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  • Judith Pieper-Köhler

12 hours from Estoril without precious metal, but with a great race catch up

It was a long work-day for Markus Reiterberger and the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team at the Automotodrom do Estoril in Portugal. After a shortened start procedure into the 12-hour race from third position, Reiti put pressure on the riders ahead of him, containing of the winning team of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FCC Honda) and the final world champion of this season ( SERT). It didn't take long before the #37 BMW S 1000 RR, went into the lead, with Reiti in the saddle. He managed to break away from the pursuers. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team stayed at the front for a little over an hour, but then the race took a change. After switching to teammate Peter Hickman, he lost the front of the bike in a left corner and crashed. He was able to rejoin the race but had to go back to the pits twice for repairs. As a result, the #37 initially dropped to 19th place, eight laps behind the leader. As the race progressed, the trio Reiterberger, Foray and Hickman set out to work their way forward step by step. After 12 hours the #37 reached the finish line in seventh position.

Of course, that's not the desired result for the 26-year-old and the entire team, especially after it was clear from the start that they would have what it takes for a podium, if not a win. But Reiti also makes it very clear that “Hicky's” crash was a normal racing fall that could have happened to any of them. Overall, the Bavarian is very satisfied with the work of the team and with the way in which the riiders' wishes were met.

The 2019/20 season, which began a year ago in Le Castellet, had to be shortened to four races due to the corona pandemic. Right at the start, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team took third place on the podium inside a top-class world championship field. At the second race in mid-December in Sepang, Malaysia, the next podium followed, also in third place. After a break, the season was continued at the French Le Mans at the end of August. Shortly before the finish of the race, the team had to retire laying in fifth place after a crash. With seventh place in the finale in Estoril, the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team ended its debut season in sixth position overall.

Markus Reiterberger:

“The day started very early for all of us. At six o'clock we drove to the track, then the shortened start procedure took place. I had great respect for it, but I got off to a really good start and got to the bike really quickly. I rode the first laps behind Honda and SERT, but then passed relatively well and took the lead. I was able to pull myself away at the front very well and stay there for a whole hour and gain further advantage. Then Hicky took over the 'steering wheel' and immediately got on with it. Unfortunately he crashed. That was really a shame, but it was a completely normal racing crash. This can happen to anyone with a full tank and in cool temperatures. I feel really sorry for him. The team then repaired the bike really quickly. Hicky went back out onto the track and had to come back into the pits because there were other small problems as a result of the crash. We were able to catch up to seventh position by the time we crossed the finish line and after the crash we made up 12 positions, despite the issues we had to deal with. Of course we were hoping for a podium, or even a win. That would certainly have been possible. But the Endurance World Championship always has surprises in store. I would like to thank my team for supporting us all so very well and for taking a good step with the bike. That was a nice event on a great racetrack."

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