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BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com retires from Suzuka 8 hours

Suzuka, Japan. Disappointing end to the Japan journey of the BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com: The German squad of former racer Rico Penzkofer had to retire from the 8 hours of Suzuka shortly before half time due to a technical problem and a crash.

After strong showings of the rider trio consisting of German Markus Reiterberger, Brit Tommy Bridewell and Belgian Bastien Mackels the team had high hopes on bringing home a good result. However the race got cut short after a problem with the fuel pump which was solved by changing the tank and a crash for Mackels shortly after that.

Bridewell took the start stint and paced the BMW S 1000 RR to a strong seventh before handing over to Reiterberger, who as well did a brilliant job. When Mackels took over for the team’s third stint, the problems started. After only a short amount of laps he had to come back in to the pits. When he went out on track again the BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com had dropped to the mid-twenties of the ranking.

It didn’t take long however as Mackels crashed after losing the front. The Belgian racer rode the Double R back to the pits where it was repaired in a short amount of time again. Mackels went on track again but the team then decided to retire from the 8 hours of Suzuka due to the big deficit on reaching the points scoring places. The team retired in 47th position.

Apart from that the first Suzuka adventure of the BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com can be considered as a successful one: Neither Reiterberger, nor Mackels had ridden at this special track before, also the team was new on the legendary Suzuka Circuit. During Qualifyings and Practice sessions Reiterberger, Bridewell and Mackels always played in the front of the permanent EWC field, qualifying in 14th only behind the best EWC team of YART.

This year’s 38th Suzuka 8 Hours edition has been one of the most competitive in history with current MotoGP™ rider Pol Espargaro taking a new lap record during the Superpole, Casey Stoner retiring from retirement and current World Championship stars such as Bradley Smith, Dominique Aegerter, Michael van der Mark and Kyle Smith taking part in the event.

The next race for the BMW Motorrad France Team Penz13.com will be the German Speedweek at Oschersleben, taking place from 20th to 23rd of August with the third round of the FIM Endurance World Championship and the 8 hours of Germany starting on Saturday, 22nd of August, at 12:00 o’clock.

Results 8 hours of Suzuka for Download (pdf)

Markus Reiterberger
“We were really strong in the first stint, Tommy did a amazing job there and we were circling around P7. Then I took over and had a nice fight with GMT, we were first of the European teams and P6 overall. After two safety cars I handed over to Basti, we filled the bike up but suddenly he had problems and returned to the pits. Just in front of the pit entry the bike cut out so he had to roll in neutral to the box. We changed the fuel tank and actually we’ve had lost everything by then already. Bastien went back out on track but lost the front which was bad for us again. We had dropped to 47th position and would have had to ride four seconds faster than anyone else to get to the point scoring positions so the team decided to stop the race. We are all mega disappointed as it had looked very good for us. I felt comfortable on the bike and we could have done a really good job here. I am sorry for the whole team as everyone was giving his best. You fly the long way down to Japan and then this. We are all disappointed.”

Bastien Mackels
“I don’t know what to say. I am really sorry about the crash. I never find the right way to be fast with the bike. I think in the race I also ride 2:11 and 2:12 like the other guys, but I lost the front and I got a problem with the fuel pump. It was two times at the start of my stint. I liked the track for sure, I would love to come back here. I am sorry for the team because I crashed the bike in the race.”

Tommy Bridewell
“The weekend has been good, the pace was very strong and I am happy with the way I rode. I always ride with my heart and always give 110 per cent. To do the 2:09.3 with the Pirelli tire – I am very very happy with! With the race tire we could run on 2:10.0 but today is not a good day. This is disappointing, I’ve put a lot of effort in to arriving here, in preparation, and now the race is finish. I am happy with the stint I put in at the start, I arrived very high to P7 – which is much stronger than the expectation of everyone I think. But this is racing for you. A long flight home now and I am now getting ready for the British Superbikes again.”

Rico Penzkofer:
“Bastien rode the third stint but had to come back to the pits after three laps as the bike was cutting out. We found out very quickly that we had a problem with the fuel tank so we changed it. We didn’t lose too much time there, that was still ok for a eighter. Bastien went on track again but unfortunately crashed and we had a longer repair stop at the pits again. We went back out another time but dropped to 47th in the order. Only the first 20 get points here and that wasn’t reachable for us anymore. The next race is Oschersleben. When we get the bikes back from Japan we only have got two weeks to get everything sorted and ready for that race, so we now focus on that an the preparation of Oschersleben, packing things here and stop. There is nothing to reach for us for the Championship so we re-focus on the next race. I am disappointed for the riders and for the whole team, it was a long journey but that’s the Endurance. We are not the only once to have retired early here, that's part of racing.”

“Until then the weekend had been more than good, even with that small crash in the practice sessions, but you’ve got almost no one here this year, who did not have such a problem during on of the sessions. Its been running all according to plan and even better, we’ve been second of the permanent teams of the Endurance World Championship on the grid. But yeah, as a racer you always can have a crash, that’s it. We try to give it all at the pits and the riders give their all on track and that is what can happen. But we’ve shown what we are capable of and now we can’t wait for Oschersleben.”