BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team on the podium in Sepang.
At the “Sepang 8 Hours” in Malaysia, Markus Reiterberger and his EWC teammate Ilya Mikhalchik (UKR) took third place with the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team's # 37 BMW S 1000 RR. Due to heavy rain, the race on Saturday at the "Sepang International Circuit" had to be shortened from eight to around three hours. The newly founded BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team took second place in the overall ranking of the World Championship after two races of the season. It was the first assignment for the Bavarian with the BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team.
The team around team manager Werner Daemen secured fifth starting place for the second round of the 2019/20 season of the FIM EWC. After teammate Kenny Foray (FRA) was injured in a highside crash in the last training session on Wednesday evening and the race weekend for the French superbike champion had to come to an early end, Reiti and Ilya Mikhalchik had to do the qualifying sessions alone. The two BMW riders ended the first qualifying in fourth place overall. The second qualifying session led Reiti partly in the first position and secured the team the participation in the new Top Ten Trial session, which Reiterberger competed as the team's fastest qualifier on the # 37 RR alone. With a lap time of 2'06.306, the 25-year-old secured fifth starting position for the Belgian team.
The race in Sepang was a test of patience for everyone involved. The start was scheduled for 1 p.m. local time, but hours of rain made normal racing impossible. The safety car started with a delay, but after a few laps the red flag followed. The conditions had not improved until around 6:00 p.m. and the race could be carried out with a shortened duration of around three hours.
Reiti and teammate Ilya Mikhalchik initially finished fifth, but with flawless performance they improved to third during the course of the race. The BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team claimed a podium finish. It is the second podium for the team and the first podium for Reiti in a long time. With the sweet taste of podium champagne, he can start the long-awaited Christmas break.
Markus Reiterberger: “I am very happy to be back in endurance racing. It was a shame that Kenny was injured and I wish him a speedy recovery. We had to do the race today only the two of us, but in the end it was only for three hours, not as strenuous as if we had to share the eight hours.
I still had to get used to the new Dunlop tyres, but the team did a great job and I felt better and better on the bike. After I finished the qualifying as the fastest rider in the team, I was allowed to ride in the highly anticipated Top Ten Trial, in which each rider only has one lap to set a fast time. Unfortunately I made a mistake in turn two and lost a lot of time, so we had to settle with fifth place instead of starting from the top three.
For the race, we decided that Ilya should start and he did a really good job.
My racing pace in the rain wasn't quite as fast as I hoped, but in the end it was more important not to fall and bring the result home, so we secured third place. It was a joint achievement from the whole team, which did a great job. I am very happy with how the past few days went. We are a good team. It would be nice to continue working together next year. I will keep you up to date."