Uphill and downhill ride of emotions at the IDM opener at Oschersleben


Wilbers-BMW-Racing's season opener in the IDM Superbike 1000 could not have been more mixed. Florian Alt put the team's months of preparation into practice in qualifying with a brilliant pole position in the premier class. However, the difficult weather conditions stood in the way of a great success on race Sunday.

At first, it couldn't have come at a better time. Florian Alt burned a fastest lap time of 1:25.025 min into the asphalt on the new BMW M 1000 RR in the final qualifying session. That meant: pole position for the 25-year-old title candidate. "Flo" was 0.097 seconds behind the next driver. He thus gave his team boss Benny Wilbers a belated present, because it was his birthday last week. The team's tactics had worked in practice. "We chose the right tire for the bike and Florian took to the track with it at the right time," said Wilbers.Team newcomer Marco Fetz made the success in qualifying complete. The 21-year-old from Kleinbreitenbronn in Bavaria secured eighth place on the grid with the BMW S 1000 RR, the predecessor model of Alt's bike. Nobody had expected such a strong performance on his debut in the premier class.

However, the changeable weather on race Sunday threw all hopes for top positions out of the window. The Wilbers Racing team decided to use rain tires before the first race, looking up at the sky and constantly checking the weather on the Internet. With that, Alt and Fetz were equipped just like two thirds of the field. Alt managed a good start and the Nümbrechter led the race for several laps. It was like a sensation that Fetz was also able to hold on to the lead for a lap. Highly motivated, the team junior had shot forward from the third row of the grid. But then it happened: the track dried out more and more. The drivers on rain tires got into more and more trouble and were overtaken by the slick-tired competition. After 18 laps, Alt was classified in 13th place and saved three championship points in the tricky situation. Fetz finished in 17th position and went away empty-handed.

In the second race, the track was mostly dry, but for Alt the fight for a podium finish was over on the sixth lap. He crashed out of the action on a still-wet section with a violent highsider. "It happened at the beginning of the chicane. I had already closed the throttle and was in the rolling phase. Then the rear wheel broke out with a thud. The weekend went pretty stupidly. I'm just glad that the airbag in my Schwaben leather suit went off when I crashed. The helmet also took a bit of a hit in the crash, but I'm okay."

Fetz finished eleventh and collected five IDM points for his efforts. His conclusion of the weekend was, "The feeling of being able to lead the first race for a short time was tremendous. I would have liked to enjoy it for longer than just one lap. At the end, the weather didn't agree with our tire choice, and nothing went right. In the second race, at least I got there and was able to take a few points."

Team boss Wilbers commented, "That's racing. We had pole position and were in the best of spirits, but as a result only the races count. This time luck wasn't on our side, but that's the same for many others and better days will come again. However, after the performances of our two drivers at Oschersleben, I'm very optimistic about the course of the season. We showed what we're capable of and presented ourselves right at the front. After the poor results we ultimately had in the races, our motto is therefore: get up, fix the crown, keep going."