Electrifying and nerve-wrecking, the Asia Superbike 1000cc is all set for another round of white knuckle ride at the Zhuhai International Circuit, China this weekend since its last appearance in 2019.  Taking a bold stance in their performances this season is duo of ONEXOX BWM TKKR Team, Markus  Reiterberger and Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman who are ready to rock the scenes in Round 5 of the FIM  Asia Road Racing Championship.  

High on a streak of glorifying achievements, Markus has become a household name among the  community of ARRC this season. Returning to the championship after a long hiatus, he was not only  quick to find his equipoise but also in maintaining a fantastic momentum that has served to up his ante at the forefront of victory. The German born lad has certainly been around the block of the motorcycle  racing domain, undoubtedly and his return to ARRC has not only spiced up the level of competitiveness  but has also tickled the nerves of other riders in the race category. 

Commenting on the season, Markus said, “The start was not too good for me, to be honest. At Buriram  specifically but we picked up along the way and it has been great so far. I am pretty satisfied with my  achievements, frankly and it has served the expectations of our team well. We have won many races.  We can already win the championship for sure if we maintain this momentum. The machine is  awesome in the braking area and I think this is the best part of the machine which I love most.  Compared to the other machines, this is an upside for us and I have improved tremendously on that.  Apart from that, the power of the machine is also amazing. We do have our downside especially on  the exit, the line wise, we have to take a wider space at times but we can take up speed which is really  good.” 

“The team has been great in ensuring that the machine is always in a good condition. Although it can  be said that we are on our way to making it champion this season, there is no playing safe. We will not  change our strategy but move along with the idea of giving our best shot, to give my 100% in each lap  while enjoying every bit of the moment. At the end of the day, the goal is to win the races and the  championship. To be honest, I have no idea about the Zhuhai circuit because I have never been there.  I watch a couple of on-board races to identify the brake points, gears and layout, to hear the engine  sound. Normally, I am quite fast in picking it up so by the second and third session, I think I will roughly  be able to gauge the performance level. Of course, the challenge would be riding with those who  already know the layout but I am daring, so it should be ok. Azlan has been quite a teammate and he  has helped me to identify the foreseeable challenges for the coming race, so let’s see how it goes!” 

Star of 2019, Azlan Shah is not quite bad himself this season. After a tough and frustrating season last  year, Azlan Shah returned to prove his mettle in the ASB1000 race category. The Malaysian rider has  shown remarkable improvements in his riding techniques that not only complemented the qualities of  the machine but also accentuated its visibility with his ability to optimise its strengths. Azlan Shah has  definitely brought his A-game to the circuit scenes this season but it would be steep climb uphill to  make his cut at the top. 

Commenting on the season, Azlan Shah said, “Overall, this season has been a good one for me.  Considering the decline in my level of performances last season. So, this year has definitely been a  one-up for me. I think one of the significant achievements for me this season would be making it all  the way up from the back of the grid and finishing podium. That was an awesome achievement for me.  Overall, the machine this season has seen a major transformation. I am able to handle it better and it  comes with greater power which makes acceleration and fighting among the front troop possible.  Personally, my most difficult time was at Sugo. It was a difficult circuit for me and I couldn’t find my  comfort and momentum there.” 

“My goal this season would be to try and secure the second position overall. There are four more races  to go and I am currently at the fifth position overall. I still have a fighting chance considering the point  difference which is not that big. If I can work towards finishing the podium in the coming races, there  is a high chance for me to make it to the podium in the overall standings. For the upcoming race, to be  honest, I am not a fan of the Zhuhai circuit. I have raced there many times since my 600cc years. It has  always been the same problem with the tarmac and reduced traction. But I am hoping that it would be different this time around, so let’s see. Markus is a good kid and he is a fast learner. I have learnt a  lot from him and hopefully, we can both be on the podium for the end of the season.”