Home rounds always have a special flavour. This weekend it’s up to the Italians to feel the support of their fans, the Superbike world championship stops at Misano for the usual appointment that opens the summer season. The race weekend on the Romagna Riviera is one of the most eagerly awaited by enthusiasts and above all by the drivers, who will be looking for the best possible result in front of their own people.
One of these is Axel Bassani, a great protagonist of the championship and still hunting for his first success. In view of the Misano round, Motorsport.com met the Motocorsa team rider, who told us about his expectations of the weekend, opening up on various aspects of racing and showing Bassani at 360 degrees.
Hi Axel, first of all how are you?
“Good, come on. I feel good, I’m happy to have finally arrived at Misano. It’s my home track, we needed it especially after the Barcelona weekend which made me go home a little tired. Now I’ve recovered a bit and so I’m fine”.
What did you do in these weeks off?
“The week after Barcelona we came here to do two days of testing. Instead last week I trained practically every day, but I recharged my batteries well. I needed to stay at home for a while and get away for a bit”.
Especially from a mental point of view after Barcelona. But now comes Misano, which in terms of expectations is certainly challenging…
“Misano is beautiful, because you’re at home, you want to do well. You have pressure, but it’s good pressure. You see your family, you’re close to home…then you’re in a nice place, because Misano is still close to the sea. It’s good, it’s fun.”
You mentioned positive pressure. Could she be the one to help you add that little piece that you are still missing to your palmarès?
“In my opinion, winning is a bit difficult now with Bautista. Unless something happens to him, it’s not easy to beat him, because I think he’s on another level than everyone else. He quietly gives 10 seconds per second in all races. He is good and manages forces better than all the others. But according to me second or third is within our reach. We’re not far away, we’re at a good level and let’s see if we can do something more at Misano, especially me with the bike.”
Do you have a way of “stealing” some secrets from Alvaro, riding a motorcycle that is in any case quite similar?
“Yes, the bike is similar and we can see the riding style because we have access to the data. But it’s a riding style that not only me, but also Michael (Rinaldi, ed) and Danilo (Petrucci, ed) have tried. But it doesn’t work for us. We keep insisting that we have to drive like this, we try, but it doesn’t work. I don’t know, maybe it will be for the weight, or that he does it better. But it doesn’t give us a benefit, so we get back on our way and ride as we please. Obviously there are points where you can grasp it, but it’s difficult to copy his riding style.”
Axel Bassani, Motocorsa Racing
Photo by: Motocorsa Racing
Speaking of weight… the question of the minimum weight has been on the scene since last year and has divided many riders in the paddock
“In my opinion, in a category like MotoGP, weight doesn’t make much of a difference because there’s a tire that has a stiff casing, there’s a lot of power and you don’t feel the difference in weight so much. Here in Superbike the bikes weigh more, the carcass is softer so you suffer when there’s a lot of weight. Alvaro, on the other hand, weighs little and it’s as if the bike were running on empty. So he doesn’t put the tires in crisis and that’s where he makes the difference. He manages to do the fast lap in the 15th lap while the others are there to manage because they have none left. It is something that is more noticeable on the tyres”.
So the key factor in weight is the rubber
“Yes. We too will want to push, but if we push like he does, we get to the tenth lap which is the end of the race. From the 11th, 12th lap onwards we have to start managing, but he pushes a little more and keeps up with his pace. But we can’t do it right now.”
In this sense, however, it can become favorable for you to work on the Superpole Race, having only 10 laps.
“Yes, but we are not strong either on the flying lap or in the short races (he laughs, ed). But yes, in fact, if you look at the Superpole Races, they are the only occasions in which Rea or Razgatlioglu have managed to stay ahead of Alvaro. You can do 10 laps without the pressure to handle then you can screw him. But it’s tough, because he has a really fast pace. While you are 110%, he is still 95%. So you can run into a mistake, while he can’t”.
If you still have to improve one lap and the short race, what is the aspect in which you feel you have improved instead?
“In my opinion, I’ve improved on my work inside the garage. But there is still much to do. Even when I’m on the track, I can feel more relaxed, I manage race situations more without getting caught or making any mistakes. I feel like I have more in hand what I can do. I know how far I can go, I know my limits. Maybe many times I stop a little earlier, while maybe before I was a little at the mercy. I feel safer than a few years ago.”
Stay connected to Motorsport.com for the second part of the interview with Axel Bassani