HOT HEADLINES FROM MISANO: behind-the-scenes conversations in Italy

Tuesday, 14 June 2022 05:04 GMT

With plenty of fans in attendance, the latest chapter of WorldSBK’s 2022 title race was electric…

The Pirelli Emilia-Romagna Round has been ticked off and the first third of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship season has been banked. In Italy at the Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli”, there were plenty of reasons for the home crowd to be happy; we caught up with the stars of the show as they held no punches and spoke their mind, from elation, jubilation, dejection and future expectations.

Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati): “At the moment, Dall’Igna is very, very happy!”

In a magical weekend for Alvaro Bautista and Ducati, the Championship leader commented on the test at Misano from preseason, whilst also talking about Luigi Dall’Igna, Ducati Corse’s general manager: “More than helping me to be competitive this weekend, the two-day test gave me the chance to compare the bike to how it was during that time and how it was after more tests and with the changes we did. For me, it was important to understand the difference between that bike and now and I saw we were wrong with all the decisions we took! So, we came back with the same material and the same bike as the test and I felt good.

“We have to be prepared when it’s our turn to suffer! We have to keep calm and be strong in that moment. When everything is going good, everything comes easier. When things are difficult, it’s when you can see if the rider is a good rider. For example, with Toprak, he was struggling but he kept going and he won. This is the difference between a good rider and a Champion rider. Dall’Igna knows me very well from almost back in 125cc, and I won in the past with his bike. At the moment, Dall’Igna is very, very happy and he knows very well our potential and he’s so happy.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK): “The Superpole Race was incredible!”

Back to winning ways and ending his victory drought, reigning World Champion Toprak Razgatlioglu was elated to get the monkey off his back: “The Superpole Race was incredible, also for the pace. For me, it was a very good pace and after the technical problem, we improved the bike a lot, especially, the engine braking. In the afternoon, it was very hot, and I used the old SCX, not the new one. For the hot conditions, none of the SCX tyres were working well. After seven or eight laps, I felt a lot of spinning, but I kept fighting for the win. After Turn 8, I lost the front and after I said, ‘OK, second is enough for today’. In some sectors, Alvaro was faster and then after the tyres dropped, he was on his own. I need the long race P1!”

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK): “Didn’t feel comfortable… pace wasn’t good enough”

It was a difficult final race of the weekend for Jonathan Rea, who finished a race of the podium for the first time this year: “In Race 2, I didn’t get a good start and was fourth at Turn 1 before I got track position behind Alvaro and Toprak. I had a grandstand view of them going at it at Turn 14, that was aggressive! I just settled into a rhythm that I thought was OK. I was struggling entering the corner which caused the front to chatter, and I just didn’t feel comfortable. I had a pace, but it wasn’t good enough. I struggled with grip and I think that the Pirelli curve ball this weekend with the amount of tyres we tested caught us out a little bit. When I raced with Alvaro out there, I didn’t think I had anything for him, he was a different level. We struggled this weekend a little bit, but I fully expect that at Donington Park we can make a step and be there again.”

Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati): “I want to dedicate this to all the fans!”

A double podium at home saw Michael Ruben Rinaldi pushing himself to deliver the goods for his home fans: “We decided to make a strategy to push like hell in the beginning and see what happens. When it was like the seventh lap, I was finished, I didn’t have more energy. I had to focus and relax to do my pace and I did it, it was unbelievable. We made a good improvement compared to the first rounds. I can be proud and happy, but I think we need a few more races to always be there. We are on our way to more good races. I’m really happy and I want to dedicate this to all the fans, the Italian crowd and my family. I felt I had to give them something!”

One of Rinaldi’s closest friends, MotoGP™ star Andrea Dovizioso, was watching on, and Rinaldi spoke about his friendship with the three-time MotoGP™ runner-up: “Dovi is really intelligent. He said, ‘I don’t know the tyres or the bike and you’re getting on the podium, so I won’t say something because maybe it’s not true’ but if I am struggling, he will help me with his experience. He always does that. We call each other after every race, and to see him and my friends after the race was a really proud moment.”

Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing): “We changed all the team… racing is a funny job!”

With a best result of 2022 of fifth in Race 1, Axel Bassani reacted to a change of crew for 2022, whilst enjoying racing in general in his Saturday debriefs: “We changed all the team from last year, only the electronics guy is the same, so it’s not easy to start the season with this. I need to understand the people, they need to understand me, but I think we are there. I am faster than last year, and I hope to continue in this way. Racing is a funny job! I enjoy the week, the race, and when I arrive behind, I am not happy! But no problem, it’s easy, why stress? I’m not happy about the start of the season, particularly Race 1s, but from now, I think we’ll start to make good steps.”

Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “The biggest problem for me were the starts… still a lot of work to do”

Struggling to get off the line, Scott Redding spoke in his TV interview that despite the testing done at Portimao, there’s still problems with getting the clutch to work in the right way: “The biggest problem for me were the starts and trying to get off the start line; we still need to understand the right way to make the clutch work to get off the start. Every time, I dropped back from P9 to P15 and it’s too hard to come back through. The positive is that all weekend, we showed pretty good race pace, not to fight for the podium but for where we feel we can be. We showed we were capable to be around P7 – P9, we’re just not there in the mix. For me, learning and adapting, this was a positive part of the weekend as last year, this was a difficult place for BMW and so are the hot conditions. In general, I can go away quite happy but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Watch Misano highlights in style here, whilst enjoying 2022 as it unfolds with the WorldSBK VideoPass!