#CATWorldSBK – Outspoken in Barcelona

From a carry-over of Magny-Cours’ drama to differing outlooks on team orders and fighting hard ahead of Barcelona’s big weekend, juicy gossip was aplenty in the pre-round debriefs The penultimate European round of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is on the horizon as the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the paddock set for another monumental weekend of action. As usual, there was plenty of chatter amongst rivals in their pre-weekend interviews, with rivals continuing to be at odds, riders stating bold claims and discussing whether or not team orders will come into play if necessary.
Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati): “Not the best friends of the paddock, so the relationship will stay the same!”

“There’s no special relationship; he told me his point of view and I told him mine, but that’s all. Races are races and the past is the past. Jonathan and I were not the best friends of the paddock so the relationship will stay the same! Sincerely, the approach for the final part of the season doesn’t change for Toprak’s points gap; I know the last three rounds have been the most difficult tracks. I have to be focused, try and do my best and I think the next tracks will be nice for us. I’m quite calm and focussed on the bike and my work. For Michael staying, I’m so happy for him. He’s a very talented rider, he’s very young and improving a lot during this season. He had a difficult start but then began being more consistent and competitive; we have a similar riding style which is easier for the engineers, so I am happy for him, and I look forward to fighting in the next races and next year for victories with him.”

Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK): “The atmosphere has soured…”

“I view Barcelona as a bit of a difficult circuit to be honest, but I have some incredible memories. When WorldSBK came here in 2020, I won the first ever race. I have the nice Barcelona trophy on display at home, so great memories from then. On the incident with Bautista, from my side, nothing will change because I have to fight so hard to be there in this incredible battle right now with two other strong rivals, but of course the atmosphere has soured a bit with a lot of things being said in the aftermath in the heat of the moment. There’s a point when you’re overtaking a rider and in this kind of instance, there’s a point of impact and you have to brace as the guy on the inside; this was the clear movement, not an intentional punt. He knows this. Right now, the Championship is so competitive with different manufacturers that we need to step up; the team know that and we’re working really hard to try and do that.”

Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK): “The Championship is very strange this year… I’m very surprised!”

“This weekend is very important, and we need good points. I’ll focus on this race and then Portimao, because I think San Juan won’t be easy because the Ducati is very fast, especially in the straights with Alvaro. I watched the video of the incident between Alvaro and Jonny and Jonny makes a mistake, but this is racing. The Championship is strange this year; every weekend we are fighting and the points situation changes. I’m very surprised! The season is long, and we have many races.”

Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati): “If I need to follow team orders, I will”

“Well, we arrive to Barcelona which is a track I really like and after a podium at Magny-Cours, so a positive feeling and positive vibes. I’m happy about the new contract and for sure, it gives us a little bit of calm, and I want to stay with the hunger and positive pressure; when I’m under these circumstances, I perform better. I think Axel is doing a great job for an Independent team but I think the best choice for our team was to remain the same, so we can fight in the next races and so that we can try and bring the title once again to Bologna. Next year, I think Alvaro and I can fight for the podium. I will try to win races but the main goal this year is to win the Championship. If I was in his position in the future, I’d like that a younger teammate who is not fighting for the title can be smart. I will use my brain and if I need to make a team decision and follow team orders, I will do it as I really believe in that.”

Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing): “If I have the opportunity to pass Michael or Alvaro, I’ll do it”

“I hope it will be a good round and we’ll try to repeat the result of Magny-Cours. I like the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya a lot, also the city of Barcelona is cool, so I feel good, and I hope to repeat the best results. My goal continues to be to try and be in front of the factory guys, and that hasn’t changed. I hope to continue to try and beat Michael but also Bautista if it’s possible and then to try and have a factory seat for 2024. In the next weeks, I’ll tell the WorldSBK paddock about what happens for next year! I think when we’re on track, we have the possibility to do what we want. I don’t like team orders so when I attack, I put all of myself to try and win. I don’t want to make mistakes, to crash with others, but if I have the possibility to pass Michael or Alvaro, I will do it.”

Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW): “Never a doubt that I’d continue with the team and BMW”

“Super delighted to announce the plans for 2023; there was never a doubt that I’d continue with the team and with BMW. We started the project at the beginning of the year, bearing in mind we needed a long time and I wanted to stay for a long time, with the same team and the same guys. I have been changing around a lot. BMW are putting a lot of effort to achieve our goals; we are improving a lot this year and next year looks good. I know how fast Garrett is and he’s a nice guy, and I know how important that is for the team. Even if he’s having harder races lately, you don’t lose your talent. I’m already excited for 2023, even if we still have a lot of races this year!”

Garrett Gerloff (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team): “It’s good to change things up… BMW are working hard behind the scenes”

“I’m really excited. BMW are working hard behind the scenes! They have the desire to keep pushing the bike to the front of the field and that’s where I want to be. Sometimes, it is good to change things up, for me specifically, and we will see how it goes. I really appreciated that they were excited to work with me and I really appreciate the opportunity. Remy Gardner joining the team in 2023 is something I didn’t expect to see and I’m glad he had the opportunity. I think he’s going to get along really well with the team, it’s a great group of people and that will be good for him. The R1 Yamaha is a great bike and Toprak’s being showing that in the last few years! It’ll be figuring out how to adapt to a different bike and the tyres will be interesting for him to get used to. Obviously, the bike and team are capable and if he can get it all sorted out, I hope to see him fighting close to the front.”