2019 has just started and we all have goals we want to reach. What about yours?
“If I reveal it, I won’t achieve it…Anyway, I have many goals and they’re all very ambitious, but realistic as well”.
You couldn’t do interviews till the end of 2018, but now you’re allowed to do it. So, can you tell us about your first test with GRT Yamaha?
“It felt like the first day of school: we didn’t know each other and the bike was new for everyone.”
The R1 you rode last November is different from the one you’ll ride this year, isn’t it?
“It definitely is. The test was arranged in very little time and the fact we spent two days there in Jerez is already good. The whole team did a fantastic job.”
Why do you say that Yamaha perfectly suits your riding style?
“Because its engine has great torque and is very efficient. Moreover, the front feels very well and it’s very important for me, since I tend to ride much “on the front”.
Is it true that you’ll have the same treatment as van der Mark and Lowes?
“You should ask Yamaha about it. Me, I already know what I have and I’ll focus just on myself.”
Have you already made requests to GRT and Yamaha?
“Yes, I did, but in the end that test was a shakedown. Next time we’ll already work on a different bike and the fact we already know each other and Yamaha R1 will help us a lot.”
GRT Yamaha is new in WorldSBK: how do you like working with them?
“I like them so much. They are really hard-working and I think they managed our first test together in the best way, since it was arranged in just one week and everything was new.”
What do you think of Yamaha’s performance in 2018? Do you believe it can challenge Kawasaki?
“I didn’t get why they had so many ups and downs, but in my opinion the bike is very well balanced and this year we can be at the same level as Kawasaki. I don’t know whether my arrival gave them an extra boost, but they’re all working very hard and they want to bring many new things for the next test.”
Rea was uncatchable at Jerez: how stronger is he than the rest of the field?
“JR needs no presentation, but races start in February and for sure we have much more room for improvement than him, since he’s already reached the maximum”.
Who did you sign the contract with? GRT or Yamaha? And how long does it last?
“I signed with Yamaha for just one year. You know, I’m still young…(laughs, ed)”
Will you be involved in Yamaha program for Suzuka 8 Hours?
“We haven’t discussed about it. Our priority is World Superbike, but never say never.”
Next test will take place in about two weeks in Jerez. What do you expect from it?
“Nothing, I just want to enjoy every lap and to improve run after run together with my team.”
Let’s make a step backwards: why were you sacked by Ducati?
“It wasn’t neither my decision, nor the sponsor’s. It’s someone else’s fault.”
“Gigi (Dall’Igna, ed). He suddenly changed his mind and replaced me”.
You risked to be out of job…
“If Lucas Mahias hadn’t rejected Yamaha’s proposal and joined Kawasaki (in World Supersport, ed), I would have had no seat for 2019 World Superbike. I still have much to say and I believe I can win again, so I didn’t want to just make up the numbers. All I needed was a good team and a competitive bike.”
“I still have much to say”. What do you mean?
“It feels like my rookie season. I believe I was often in the right place at the wrong time. For example, I felt much stronger in 2018 than in 2017, but the bike was worse due to regulation…”
You’ve not ridden a bike for one month: how did you spend this period of time?
“I was with my family in Trentino and there I relaxed, skied and trained with some friends of mine. Now I’m ready to restart!”
Describe your current state of mind by using just few words…
“I feel confident, satisfied and very motivated!”
Translated by Alessandro Palma