Ducati Corse’s general manager vows to fight for the WorldSBK title until the end in 2022, with him “really happy” that Championship leader Alvaro Bautista decided to come back to Ducati
The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has seen some incredible action throughout the opening four rounds of the season, but one of the biggest stories is that in his comeback season to Ducati, Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) leads the Championship. We caught up with Ducati Corse’s general manager, Luigi ‘Gigi’ Dall’Igna, to get his insight into the season so far, his job role and what it consists of and also Bautista’s teammate, Michael Ruben Rinaldi, and the steps he needs to make to become what Dall’Igna says is a “real Champion.” We caught up with Ducati Corse’s sporting director, Paolo Ciabatti, too, and you can enjoy the full interview here.
THE START OF 2022: “I’m really happy that Alvaro came back with us… We hope that we have everything to fight for the Championship until the end of the season”
Talking about the start of the season, Dall’Igna is more than pleased: “I’m really, really happy. Since the beginning and since the winter test, we came back with Alvaro and had a really good feeling. So, above all, in the first race, we saw we’re quite competitive. There are two other riders who have more or less the same performance on the track, so the Championship will be difficult until the end of the season, but we are there, to get the results. I’m really happy that Alvaro came back with us.”
Looking forward and hoping that this form continues, he elaborated about the title race: “To win the Championship is always difficult, it’s not important to just win races, you need to be consistent throughout all the year, the most difficult thing to do for the bike and the rider. We hope that we have everything to fight for the Championship until the end of the season, and we’ll see what happens at the end.”
BAUTISTA’S STYLE: “One of the best riders to watch on TV”
With Bautista’s style being perfected in the 250cc World Championship, Dall’Igna commented that it’s one of the nicest he’s seen: “The riding style is really, really nice, one of the best riders to watch on TV. It’s like a 250cc style; he’s really precise. Every lap, he does exactly the same thing, so it’s quite easy to setup the bike when you have a rider like him. The most important at the end is that the performance is really good.”
V4 vs inline four: “I’m convinced that the V4 engine is the best engine for the racing machine”
With the Panigale V4 R up against the inline four-cylinder machines of the ZX-10RR and the Yamaha YZF-R1, Dall’Igna stated that the V4 configuration is the best for WorldSBK: “I’m convinced that the V4 engine is the best engine for the racing machine. For sure, we have some room to improve the performance of the bike and the engine and it’s not easy because the level of the competition is so high at the moment. We’ll try our best to improve the bike.”
RINALDI’S NEXT STEPS: “You don’t only need to win races for the Championship, you need to be consistent”
Dall’Igna then turned his attention to Michael Ruben Rinaldi, with the Italian having an up-and-down season so far but still with great potential: “Rinaldi is a rider that grew up with us; we are really happy if he can do good results with our bike. He did good results last year but sometimes, in some races, his results or performance wasn’t so good. You don’t only need to win races for the Championship, you need to be consistent, and this is probably the most important and difficult thing to do. I think that Michael is trying to achieve the second part to be a real Champion.”
ON HIS JOB AND WorldSSP: “My job is to win Championships; it’s important to be in another class”
The discussion then turned into the job role of ‘Gigi’, who was unequivocal in the fact that he isn’t the one building the bike, but the one who leads the racing side from the circuit: “For me, this is my job. My job is not to build a good bike, my job is to win Championships. Manufacturers yes but most importantly, the Riders’ Championship. I can’t be happy if I can’t do this.”
Concluding, Dall’Igna also said about the importance of the manufacturer having a strong presence in the FIM Supersport World Championship, particularly for developing and nurturing young talent: “It’s important to be in another class, because with this bike, you can grow new talent, and this is something important for Ducati.”
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