The Italian rider had a difficult weekend at Navarra with a best result of seventh place while his teammate was winning two out of the three races
The inaugural Pirelli Navarra Round for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship proved to be a challenging affair for Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) with the Italian rider claiming a best result of seventh place at the Circuito de Navarra, while teammate Scott Redding racked up three podiums including two victories.
Rinaldi was seventh in the combined classification after Friday’s two practice sessions, seventh tenths away from Redding, but found himself as the third Ducati rider as Chaz Davies (Team GoEleven) was back at the front of the field, in sixth. Once again, the third rider in Tissot Superpole, Rinaldi could only manage 13th on the grid and was more than a second away from Redding.
The Italian was able to make progress in Race 1 as he battled his way into tenth place but was unable to force his way into the top nine for a third row starting position after finishing in 13th place in the Tissot Superpole Race. Race 2 was undoubtedly the highlight of Rinaldi’s weekend as he battled from 13th on the grid to finish in seventh and only two seconds away from a potential top-five finish.
Rinaldi was left to lament only having ‘positive feelings’ with his Ducati Panigale V4 R, after changing items on the machine. He said: “It was a difficult three days here in Navarra. Sincerely, we only had positive feelings in Race 2. It’s too late to get a great result because we changed many things on the bike and it only worked in the last race. If you look at the times, if we start at the front, we could arrive there but maybe not the podium. We need to fix that and understand why we don’t get the feeling sometimes and we lose so much time trying to get it. We need to work harder, but I don’t give up. When we are okay, the speed is there.”
Rinaldi, who moved to the factory Ducati outfit for the 2021 season, will be hoping he can continue his Race 2 form into the French Round next time out. Last year, in difficult conditions, Rinaldi scored his best results at Magny-Cours with sixth and two seventh-place finishes and he will be hoping he can build on that in 2021 on WorldSBK’s return to France.
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