After a dominant display at Assen, the third stop of the European Superstock 1000 Championship paints a similar picture to the one that emerged from the season opener at MotorLand Aragon: can anyone on the STK1000 field defeat Markus Reiterberger (alpha Racing-Van Zon-BMW)? It will be harder than ever for the German at Imola, with half of the field returning to their home country and a track they know to perfection – not to mention the motivation of pulling the championship leader down to earth.
It’s hard to imagine how Markus Reiterberger’s return to the STK1000 championship could have gone any better. Two wins, two Superpoles, two fastest laps, fastest time in qualifying, and a feeling of dominance seldom seen in this category. Imola is a special track however, and it will not be easy for the German to increase his lead here. His last appearance at the Italian track was back in 2016 on a Superbike, coming in 12th and 13th.
For many in the STK1000 field the Imola Round will be a return home, but few will be more willing and able to impress than Roberto Tamburini (Berclaz Racing Team SA). The Italian is the biggest threat to Reiterberger’s lead right now, having come in second at both MotorLand Aragon and TT Circuit Assen. Appropriately, Tamburini also came in second at last year’s Imola race – a result he will be desperate to improve on.
Another rider returning home is Federico Sandi (MOTOCORSA Racing). A third and fourth place finish under his belt in the season so far, Sandi will be willing to put last season’s Imola Round behind him: the Italian saw himself disqualified after originally crossing the line fourth. A first STK1000 win still awaits Sandi, and Imola would be the perfect venue.
Maximilian Scheib (Aprilia Racing Team) was perhaps the biggest threat to Reiterberger’s triumph at the Aragon Round, when he lead the race and was only kept off the podium by an electronic problem. At Assen he crept back on, ending the race in third. The Chilean couldn’t score at last year’s Imola race either, but is well prepared to make it through the weekend at the front of the field.
Florian Marino (URBIS Yamaha Motoxracing STK Team) will be disappointed at this season so far, not just at his two fifth positions, but at finishing both races so far behind the leading four riders. The Frenchman is not used to be so far behind, having been in contention for the title last year right up to the final race. Will he find the pace he needs at Imola?
Follow all the STK1000 action ahead of the race at 15.15LT on Sunday (GMT +2).