Marco Barnabo, Team Principal, takes stock of a 'very difficult' 2020 campaign and points out some key information about the Barni Racing Team project for next year. The name of its rider for the new season is still unknown...
If the 2020 season has been a carousel of events for everyone in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, for the Barni Racing Team it has been a true rollercoaster. The Ducati satellite team has had to overcome a series of obstacles that, ultimately, have prevented it from achieving the results that it had regularly obtained since its arrival in the premier class in 2015. Four riders passed through the garage of the team led by Marco Barnabo during the 2020 campaign and, when it comes to taking stock and explaining its new projects, it is the team's boss himself who reviews this busy history:
“It has been a difficult year. Our rider for this year was Leon Camier, but he got injured in a test. It looked like it would be ready for the first round in Australia, but it wasn't. In fact, he was not recovered four months later, when the competition resumed, and that made the situation of the team very complicated, because we were waiting for him, as it had to be, but then he could not return. Finding a new rider at the last minute was not easy. We tried with Marco Melandri, who did his best, but things did not go as expected. All this complicated the possibilities of doing it well, especially since this is a World Championship”, says Barnabo.
“From there, our goal was to compete in all races this season, to fulfil salary agreements with the team members and to give some young riders the opportunity to get on the bike. This was not easy either, because it is very difficult for a rider who does not know the bike to go fast straight away. There were also crashes that damaged the motorcycles, so without a doubt it has been a very complicated year, with enormous costs and without the reward of the results, only the satisfaction of having been able to be in all the races”, says the manager in reference to the ephemeral passage of Samuele Cavalieri and Matteo Ferrari in the final rounds of the season.
It is clear that it is time to turn the page and focus on the 2021 campaign. Barni Racing is one of the teams that has not yet defined the name of its rider for the new season and there has been speculation about the arrival from Tito Rabat, who would not have a guaranteed seat in MotoGP ™ for the next season: "Well, everyone is talking about possible riders for our team, but at the moment I am thinking about finding the budget to be able to do the season", reveals Barnabo.
“Obviously there are several possible riders; the idea would be to have a rider two years from now to build a project and not change at the end of the season, but right now I could not say a name. We are talking to many but talking is one thing and reaching an agreement is another. There is no name with which I can say that we are concluding an agreement”.
The pattern of the satellite team points to a determining factor in choosing a driver: The opinion of the Ducati leaders. In the past, the arrival of figures who defended their colours, such as Xavi Fores or Michael Ruben Rinaldi, were already linked to this long-standing association with the Borgo Panigale factory.
"To do things well you have to have financial security, you can't start blindfolded, we want to do all the races, as we have always done, even this year in which there have been so many problems," explains Barnabo. “I want to be sure that if I start, I can finish the season. We don't want to make hasty decisions. We want to talk to Ducati and make decisions having listened to its ideas. I don't think there will be any urgency if the next championship doesn't start for several months”.
And on the weight of Ducati in the choice of the rider, he defines: “Clearly, with the collaborative relationship that I have with Ducati, of more than 20 years, if they have the need to propose a rider that interests, it is normal for us to agree to do it.”
Could even the name of a Chaz Davies recently graduated from the official team be on the table? The Welshman himself pointed out that his future could go through running with a satellite structure, if it had the direct support of a factory. Barnabo neither confirms nor denies: “If Ducati asked me, it is clear that it would be done, because he is a very strong rider, but they would have to say where and how to do it.” And added: "I hope that in ten days or a couple of weeks he can be clear about his intentions and, as a consequence, decide on a name."
Does that mean that there will already be a rider on the Bani Racing Team Ducati in the winter tests, starting with the closest appointment, on November 17 in Jerez? The Italian manager clarifies: “Right now I couldn't tell you. If he were a rider who had never ridden a Superbike, he would have to be taken to start testing; if it were one who had ridden it until last week, it wouldn't make much sense for it to start shooting in November, especially if the Championship doesn't start until April, as is being pointed out. For me it would be more useful to start at the end of January or in February…”
In this waiting period, it is clear that, whoever the 2021 rider is, the team aspires to have a competitive representative who will help restore shine and achieve better results than those collected this year: “Fortunately or unfortunately in our sport, a very large percentage depends on the rider,” concludes Barnabo. “If you have a fit driver, you get results; if not, the results do not come, even if the bike is competitive. We need to be able to have a season that gives us encouragement and motivation to continue.”
While waiting to finalise the project for WorldSBK, the Italian team last week carried out a three-day test at the Misano circuit with Randy Krummenacher. The Swiss rider rode a Ducati Panigale V2 955 and the tests are part of Barnabo's expressed desire to build a structure in the intermediate category in the future. However, it would be a possibility that would require a modification to the current World Supersport regulations.
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