For the second round of the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldBSK), the Althea BMW Racing Team and the BMW Motorrad Motorsport specialists headed to Thailand. The race weekend at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram ended with a top 5 finish for Jordi Torres (ESP): he was fifth on his BMW S 1000 RR in Sunday’s race, after crossing the line seventh on Saturday. His team-mate Markus Reiterberger (GER) also claimed a top 10 result with tenth place on Sunday. On Saturday, Reiterberger was 14th. The results delivered more points towards the 2017 BMW Motorrad Race Trophy.
It was very hot weekend, with air temperatures rising to 36 degrees Celsius. Both Althea BMW Racing Team riders had strong practice sessions on Friday and proceeded directly to the deciding Superpole 2. Torres and Reiterberger qualified tenth and 12th respectively on the grid for Saturday’s race.
When the lights turned off, Torres began his catch-up and after 20 laps, he brought his RR home in seventh position. The result meant fourth place on the reversed grid for Sunday’s race. Torres improved to fifth position, but the race had to be redflagged on lap five after a competitor crashed due to a technical failure leaving oil on the track. When the race was re-started for 16 laps, Torres was seventh on the grid. He moved up to fifth place again and defended his position to the finish line in a strong battle against Welsh rider Chaz Davies.
“We did a great job this weekend,” reported Torres. “We tried to get some grip at maximum angles to take the turns perfectly. The results of both races here in Thailand confirm our good work. Currently, the gap to the guys in front is still a bit too big, but we know very well which direction to take and what to change to further improve.”
His German team-mate Reiterberger also showed a strong race pace but struggled in the opening laps of both races. On both occasions, he dropped several positions before he could start to work his way forward. On Saturday, he was 14th and on Sunday, he secured his first top 10 finish of the season, crossing the line in tenth.
“Overall, we could say that the weekend was okay,” Reiterberger summed up. “We started with last year’s settings on Friday and that went very well. Unfortunately the changes we made for the next sessions did not entirely pay off and we did not manage to improve. In both races, I had bad luck in the opening laps, as I ran pretty wide in the first corners and lost positions. In addition I missed my braking point twice which was my mistake. But apart from this, the race went pretty well and I got faster and faster towards the end. I just lost the chance for better results in the early stages. We now need to analyse why I have these issues on the opening laps and work on this for the next races.”
WorldSBK will now return to Europe with the third round of the 2017 season being held a Spanish MotorLand Aragón from 31st March to 2nd April.