Markus Reiterberger says his Althea BMW squad has already been able to unlock impressive pace from the S1000RR machine but admits it needs to find a way a manage tyre degradation with the Pirellis if he is to challenge towards the front at the World Superbike season opener next month.
The German IDM Superbike champion is preparing to step up into WSBK with Althea BMW alongside new team-mate Jordi Torres. Reiterberger is traveling to Althea BMW's official team launch in Rome this weekend before a two-day pre-season test at Vallelunga with the 2016 bike.
After testing on his wildcard BMW S1000RR at the end of last year the 21-year-old is confident he already has the speed to challenge the likes of last year's dominating duo Kawasaki's Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes over one lap but is struggling to get to grips with the Pirelli tyres.
“For me that was a fast lap, an extremely fast one,” Reiterberger said on worldsbk.com. “The others were a little slower. It was just one lap and we are missing consistency. We need to be quicker over full race distances. At the moment the tyre wear during the first three or four laps is extreme and the tyre drops rapidly after that. We need to make that a point of focus.”
The German rider is expecting to receive the WSBK-spec BMW S1000RR at the Vallelunga test where the team will undergo a thorough test schedule, working on both single lap speed and full race pace.
“At the moment Althea is building completely new bikes,” he explained. “We will have new suspension parts and the end result will be a motorbike that is completely WSBK-spec. We have the data and experience from the last test. Furthermore, Werner [Daemen, Manager] and I got quite a lot of experience in the IDM. In Jerez, and in Vallelunga last year, we tried everything out and got some good data. All this will go into the new bike.”
Reiterberger also says he is ruling out any specific targets for results and believes up to 15 riders could be able to fight for the rostrum in 2016.
A direct rival which Reiterberger and Althea BMW may be looking out for is new WSBK squad Milwaukee BMW, who is stepping up with 2015 British Superbike champion Josh Brookes and former MotoGP rider Karel Abraham. Both squads will be receiving a level of factory support from BMW Motorrad and are currently the only announced BMW squad on the WSBK grid for 2016.