BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Lausitzring, Germany, 03/06/2015, Superbike IDM / International German Championship
Van Zon-Remeha-BMW rider Markus Reiterberger claimed his fifth win of the season and a runner-up finish on his BMW S 1000 RR at the Lausitzring. Therefore, he extended his overall lead in the SUPERBIKE*IDM (IDM). Lucy Glöckner also claimed a spot on the podium in the Superstock class (IDM STK) after an impressive display on her Wilbers RR.
As the SUPERBIKE*IDM shared the bill with the DTM touring car series, the schedule was revised at the Lausitzring: the first qualifying session took place on Friday, with race one on Saturday and race two on Sunday.
Having won all four races at the opening two events of the season, Reiterberger had to add an extra four kilograms of ballast in line with the “Balance of Performance” (BoP) rule, which states: after the second event, the results from the first four races are added together and the average score calculated for each rider. If a rider’s average score is 2.0 or under, the first level of the BoP is applied and the rider must add four kilogrammes to his/her bike. This means the bike must weigh at least 172 kilogrammes instead of the previous minimum weight of 168 kilogrammes. This was clearly the case for Reiterberger, whose average score was 1.0. The average value is recalculated after the fourth and sixth event. If necessary, levels two and then three of the BoP – with even more additional weight – are then applied.
“When you are riding you don’t really notice the additional weight so much, but it does have a bit of an effect on the lap times. After all, I have four kilos more than the others when accelerating and braking,” said Reiterberger on Saturday. The extra weight also affects the fine-tuning of the motorcycle. “Despite this, we are still within striking distance,” Reiterberger emphasised. He clocked the fastest time in free practice one and the second qualifying session, and was second fastest in the second free practice and opening qualifying session. His lap times on used tyres also showed he had the necessary race pace.
Reiterberger then pulled a rabbit out of the hat in Saturday morning’s all-important Superpole, securing his first pole position of the season: he clocked the fastest time on his very first flying lap on qualifying tyres – a time that nobody else was able to match for the rest of the session.
He initially dropped back to third place at the start of Saturday’s race. However, he had regained the lead a few corners later. For the first half of the race he was embroiled in an exciting battle with local favourite Max Neukirchner. He held the upper hand until Neukirchner managed to pass Reiterberger’s RR at the start of lap ten. “I was always a bit wide on the way into the corner and then made a slight mistake, which he took full advantage of,” explained Reiterberger. He remained hot on the heels of the man from Saxony at first, but fell away towards the end of the race and ultimately crossed the finish line second behind Neukirchner.
“I am happy with second place. We did our very best today,” said Reiterberger after the race. “The bike was superb, but Max was just a bit quicker than we were. When he pulled past me on lap ten, I actually intended to follow in his slipstream and then overtake him again at the end. I didn’t succeed in doing so, as I had problems with the rear tyre at the end. The rear wheel was spinning when accelerating out of corners. At first I tried to make up what I lost when braking into the corners, but that often put me at risk of crashing and I decided I would rather settle for second place and pick up the 20 points towards the championship.”
Ahead of race two on Sunday, Reiterberger, the Van Zon-Remeha-BMW Team and the BMW Motorrad Motorsport engineers fine-tuned the set-up. The goal was to find a set-up that optimised the RR’s handling going into corners, while at the same time improving the durability of the tyres. And they succeeded: Reiterberger moved to the front of the field right in the beginning and never looked back. Victory marked his fifth win in the sixth race of the season. He extended his lead in the Riders’ Championship in the SUPERBIKE*IDM: Reiterberger now has 145 points to his name and a lead of 44 points.
“This win belongs to the team. The guys did a superb job with the set-up. I actually rode just as I did in race one, but there was less tyre wear and I was able to clock consistently fast lap times. That gained me the all-important tenths of a second,” said Reiterberger. “The surface of this track is really uneven, but we set the chassis up very well for that. I always felt comfortable on the bike, even when I was really pushing it to the limit.”
BMW Motorrad Motorsport Marketing Director Udo Mark was also on-site again at the Lausitzring. The team sent him onto the podium to receive the trophy for the victorious manufacturer following Reiterberger’s triumph. “Markus is just awesome, as a rider and a man,” Mark said about the young BMW Motorrad privateer. “We saw one of his great strengths in race two at the Lausitzring. When the man behind you is constantly closing in, it gradually gets a bit precarious. However, one of Markus’ great strengths is being able to handle this pressure. It is phenomenal how he is able to up his pace by another tenth of a second and squeeze a little more out of the bike in this kind of situation. He is helped by the fact that his team set the bike up exactly as he needs it. It can’t be done any better than that.”
On the Monday after the race weekend, Reiterberger and the Van Zon-Remeha-BMW Team remained at the Lausitzring to complete a day of testing in preparation for their wildcard outing in the World Superbike Championship. Reiterberger took to the track with the World Championship version of the RR, which, among other things, features a different engine and gearbox to the IDM motorcycle.
The second BMW S 1000 RR rider in the Superbike class is Czech Matej Smrz of the Wilbers BMW Racing Team. He finished sixth in both races in the Superbike class (11th overall in race one, seventh overall in race two).
Superstock rider Lucy Glöckner’s big moment came on Sunday: third place in race two saw the 24-year-old from the Wilbers BMW Racing Team, who was in contention for the title right down to the end of last season, claim her first podium finish of the year. The weekend did not initially go to plan for Glöckner. She was not happy with the practice and qualifying sessions and had to settle from 19th place on the seventh row of the grid (tenth in the Superstock class). “I also had a really bad start to the first race and then skidded off the track on lap four,” she said. She eventually crossed the finish line 15th in the Superstock class and 24th overall.
However, all was well again in Glöckner’s world in race two. She produced an impressive fightback to work her way through the field and guide her BMW S 1000 RR to third place and a podium finish (ninth overall). “I am overjoyed and generally satisfied,” said the beaming Wilbers rider. “We found something overnight, which helped me to consistently ride half a second faster. The bike was superb and everything ran smoothly – absolutely perfect!”
Dominik Vincon (BMW Stilgenbauer) was the second-best BMW privateer in the Superstock class. He finished eighth and fourth (16th and tenth overall). Pepjin Bijsterbosch also finished in the top ten of the Superstock class in both races on his Van Zon-Remeha BMW S 1000 RR. The Dutchman was ninth (17th overall) and seventh (14th overall).