Initially in Portugal to commentate, Fores received a last-minute call-up with Team Goeleven and raced his Ducati into the top ten
After initially attending the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship Estoril Round as a commentator, Xavi Fores received a surprise late call-up to race for Team Goeleven on the Independent Ducati Panigale V4 R after regular rider Philipp Oettl sustained an injury in an FP2 crash on Friday at the Circuito Estoril. Fores, who had competed in 115 races before his surprise call-up, took over duties for Team Goeleven from FP3 onwards.
Fores’ first action during the Estoril Round came in Saturday morning’s 30-minute Free Practice 3 session as he adjusted to life back on the WorldSBK-spec machine, having spent time competing in the British championship as well as the FIM Endurance World Championship and MotoE™ World Cup. He finished 15th in that session after posting a time of 1’38.159s before jumping straight into Tissot Superpole.
Between FP3 and Superpole, Fores found more than half-a-second as he posted a best lap time of 1’37.521s to claim 17th spot on the grid for Race 1, where he battled his way up the order to finish in 11th place before beating that in the Superpole Race on Sunday with ninth; securing him a third-row start for Race 2. Fores finished tenth in Race 2 as he scored points in all three races, the first time he has recorded this after not doing so with Kawasaki Puccetti Racing in 2020.
Fores explained the rush from commentating to racing, including how he had to rely on his cousin to bring his racing equipment to the track. He said: “To be honest, it was a crazy weekend for me. I was already here but my job was something different, I was here to do some TV commentating. When I was in the paddock, I was walking around, and the team asked me if I was ready to race. I said ‘yeah, why not?’. I had to call my cousin at home, and I said, ‘go straight to my house, bring the leathers, the helmet, get the car and go fast’.
“He was driving all night. He arrived at six o’clock in the morning. We did the technical inspections and then we were on track. It was a very nice experience. To be honest, I didn’t expect to come back to the paddock this weekend. I enjoyed it a lot, especially because I didn’t do a lot of laps and I think the pace and my level was quite good.”
Fores showed strong pace in all three races as he battled to take a total of 12 points from the Estoril Round on his unexpected comeback to the WorldSBK paddock. Discussing the possibility of returning to WorldSBK on a more regular basis, Fores said: “I would love it. I am always believing that this is my place. Even if some people tell me I’m getting old, I’m still feeling strong, I’m still working on myself every day. It’s not in my hands. If there is a good opportunity with a good bike, I will be ready to come back. If not, I enjoyed this weekend a lot.”
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