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Peter Hickman Smiths Racing

MIXED CONDITIONS AND MIXED RESULTS AT DONINGTON

Rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship took the Global Robots BMW team to Donington Park where mixed weather conditions saw mixed results for Peter Hickman and new team member Markus Reiterberger.

With torrential rain wiping out yesterday’s action, the organisers rearranged the schedule so that for the first time in series history, three races would take place today with grid positions determined by free practice times from Friday, That meant Hickman lined up on the Global Robots BMW S1000RR in 15th for the first 15-lap race with his German teammate two places further back in 17th.

Conditions were damp and cool for today’s first 15-lap race which made tyre choice tricky and whilst a good start for Hicky saw him move up to 11th, he wasn’t able to crack the top ten and ended up crossing the line in 12th. 26-year-old Reiterberger, who is deputising for the injured Alex Olsen, took 21st on his debut as he adapted to BSB rules which are different to what he has been used to in the Asian Road Race Championship.

Hickman started the second race from tenth, but his race was short-lived as he was hit by another rider at the Melbourne Hairpin on the opening lap and crashed out, luckily without injury. That left three-time German (IDM) Superbike and former European Superstock 1000 champion Reiterberger as the lone team runner and the dry conditions allowed him to secure 14th to pick up his first BSB points.

The final race saw Lincoln-based Hickman have his strongest ride of the weekend coming through from 16th on the grid to 11th whilst Markus also had a great ride with strong lap times giving him 18th and his third finish from three starts.

Meanwhile, Alex Olsen continues to make good progress from the serious injuries received at Silverstone and has now returned home where his recovery will continue.

Peter Hickman: It was a tough weekend with a big crash on Friday, when I got caught out by a new tyre, not helping matters and it put me on the back foot from there on in. With qualifying being cancelled, it also meant I was a long way back on the grid for the first race where I made a bit of the wrong choice with the tyre. Race two didn’t last very long sadly and it put me 16th on the grid for the final race and also up against it as everyone else had a full, dry race under their belts. Coming back from that far back is always tough as it gives you too much work to do and too many people to pass but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Markus Reiterberger: I have to say thank you to both Global Robots BMW and Alpha Racing for the opportunity and I was happy and excited to be working with such a professional team. Unfortunately, we suffered a small technical issue in free practice on Friday and the weather then meant we never got another chance to try the bike until race day. As a result, I had a strange feeling with the bike, mainly due to the lack of time riding a bike without electronics although the more laps I did on Sunday, the better my rhythm became. I understand a lot more about BSB now and wish we could start the weekend with the bike we finished with but I’ve really enjoyed working with the team and with more time and testing, I’m sure we would do a lot better.”

Darren Jones, Team Co-ordinator: “The story of 2020 continues with lady luck working against us and whilst we found a better direction and made better improvements again, the weather threw us some curveballs which meant we couldn’t put them all into practice. We made a bit of a guess with set-up for race two but, unfortunately, Pete only got three-quarters of a lap before being taken out by another rider but race three was the happiest he’d felt on the bike all weekend and it was a solid ride so we’ll look to finish strongly at Brands next time out. It was always going to be a difficult weekend for Markus, but I thought he did a good job. He kept it upright in tough conditions and brought the bike home for three finishes. His side of the garage had some ideas in terms of set-up which perhaps weren’t the right direction for BSB but both he and the guys from Alpha Racing gelled well with the team and I’m sure it would be a different story with more time on the bike and better weather!”

The final round takes place at Brands Hatch, Kent on October 16-18.

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