Riders take a break for the summer, WorldSBK.com looks back over the drama sparked from the series
Domination has been the theme of the European Superstock 1000 Championship so far in 2017, as it has been commanding performances which have secured the victory throughout the year so far. Although a stunning last lap duel in the restarted Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini race threw a lot of drama into the mix. Only one point stands between Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Junior Team) and Toprak Razgatlioglu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) at the top of the championship, and with two victories each it is set to be a battle that will develop long after the summer break.
Italian Rinaldi was able to convert pole position to the victory in the opening round of the season at MotorLand Aragon back in March. Crossing the line 3.587s ahead of his rivals, the 21 year old firmly stamped his presence in the 2017 fight onboard his Panigale R. Unable to match the pace of his rivals around Assen, he was then back on top in the Italian heat around the legendary Imola, at his teams home circuit. Heartbreak headed Rinaldi’s way in the UK, as he crashed out in the opening laps which meant others could profit on his zero points scoring finish. With the desire to improve on his performance as the STK1000 series went into the summer break, the Italian came out at Misano all fired up but despite his best efforts, he was unable to hold off compatriot Marco Faccani (Althea BMW Racing Team) for the victory.
Razgatlioglu has started the season where he left off in 2016, but has now all importantly got the monkey off his back in terms of securing the all important first victory of the season. The Kawasaki rider started his season off to a slow start around MotorLand Aragon, but he was soon able to find his feet as he took a stunning victory in the restarted Assen race. Taking the victory by over a second from Rinaldi, he soon found a comfortable pace on his ZX-10RR. Capitalising on his championship rival Rinaldi crashing out of the Pata UK Round, the young Turkish rider took another dominant victory around the Leicestershire circuit. Struggling to a solid sixth position in the final race before the summer break at Misano, Razgatlioglu has a lot to fight around Lausitzring.
It is hard to ignore some of the miraculous recoveries we have seen in the STK1000 series so far this season, as the riders continue to impress and prove their determination to race. Marvin Fritz (Bayer-Bikerbox Yamaichi) made his return to the class in the Pirelli Riviera Di Rimini Round, as he recovered from the crash at TT Circuit Assen back in April.
PATA Yamaha Official STK1000 Team-mates Florian Marino and Roberto Tamburini have always been up at the sharp end in the ever competitive championship, but are yet to bridge that all important gap to the leaders to stand on the top step of the podium.
Marco Faccani (Althea BMW Racing Team)’s debut victory in the STK1000 championship in the final race before the summer break at Misano is worth noting, and is proof others can bring the fight to the top two. In a stunning final lap display of steely grit and determination, the Italian was able to beat his compatriot Rinaldi over the line around Misano to take his teams debut victory of 2017.
As the riders now face a seven week break before the championship resumes at Lausitzring in August, there will be a lot to focus keeping on track as they train for an intense second half of the season.