea BMW General Manager Genesio Bevilacqua, who could look back on a satisfying weekend after fifth place for Jordi Torres in the WorldSBK and De Rosa’s podium in STK 1000. “I would like to thank the entire team, the engineers from HP Race Support and, above all, Berthold Hauser, who was with us at the weekend.”
As well as De Rosa, another BMW rider also caught the eye: Maximilian Scheib. The BMW Motorrad Motorsport family is already familiar with the young Chilean rider from the FIM CEV Superbike European Championship (CEV), in which he achieved some sensational results as a rookie towards the end of last season. The 20-year-old again competes in the CEV on a BMW S 1000 RR run by the Targobank EasyRace SBK Team this year. He took his place on the FIM STK1000 Cup grid as a wildcard starter in Alcañiz.
Although Scheib has not yet completed any testing this year, and was making his first appearance on Pirelli tyres, he came home ninth at the end of an impressive debut in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup. And that despite being one of the riders who crashed in the very first corner. His team repaired the bike in record time, and Scheib made it back onto the grid just in time for the re-start. “With that in mind, I have rather mixed feelings, as I could actually have done better. However, I would like to thank everyone who supported me. I felt that support from so many people,” he said. This was certainly a result full of promise for the coming CEV Season.
In total, six BMW riders lined up on the grid in Alcañiz for the STK1000 race. Luca Vitali also finished in the points, coming home 11th on the BMW S 1000 RR run by the 2R Racing team. The two riders from the Motos Vionnet team, Eric Vionnet and Thomas Toffel, were 19th and 27th. Federico D’Annunzio (FDA Racing Team) was unfortunate: he was also involved in the crash at the first corner, and was unable to take his place on the grid for the re-start.