BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Alcañiz, Spain, 06/04/2016, FIM Superbike World Championship
Althea BMW Racing Team rider Jordi Torres went into last weekend determined to put on a good show. No wonder – the third round of the MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship (WorldSBK) was his home event at MotorLand Aragón. Torres comes from near Barcelona, and the modern racetrack in Alcañiz is located just 250 kilometres away in the northeast of Spain.
Many of his fans had travelled to MotorLand Aragón, and there was great media interest in the local Spaniard. Even before the weekend, Torres had expressed just how much he was looking forward to the event: “I cannot wait for my home race. Riding at home always gives me an extra boost of motivation. I think we are well equipped to mix it with the guys at the front of the field – that is our goal.”
No sooner said than done: Torres led the BMW contingent in Alcañiz. Fifth place in Sunday’s race was his best result of the season so far on the BMW S 1000 RR. The conditions at MotorLand Aragón were far from easy: the set-up and tyre selection had to be adapted to the ever-changing temperatures. Although the mornings were still bitterly cold, summery temperatures prevailed from about midday onwards.
Torres had to progress through Superpole 1 in qualifying, but he did so with flying colours, finishing with the fastest time. He then qualified eighth on the grid in the all-important Superpole 2. He could have gone even faster, were it not for a small mistake shortly before the finish line on his flying lap on the qualifying tyres.
Torres was the best-placed BMW rider in race one on Saturday, when he finished seventh. He then went even better in Sunday’s second race. “I noticed as early as the sighting lap that I had a lot more confidence in the front than yesterday. That allowed me to put my foot down more from the start,” he reported.
He was running sixth after eight laps. On lap 13, Torres launched an overtaking manoeuvre that had the fans in the grandstands, and watching at home on TV, out of their seats. Torres called on all the mighty power of his RR to close in on Michael van der Mark on the straight, before passing the Dutch works rider with a brilliant braking manoeuvre to move into fifth place.
He held on to fifth place, triggering great celebrations among the Althea BMW Racing team in the pit lane as he crossed the finish line on his RR. The Spaniard himself marched through Parc Fermé and back to his garage with a broad grin on his face, and waved happily to the cameras. “The race went well. I am happy – not least because we have gained more valuable data, and I believe we are gradually closing the gap to the leaders.”
The second best BMW rider at MotorLand Aragón was Joshua Brookes. The priority for the Australian and the Milwaukee BMW team, for whom the season represents two debuts – with the BMW S 1000 RR and in the WorldSBK – remains to find their feet in the series and to learn more about the bike. Furthermore, the track was also new to Brookes. All the other BMW riders were already familiar with the Spanish circuit: Torres as a local boy, Markus Reiterberger from his time in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, and Karel Abraham from MotoGP.
Brookes came home 13th in both races. His Milwaukee BMW team-mate Abraham – a WorldSBK rookie, despite his vast wealth of racing experience – also picked up points in both races, finishing 15th and 14th.
After strong outings in Australia and Thailand, the weekend did not pan out as hoped for Torres’ team-mate at Althea BMW Racing, Markus Reiterberger. His rear wheel degraded dramatically in the closing stages of both races, leaving him fighting a losing battle. The young Bavarian was also unhappy with his lap times. Fourteenth and 15th was not what he had expected from the weekend in Alcañiz.
However, “Reiti” is already looking ahead: “It was a tough weekend. Unfortunately we were unable to improve in race two. However, we will now analyse the data and see how we can make progress next time out. We can do better than this!”
The BMW family in the WorldSBK welcomed a new member in Alcañiz: The winner of the 2015 BMW Motorrad Race Trophy, Matthieu Lussiana, made his debut in the world championship on his Superstock version of the RR. The Frenchman ended his wildcard entry in 17th and 18th places. The RR was run by Team ASPI.
“It is just great to be here among the top riders in the world,” beamed Lussiana. “We can be very satisfied with the results. I would like to thank everyone who supports me.”
The WorldSBK now moves on to the Netherlands: the legendary “TT Circuit” in Assen hosts the fourth race weekend of the season from 15th to 17th April.