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RennMotorrad is the blog to keep up to date with news and commentary about BMW's racing efforts in World Superbike and MotoAmerica, as well as following events in MotoGP. Local racers running BMWs will also get some love - let us know who you are! Opinions stated in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect policies, positions or practices of BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, BMW Motorrad, BMW NA, BMW AG, or any other organization or corporation.


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WSBK Round 3: Two fantastic races - plus FIRE!! FIRE!!

Posted By Wes Fleming, Monday, April 3, 2017

WSBK Round 3: Aragón, Spain

Jonathan Rea extended his early-season domination to a fifth straight win, but Chaz Davies finally broke through to end the streak by winning the second WSBK race in Aragón, Spain, on 2 April 2017. Rea leads the championship standings with 145 points; Davies is in second by a wide margin with 90.

The first two rounds in Australia and Thailand were brutally hot on the track, with temperatures high enough to tax both riders and machines. Aragón gave the riders a respite from that trend, with temps on the track under 80 degrees Fahrenheit on both Saturday and Sunday.

Everybody expected to see a battle royale on the track between Rea (Kawasaki) and Davies (Ducati), but nobody could have predicted the dramatic finale of Race 1.

Davies secured the pole position for the Race 1 grid, and clocked the fastest lap time from all the practice and superpole sessions with an impressive 1:49.319 trip around the 17-turn, 3.1-mile track at MotorLand. The grid shaped up much like previous Race 1s - Davies, Rea and Sykes in Row 1 and Melandri, Forés and BMW rider Jordi Torres in Row 2. The race commentators made much of the native Spaniards Forés and Torres gridding next to each other, and indeed they spent a good portion of each race trying to get round each other as well.

The Race 1 participation of Torres' Althea BMW teammate, Markus Reiterberger, was suspect right until the lights went out. He crashed during Superpole 1, slightly damaging his S 1000 RR, and after the sighting lap for Race 1, his crew wheeled his bike off the track. Fortunately they were able to solve whatever technical glitch was present, and Reiterberger made it to the grid in time to start the race from the back row of the grid.

Most racers went with the conservative choice for rear tires, given the "low" track temperatures. Torres bucked the trend by going with the softest tire he could for Race 1, with most other riders using medium or medium-hard rear tires.

Lorenzo Savadori sat out the round at Aragón, still sore from a neck injury suffered during a spectacular high side crash in Thailand a couple of weeks ago.

Davies took the hole shot through Turn 1, hounded immediately by Rea and Marco Melandri. Reiterberger moved from 20th to 15th in the first three turns, but Torres had a rough start, dropping from 6th at the start to 11th through Lap 3, when he finally was able to start picking up positions. Badovini dropped out early in Lap 1 with a technical problem.

Markus Reiterberger (GER), #21

Rea and Davies traded the lead a few times in the early laps, but Davies took advantage of slightly wide lines through the turns to keep Rea behind him - as close as 0.6 second for much of the race. Meanwhile, Torres overtook Nicky Hayden to climb to 10th place in Lap 7, about the same time as Rea took the lead position from Davies. Davies retook the lead in the next lap, with Melandri in 3rd and Sykes hot behind in 4th.

Xavi Forés took a spill in Lap 5, but was able to get his bike back up and running. He languished in last place for a few laps, then started clawing his way through the pack until forced to retire in Lap 16 when his motorcycle CAUGHT ON FIRE. He rode it out, perhaps hoping the fire would put itself out, but he finally had to jump off before he suffered significant injury.

While the race leaders were putting down lap times of 1:50, Torres continued climbing through the pack, reaching 8th in Lap 12. Reiterberger made some progress as well, rising to 13th in the pack. Late in Lap 12, Torres was able to close what was previously a gap of a full second and overtake Mercado to secure 7th position.

Up front, Rea denied Davies any opportunity to relax, staying on the leader's tail and taking every opportunity to show him the front wheel. Davies maintained his tenuous lead by braking late in nearly every turn and taking lines that successfully boxed Rea out. Rea gained the lead in Lap 15, but Davies took it right back, heightening the tension as the race approached its 18-lap limit.

Jordi Torres (ESP), #81

The pressure Rea kept on Davies paid off late in Lap 17, when Davies' front tire slipped out from underneath him. The bike flipped, trapping Davies' left leg underneath as they both slid through the gravel. After obsessively watching the replay, it looks like Davies is simply running too hot in the turn and the front tire loses its grip for a split second - which at those speeds and turn angles is enough to dump anybody on the ground.

With Davies out, Rea was able to take first place easily, followed by Melandri, Sykes, Lowes, van der Mark and Torres in 6th. Reiterberger finished Race 1 in 12th place - disappointing to be sure, but still in the points, which is a good race for a rookie.

Torres said about the weekend's racing, "We finish this weekend with a good feeling because this is a very difficult track. For me it was a special weekend as we returned to Europe and it was my home round. We all gave our best and also the support of the BMW Motorrad Motorsport engineers was very helpful. Unfortunately the start in both races was not the best and we were not too competitive in the first laps. But lap by lap we found our rhythm and I was able to overtake a lot of riders and to catch up again. That was good and important. The whole team worked very well and we did not have any problems with our BMW S 1000 RR, so it was good."

Sunday's weather for Race 2 was much like Saturday's for Race 1. A 20-kph wind blew across the track, but the temperatures were bearable for all. Due to the new gridding rules that put the 4th place finisher from Race 1 in the pole position, the Race 2 grid had Lowes, van der Mark and Torres in Row 1, backed up by Mercado, Laverty and Bradl. Race 1's podium finishers (Sykes, Melandri and Rea) gridded in Row 3, with Davies, Forés and Hayden behind them. Reiterberger again gridded 13th.

Sykes took the hole shot with Laverty tight on his tail. Torres had an even more disappointing start than Race 1, dropping back to 13th place in the first half of Lap 1, with Reiterberger falling to 15th.

Rea rose to 2nd position just before entering the downhill Turn 8-9 corkscrew on Lap 2, and by Lap 3, Melandri was behind him, while Davies struggled a bit to stay in the front group. At one point early in the race, with just under two seconds separating Rea in first position and Mercado in seventh. Melandri took 3rd position in dramatic fashion, forcing van der Mark wide in Turn 16 on Lap 3.

Melandri kept the pressure on race leader Rea while his teammate Davies forced his way forward into 4th, then 3rd place. Meanwhile, Torres battled Hayden for 10th place and Reiterberger had difficulty climbing out of 15th at the back of the pack. Hayden seemed to suffer some problem, as he soon dropped back to 18th position and later dropped out of the race completely.

Torres got past Ramos to reach 9th position in Lap 7, and not long after, Davies passed Lowes and gained 3rd position in Lap 8. Davies saw his fastest lap time of the day - which he would later top with a 1:50.976 time - in Lap 8. Torres continued gaining positions, passing Laverty with a dramatic inside move to take the lead slot in the second group.

Forés pressured Torres for position, but Torres instead put slight distance between them as he focused on catching Mercado. Though Lowes ran off the track in Turn 13 on Lap 10, he was able to get right back into the race in 13th position, enabling Torres to advance to 7th. Reiterberger was still in 15th position.

Melandri continued running hard, but his teammate Davies passed him, at which point Melandri's focus shifted from catching Rea and winning the race himself to providing support for his fellow Ducati rider. Davies advanced mercilessly on Rea and Melandri rode gallantly, holding off van der Mark's attempts to get into 3rd position and put pressure on Davies.

Both Melandri and Davies had softer tires on their Ducatis, and the acceleration of their bikes proved to be an advantage Rea had trouble dealing with, especially in the kilometer-long back straightaway that leads into the final two turns (16 and 17) of the track. Melandri runs with a slightly shorter swing arm than Davies does, and watching the slow-motion replays allows the viewer to see some slight differences in performance and handling between the two motorcycles.

Davies used his Ducati's advantages to overtake Rea in Lap 12; he quickly built a 0.4-second gap ahead of Rea, who now had to deal with Melandri nipping at his heels. Melandri made a big move in Turn 17, reaching a stunning speed of 202 mph to take 2nd position - briefly - from Rea. Rea took back 2nd, closing Davies' lead to just 0.439 second as they approached the final turns of Lap 15.

The two race leaders slowly built a one-second gap over Melandri in 3rd position over the next two laps. It looked every bit the repeat of the end of Race 1, with Rea pushing hard to swallow Davies. Even though Rea was able to continue closing the gap, he was unable to exert the same pressure he had shown Davies in Race 1, rarely coming alongside to force Davies to brake ever-more-deeply into the turns.

With the gap between Davies in 1st and Rea in 2nd closed to just a quarter of a second, Davies turned in a Lap 17 time of 1:50.954. Despite a quick wobble of the Ducati's rear and a fast move by Rea, Davies barely held on to his lead. Rea briefly passed him coming out of the chicane at Turn 15, but Davies got the lead position back and held onto it into Turn 16, winning Race 2 in dramatic fashion.

Rea found himself relegated to 2nd place for the first time this season, followed by Melandri, Sykes, van der Mark, Forés and Torres in 7th. Reiterberger finished Race 2 in 16th place.

This was Davies' 21st World Superbike win. Rea still leads the standings with 145 points; Davies trails by 50 points. Torres has 48 points and Reiterberger is in 13 place in the overall standings.

Reiterberger said, "“The weekend was a bit difficult for me. We started pretty well on Friday, were competitive and made good steps in the right direction. Especially on Saturday morning, my BMW S 1000 RR felt good. In Superpole 1, I was lying in third for most of the time and went out for another fast lap to further improve my time. In any case I would have had the pace for Superpole 2 but unfortunately I fell - probably because of a cold front tire. During the outlap, several riders had tried to stay at my rear wheel in order to achieve a decent lap time. I had to get rid of them all and also to wait for a clear track. The other riders who also waited crashed in the same corner as well. It was a pity that this prevented me from qualifying for Superpole 2 as I am convinced that a position in the top 10 on the grid would have been possible. Starting from the very back, I still managed to improve to 12th in Saturday’s race, which was okay. Sunday’s race was a bit more difficult. The wind was much stronger and we opted for a different rear tire. That turned out to be the better choice for the opening laps but as the race went on, I started to struggle a bit, could not turn the bike properly and develop a feeling for the bike. Now we will do some testing and I hope that we will find the way into the right direction."

Torres takes a moment to celebrate his race performance with fans.

Althea BMW followed up the round at Aragón with a full day of testing in which they worked on different improvements. Torres worked on tire durability and grip, issues he cited during the weekend's races. Reiterberger worked on getting more in tune with his S 1000 RR after what is clearly a disappointing start to the 2017 season. Both riders tested new components - including different swing arms - that may be incorporated full time onto the bikes in the future.

The next round of WSBK is at Assen in the Netherlands, starting on 28 April.

Tags:  Althea  Reiterberger  S1000RR  Torres  WSBK 

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WSBK Round 2: Race 1 is "meh" but Race 2 is "OMG!"

Posted By Wes Fleming, Saturday, March 18, 2017
After Jonathan Rea's commanding performance in the opening round in Australia, it came as no surprise that Rea again took first place in both races in Round 2 of World Superbike action, this time at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand. In fact, even though I have to apologize for being a week delayed in watching this race due to work travel and a brutal schedule the other days of the week, I have to say I was disappointed in how ... well, I don't want to say boring Race 1 was, but it was probably one of the least exciting motorcycle races I've seen in a long time.

Rea (UK, Kawasaki Racing Team), Tom Sykes (UK, Kawasaki Racing Team) and Marco Melandri (ITA, Racing) gridded 1-2-3 for Race 1, with Althea BMW Racing Team's riders Jordi Torres (ESP) and Markus Reiterberger (GER) gridded 10th and 12th, respectively.

Markus Reiterberger works to keep his position.

Rea took the hole shot into the 90-degree right-hand Turn 1 and led the entire race, building the gap over the second-place rider to 6.2 seconds in his third straight WSBK win. He not only set a new track lap record of 1.33.436 seconds, but the majority of his laps were faster than the OLD track record of 1.33.8! Chaz Davies (UK, Racing), Melandri and Sykes rounded out the front running pack for the whole race, with the most excitement coming in the last turn of the last lap, when Sykes made his move on Melandri and nudged the Italian off the podium in an ending that visibly agitated the Ducati rider.

Torres spent most of Race 1 behind Eugene Laverty (IRL, Milwaukee Aprilia) and in front of Nicky Hayden (USA, Red Bull Honda), ranging from 10th to 8th place. He finished the race in 7th place (26 seconds behind Rea) after Laverty exited with a technical problem forcing him - upright - to the gravel run-off in Turn 5 on the last lap. Reiterberger was boxed out going into Turn 1 on the first lap, then relegated to the back quarter of the pack. Unfortunately he wasn't able to capitalize on anything, using his skills to rise to 14th place by the end of the race, 40.1 seconds off the lead bike.

There was a small measure of excitement when Ayrton Badovini (ITA, Grillini Racing Team) crashed in Turn 5 on Lap 7, but other than that, the only edge-of-the-seat moments of the race came from the last seconds of the last lap as Sykes got around Melandri to rob him of a podium finish.


Jordi Torres, #81
Markus Reiterberger, #21


Race 2, however, was a completely different story, with excitement from the first lap to the last.

Because of the new Race 2 gridding rules, the fourth through ninth place finishers from Race 1 grid in positions one through six, with the Race 1 winners gridding behind them. This put Melandri, Michael van der Mark (NEL, Pata Yamaha) and Alex Lowes (UK, Pata Yamaha) on Row 1, with Torres, Leon Camier (UK, MV Augusta Reparto Corse) and Hayden behind them. Reiterberger gridded 13th for Race 2.

Track conditions for both races were hot, but track temperatures in Race 2 started at 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). Every rider had a handy supply of wet (and I assume cool) towels and water bottles available before the sighting lap. There was a solid amount of discussion going between the race announcers on over the choice between using the Pirelli Diablo SC1 (softest) or the SC2 (slightly less soft) for the 20-lap, 90-kilometer (56-mile) races. Most riders chose the SC1 front.

Technicians fuss over Reiterberger's BMW S 1000 RR race bike.

Melandri nailed the hole shot as Race 2 kicked off, with Rea stuck in the rear of the front group. Torres was in 8th and Reiterberger in 13th as the first lap rounded into the second. Rea got around Davies in Lap 2 to get into second place, and he stayed in Melandri's draft, waiting patiently to attack for the lead position.

Davies low-sided in the middle of Turn 3 in Lap 2, but got his bike back up and back on the track, languishing in catch-up mode in 20th place. Torres took advantage of the timely crash to rise to 7th. At that point, Rea was just 0.719 of a second behind Melandri, but Davies was a full 30 seconds behind the race leader. Rea made his move going into Turn 12, forcing Melandri to the outside of the track in a classic passing maneuver, then used the flat-out power of his ZX-10 to create a tiny gap down the Start/Finish straightaway. Right behind Melandri were Lowes and Sykes, when...

Photo of Savadori's crash in Race 2, Round 2. From

MASSIVE CRASH GOING INTO TURN 12! Lorenzo Savadori (ITA, Milwaukee Aprilia) had smoke coming from his RSV4. It looked like his rear wheel locked up briefly, and suddenly the bike high-sided and Savadori was flipped off the bike. He landed on his head/neck/upper back, slid into the gravel and popped right up on his feet, uninjured. Torres avoided the crash, rising to 5th place, but the race was red-flagged. Track workers used cement dust, brooms and paper towels to clean up whatever fluids Savadori's Aprilia left on the track and the race restarted with the Lap 4 positions - Torres in 7th.

The restart greatly benefitted Davies, who suddenly no longer had to make up the huge gap between where he was in 19th place and the front of the pack. Davies rose to 10th place in Turn 1 off the restart, while Rea and Melandri retained their 1-2 positions.

Stefan Bradl (GER, Red Bull Honda) low-sided and slid off the track in Turn 12 with 11 laps left to go in the race, while Torres rose to 6th and Reiterberger to 13th place. Torres was constantly hounded by Davies and rode hard in his effort to catch and pass Laverty. While Rea expanded his lead to 1.3 seconds over Melandri, Laverty crashed in Turn 5, giving Torres the slot.

Torres, with Camier, Davies and Hayden trailing.

Not long after Torres started closing the gap on Camier, the Brit's MV Agusta 1000 F4 started giving off smoke. The smoke was intermittent at first, but it was clear that Camier's bike was losing power. More smoke and Camier found himself under the dreaded black flag - ordered into the pits! Reiterberger found himself in 11th place, and Laverty's seemed intent on earning at least one point, keeping his crippled bike on the track in last place.

Torres desperately held off Davies during the last three laps, and was finally able to expand a small gap ahead of the Ducati rider by holding tighter lines through the turns. His gap of just a quarter of a second was enough to keep Davies behind him, and Torres finished the race in 5th place, 14.7 seconds off the winning time turned in by Rea (who won his fourth straight WSBK race).

Torres celebrates his 5th place finish in Race 2 in Thailand.

Beyond the crashes, red flag, restart and black flag of Race 2, Turn 12 in the last lap again provided the emotional climax, as for the second time in two races, Sykes out-braked Melandri going into the last turn and used his bike's power to steal a position from the now-even-grumpier Italian rider. At least in Race 2 Melandri finished on the podium. Even though Davies never managed to get around Torres, he went from 19th at the restart to 6th at the finish, a monster comeback on any track, let alone one as fast as Chang. It was truly World Superbike racing at its finest.

Rea now leads the series with 100 points, with Davies (70), Sykes (62), Lowes (49) and Melandri (45) rounding out the top five. Torres is in 7th place with 29 points, and Reiterberger is tied with Laverty in 11th place with 15 points - had Laverty not stubbornly stayed in Race 2 after his crash, he wouldn't have finished in 15th place and earned one point, which would have given Reiterberger that 11th-place spot all to himself.

Kawasaki Racing Team leads the team standings with 162 points, followed by Racing with 115, Pata Yamaha with 76 and Althea BMW with 44. Kawasaki leads the manufacturer standings with 100 points, followed by Ducati (76), Yamaha (50), BMW (32), MV Agusta (27), Honda (22) and Aprilia (19).

The next round of World Superbike racing takes place at MotorLand Arágon in Spain from 31 March through 2 April.

Jordi Torres (ESP, Althea BMW Racing) is in 7th place in the WSBK standings after two rounds with 29 points, trailing series leader Jonathan Rea (UK, Kawasaki Racing Team) by 71 points.

Tags:  S1000RR  WSBK 

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WSBK season opens at Phillips Island

Posted By Wes Fleming, Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship – commonly known as World Superbike, or WSBK – had its season opener at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Australia on 25-26 February, 2017.

Both races were nail-bitingly exciting, with #1 plate holder Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) trading the lead with Chaz Davies ( Racing/Ducati), Marco Melandri (, Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) and even rookie Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) but ultimately winning both races. Rea leads the championship after its inaugural event with 50 points, but Davies isn’t far behind with 40 points earned from his dual second-place finishes.

The Althea BMW Racing Team had a respectable, but ultimately disappointing outing. Spaniard Jordi Torres (#81) finished Race 1 in 7th place, 8.7 seconds behind Rea. Torres fell back quickly from his starting position in Row 3, but fought ahead to within striking distance of the lead pack and benefitted from Lorenzo Savadori and Marco Melandri crashing out of Race 1.

He managed to stay well ahead of Irishman Eugene Laverty in the last laps of the race, but couldn’t quite catch fellow Spaniard Xavi Forés, who brought up the rear of the lead pack. Torres had the fastest speed of the entire grid during Race 1, reaching 198.5 mph and due to new gridding rules, his seventh-place finish in Race 1 put him in the fourth slot on the grid for Race 2, at the head of Row 2.

Markus Reiterberger (#21) spent much of Race 1 clashing with American Nicky Hayden’s teammate, rookie Stefan Bradl, ultimately finishing in 12th place, over 21 seconds behind the winner but just two seconds behind Hayden, who seemed to struggle with his Red Bull Honda CBR1000RR SP2. “I was happy with the test early in the week,” Reiterberger said, praising the setup on his S 1000 RR.

Race 2 was a disappointment for Torres, who had acceleration problems with his motorcycle during the warm-up lap and was forced to drop out of the race altogether. “It was a weekend of ups and downs for us,” he said. “Overall the weekend went well and we know that we have the pace to be consistently within the front group.”

All the teams had to deal with scorching track temperatures of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which made tire management not only difficult, but critical to success. Most laps saw times above 1 minute, 32 seconds, while many qualifying times were well over a full second faster.

Reiterberger started Race 2 well, getting as high as ninth place before spending most of the race in 11th. Unfortunately, he dropped two positions in the final drag race out of Turn 12, crossing the finish line in 13th, nearly 26 seconds behind Rea.

Torres sits at nine points in the overall standings, with Reiterberger close behind at seven. BMW has 12 points in the Manufacturer’s Standings, trailing Aprilia (15) but leading Honda (6). Both men earned points in the BMW Motorrad Race Trophy, which covers 20 racing series around the world.

As happens with many WSBK race weekends, the host nation’s Superbike Championship runs the same weekend, and Phillip Island was no exception. There are two S 1000 RR riders campaigning in the Australian Superbike Championship, Troy Guenther (#56, NextGen Motorsports) and Samuel Lambert (#54, Cyclone Motorcycles).

While WSBK has an overall grid of 22 riders – Italian Leandro Mercado from the IodaRacing team sat out due to injury – ASBK has a field of 35 racers, and even more at some events. They also run three races every weekend compared to WSBK’s two.

Guenther tacked down 11th and 13th place finishes in Races 1 and 2, respectively, but was solidly mid-pack at 17th after Race 3 was red-flagged and restarted due to a serious crash. Lambert earned finishes in 16th, 20th and 14th places for the three races.

“It was a big learning curve this weekend for myself and the NextGen Motorsports team,” Guenther said. “We tried many different settings on the BMW S 1000 RR, and came away with a good direction of what does and doesn’t work – along with a haul of points to start the year.”

The next WSBK races will be from 10-12 March at the Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram, Thailand. ASBK’s next races will be from 17-19 March at Wakefield Park Raceway in Goulburn, New South Wales.

Superbike racing in the USA kicks off 21-23 April in a combined MotoGP-MotoAmerica event at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. BMW S 1000 RR racers Steve Rapp and Jeremy Cook are expected to race for MotoAmerica at COTA.

Tags:  Racing  S1000RR  WSBK 

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Remember Marco Melandri?

Posted By Will Guyan, Saturday, February 11, 2017

Remember Marco Melandri back in '12 and '13? He won WSBK races on the feisty BMW RR. Then, BMW quit racing, pissing off just about everybody, from the actual teams to we lowly race fans. Why 'lowly'? Because we are simply not taken into the decison, BMW even going so far as to quit before the season was over. But now, BMW 'graduates' Melandri and Chaz Davies are both set to attack the 2017 season from the front row on the resplendent Ducati Panigales. Chaz Davies said when he was told BMW was quitting in '13: "I was gobsmacked! Nobody saw that coming. We were so close...." When Melandri won Race 2 at Miller in Utah in 2012, BMW was ecstatic. And so were we race fans. Here we see up close and personal the top guys at Motorrad Motorsport carrying Marco to the podium! Incidentally, Race 1 was conquered by retired Carlos Checa, on Ducati. Carlos' race team? Althea Racing (now Althea BMW Race Team!) The musical chairs played by the top world fast guys is fascinating.

Now, last year's WSBK team Milwaukee BMW have changed marques from the BMW S1000RR to the Aprilia RSV4. Able Irish fast guy Eugene Laverty was selected to ride the Aprilia and did so with great success recently at Jerez at the pre season test, despite a bad crash when he was hit by another rider. This guy grew up racing on the streets, which is where they race over there for the most part: Isle of Man, and the rest of the highly dangerous road courses they have lived with in the British Isles since gas was twisted via throttle. Laverty is fearless. Milwaukee selected Aprilia. Former BMW heros Melandri and Davies are on the Aprilia.

So far, that leaves Althea BMW Race Team for 2017, race fans. Stay tuned as the 'silly season' unfolds. Lastly, we're unsure whom we miss more, Marco Melandri or his stunning consort, Italian supermodel, Manuela Raffaetta!

Photos copyright Will Guyan.

Tags:  Melandri  S100RR  WSBK 

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Althea BMW WSBK Racing

Posted By Will Guyan, Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Coming quickly, the 2017 WSBK racing season is. Having concluded a two-day test at Jerez de la Frontera last week, the Althea BMW Racing team was back on track pre-season for two days of testing at Portimao in Portugal.

After a crash at the Jerez test left him with a shoulder blade fracture, Jordi Torres was unable to participate, so his team-mate Markus Reiterberger was joined by Raffaele De Rosa, winner of the Super Stock1000 (SSK) championship with Althea in 2016. Both riders worked hard, providing the technicians with a significant data for the continuing development of the BMW S1000RR bikes. Rider Marco Faccani was also injured in a crash at Jerez. His progress has been encouraging, though he was limited to a certain extent by shoulder pain.

Rider Julien Puffe is continuing to practice with his new BMW, and participated in the test with the newly formed Althea MF84 team, making good progress throughout the two day test. The Althea BMW Racing will be on track at Phillip Island on 20-21 February before the 2017 championship gets underway, with Round One taking place just a few days later (24-26 February) at the same Australian track. Mark your calendar!

Markus Reiterberger: “The testing has been tough, but we got a lot done, testing geometry, the Pirelli tires, many things. I’m still struggling in terms of my feeling with the BMW but I hope to improve on this. I need to work even harder to see the results of the great work that the team is doing. I thank the team for their continuing hard work and hope we can obtain the desired results this season.”

Raffaele De Rosa: “Coming here was a little unexpected but I’m very pleased to have chance to get back on the bike. The track was a difficult one but we tried to carry out as many tests as possible. Unfortunately I had a small crash and that cut into our time a little, but I had fun and hope I’ve been able to provide the team with useful feedback.”

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