BMW Motorrad Motorsport
Laguna Seca, USA, 13/07/2016, FIM Superbike World Championship
Laguna Seca is one of the most spectacular racetracks in the world, and the Corkscrew turn is famous across the globe. The track in the mountainous hinterland of Monterey in California was the setting for a debut at the weekend: Raffaele De Rosa contested his first race on the Superbike version of the BMW S 1000 RR in the MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship (WorldSBK) there. He usually competes in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup (STK1000) on the RR built according to Superstock regulations.
The Italian was standing in for his Althea BMW Racing team-mate Markus Reiterberger, who fractured two thoracic vertebrae in Misano. De Rosa contested a WorldSBK race four years ago on Phillip Island, but Laguna Seca was a first in two senses. It was not only his first race on the world championship version of the RR, but also his first appearance in Laguna Seca. His only previous experience of the demanding track was from video recordings.
“The races I’ve seen at the track have always stood out and are pretty spectacular,” De Rosa said before he left for California. “It’s a historic track and when you ride tracks like that, like Assen or Mugello for instance, there’s always a magical air to them and I expect there to be a similar feel at Laguna.”
De Rosa got used to the bike and the track little by little at the weekend. He fell in race one on Saturday, but picked up his first five world championship points for finishing 11th in the second race on Sunday.
“I’m pleased because I was able to finish the race and earn some points,” De Rosa summed up. “I was happy with the first part of the race and felt I rode well through the first 12 laps or so. I’m not used to doing so many laps, compared to the Stock races, and so in the later stages I lost some ground to West and Ramos ahead of me, finishing 11th. All in all, I’m satisfied.”
Genesio Bevilacqua, the general manager of the Althea BMW Racing Team was full of praise: “For his first race at such a tough track, he did really well. He needs to gain more experience, but I believe he is a rider with great potential. All in all, the team’s work here has been significant and BMW is giving us the chance to improve from one weekend to the next, so we look to the future with optimism.”
Meanwhile, Markus Reiterberger is working on being back on the saddle of his RR at the next races of the World Superbike Championship; at his home event at the Lausitzring at the end of September. The most recent check-ups have shown that this hope is justified.
“I’m already a lot better. I have a girdle and can do everything. I’m supposed to move a lot, but am not allowed to do any sport yet,” said “Reiti”. And how is he spending his forced break? “I have physio and magnetic field therapy every day, and go for a lot of walks. I also have a lot of visitors, drink coffee with my friends, watch a lot of films and keep up with everything online.”
Missing Laguna Seca was painful for the 22-year-old Bavarian. Not just because he would have loved to ride on this legendary track for the first time himself. But also because the trip to California was meant to be a present for his parents: “They have done so much for me over the years, and invested so much effort and money in my career. I wanted to thank them for that with the California trip. But: All is not lost that is delayed.”
But for now it’s time to return to fitness in the WorldSBK’s upcoming summer break.