Althea BMW rider Markus Reiterberger has announced he will cease racing in the World Superbike Championship with immediate effect in order to focus on recovering from a back injury.

The former IDM German Superbike champion stepped up to WorldSBK last season with the Althea team, and proved to be a formidable challenger to race-winning team-mate Jordi Torres during the first half of the year.

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Unfortunately, his season came off the rails at the Misano round when he suffered a massive crash. Launched skywards from his S1000RR at Turn 7, Reiterberger suffered fractures to his T10 and T12 vertebrae.

The young German only missed one round as a result, but rode in a considerable amount of discomfort. With recovery taking longer than hoped, his injury has continued to hinder him into 2017 and results have been lacklustre.

Taken with a heavy heart, Reiterberger’s decision to leave WorldSBK was one completely understood and supported by his Althea team.

“After serious consideration, I have decided to step away from participating in WorldSBK,” he said in a statement released today.

“We made a strong start last season but then couldn’t keep up the good results. I have therefore opted to refocus on making a complete recovery and on my racing career.

“I am very thankful for the experience in WorldSBK with Althea BMW Racing Team and I am now very much looking forward to new challenges. My appreciation also goes out to the whole Althea BMW Racing Team crew for their work.

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“I was very much encouraged by the positive reception from my friends, family and fans – I am very thankful for that.”

Though his future in motorcycle racing, for now, remains uncertain as he embarks on recovering from his injuries, Reiterberger has not totally ruled out returning to WorldSBK in the future.

“It was always my dream to participate in WorldSBK and with the experience I’ve gained, I will work very hard to return to the championship.”

Reiterberger’s place in the Althea team for the remainder of the year will be taken by reigning European Superstock 1000 champion Raffaele de Rosa.