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Eazi Grip

Podium for Andrea Iannone and Team Go Eleven in Barcelona

Friday 

First day in the books from the Catalunya Round; positive start for Andrea Iannone and Team Go Eleven who achieved sixth place in both Friday sessions, focusing their work on race pace. Different feelings, however, from the morning and the afternoon, without major changes in the set-up of the Ducati Panigale V4-R.

FP 1 proved to be a rather positive session, the rider from Vasto managed to consistently lap on 41, without pushing too hard to look for the laptime, the goal was rather to evaluate the 900 rear tyre over the long distance. The feedback was good, some small adjustments were necessary to try to find more grip and the tyre comparison was moved to the afternoon.

Free Practice 1: 
P 1   T. Razgatlioglu   1.41.199
P 2   M. Van Der Mark   + 0.046
P 3   J. Rea   + 0.201

P 6   A. Iannone   + 0.298

In FP 2 Andrea’s feeling proved to be worse than in the session that ended a few hours earlier. A first outing with the 900 placed him in the top six places, but he was not very consistent in replicating the laps; the second attempt with the SCX tyre, indicated as the best performing among the “raceable” ones, provided slower but stable laptimes over the distance. At the end of the session the number 29 said he wasn’t very satisfied with the afternoon, trying to analyze the data together with the team to identify the differences compared to the morning. Overall, however, a good session, finishing in the Top 6. The second sector, the weak point so far here at Montmelò, needs to be improved for Saturday; most of the gap from the top is accumulated precisely from turns 3 to 5.

Free Practice 2:
P 1   N. Bulega   1.40.907
P 2   A. Bautista   + 0.247
P 3   D. Petrucci   + 0.601

P 6   A. Iannone   + 0.971

Andrea Iannone (Rider): 

“This morning we were very fast, I had a good feeling with the bike and I was very excited, but this afternoon, despite having the same bike set-up and the same tyres, the performance was completely different. We lost grip, the bike wasn’t turning well and it was difficult to keep up. There were not big changes between the morning and the afternoon and yet the results were very different, this gives me less stability but it’s also interesting. The data collected will be analyzed in the next few hours by engineers who will try to understand and find an explanation for what happened. It’s difficult to make a prediction about what will happen in the race, we certainly won’t give up, we’ll move forward and continue to do our best, then we’ll see!”

Saturday

Tyres, tyres, tyres… in the Barcelona paddock there has been talk of nothing else since the first day of testing. As predicted yesterday, tyre management for the 20 laps of the race influenced the result. Andrea was able to achieve an excellent front row in Superpole, fully exploiting the potential of the SCQ, then over the distance he tried to “accompany” the Pirellis with great kindness until the finish line, but did not obtain the desired results. Just in the final laps, Bautista overtook Andrea Iannone, taking third position. A race, however, solid and consistent, the first real long race since returning to racing, fourth place and best independent team at the finish line!

In the first round the Go Eleven team tested the SCQ, the Superpole tire for the 10 laps of the Superpole Race, obtaining encouraging data which will be useful on Sunday. The problems of yesterday afternoon seem to have been resolved and the good feeling with the Panigale has returned.

Free Practice 3: 
P 1   D. Aegerter  1.40.695
P 2   D. Petrucci   + 0.121
P 3   A. Locatelli   + 0.263
P 4   R. Gardner   + 0.294
P 5   A. Iannone   + 0.400

In Superpole, the rider from Vasto was able to make the most of both time attack attempts; perfect track position, excellent references, best lap in 1.39.7, better than the all-time record in Barcelona. Toprak and Bulega were able to be more explosive, but it’s important to hit the front row to enjoy an excellent starting position. Truly a round full of tension and suspense, which, so far, Andrea has shown he knows how to face well. Third place, track (almost) clear when the green light goes off!

Superpole:
P 1   T. Razgatlioglu  1.39.489
P 2   N. Bulega   + 0.102
P 3   A. Iannone   + 0.310

In Race 1 Andrea used the strategy of waiting and going easy on the tyres; for the first twelve laps he always stayed in the top three positions, keeping pace with Toprak. Towards the middle of the race Bulega tried to force the pace by taking a large lead; number 29 maintained his own rythm, then when he could have pushed, both the front and rear dropped drastically, forcing him to defend himself, bringing home excellent points and a good result for the whole team. Maybe, now it could be said that he could have attacked from the start, having a similar drop at the end… but speaking at the end of the race is much more easy. The data collected today, and the experience gained, will be helpful for tomorrow. The weather on Sunday in Catalonia predicts lower temperatures and a slight risk of rain. For now, it’s time to analyze the data and find some small solutions during the evening!

Race 1: 
P 1   T. Razgatlioglu   34’19.817
P 2   N. Bulega   + 0.868
P 3   A. Bautista   + 5.338
P 4   A. Iannone   + 8.543

Andrea Iannone (Rider): 

“I’m happy with the qualifying we did, it was important to be able to start on the front row and we did it. Here in Montmelò it was my first long race, twenty laps, after many years. The conditions of this circuit, which have always been critical , they taught me that waiting to push was useless. I could have gone faster straight away but I preferred to wait to push so as not to wear the tyres excessively. When on the twelfth lap I wanted to give my all I realized that the tyres anyway they weren’t there and at that point I lost the initial speed. We’ll understand what strategy to get tomorrow with this awareness. Despite the effort it was very good, we came close to the podium, naturally we’re not satisfied, but I think it’s a good starting point!”

Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):

“I’m happy with Andrea because this was his really first long race and in difficult conditions due to the great tyre drop that occurs on this track. He managed the race in the best possible way, taking the maximum, he used the throttle gently, to try to save the tyre and we came close to the podium. I think he proved to be smart and fast again. We continue to work and improve, we continue to understand more and more what Andrea needs and he certainly needs to do km to better understand bike and tyres. We’re having fun so let’s continue in this way!”

Sunday

Sunday, as already happened in the opening round, turns out to be an ups and downs of emotions for Team Go Eleven and Andrea Iannone. A stunning performance in the Superpole Race, fighting like a lion and finishing in second place, just 75 thousandths from victory. Then, in Race 2, closed the front, with no consequences for the bike and the rider, the number twenty-nine was out from the fight for the podium.

The WorldSBK circus woke up under rain in Barcelona, with rather cool temperatures. Warm Up skipped by most riders due to mixed and unhelpful conditions.

It is at 11.00 local time that one of the best races of the recent WorldSBK history starts. Every lap something happened, an attack, several overtakings, creating an unbelievable show. Andrea took advantage of the good feeling with the qualifying tyre, immediately taking the lead and always remaining within the Top 3. The battle with Bulega was tough and clean, the two did not hold back, however allowing Bautista and Toprak to come back. On the last lap, in the last corner, the BMW Turkish rider performs a spectacular overtake that forces Bautista to raise the bike again; Iannone took advantage of the Spaniard right at the finish line and takes second place! Podium, front row defence for race 2 and above all the condition in which he seemed to “have the bike in his hand”. Race to watch and watch again!

SP Race: 
P 1   T. Razgatlioglu  16’58.029
P 2   A. Iannone   + 0.075
P 3   A. Bautista   + 0.260

In Race 2, an excellent start once again, and Andrea entered the top places right from the start. This time, given yesterday’s tyre drop, the team opted for the SCX compound, with some small adjustments in terms of set-up. The duels with Toprak are always beautiful and exciting, with braking and raised rear wheels. The Ducati Aruba duo takes a small gap, while the numbers 54 and 29 keeps waiting, always keeping contact with the front. From mid-race onwards the Ducati Go Eleven stabilized the pace at 42 medium/high, closing the gap with third place tenth to tenth. With seven laps to go, in turn 10, Andre lost the front and the race ends. A crash without consequences, it’s right to try when you’re just a breath away from the podium. The changes made perhaps improved some areas, making the feeling with the front tyre a little worse. More important, however, is to have showed that we are constantly battling with the best on all the tracks we have ridden so far. And we are only at the beginning, the relationship between the Panigale V4-R and Andrea Iannone is still building.

Race 2: 
P 1   A. Bautista   34’12.160
P 2   N. Bulega   + 2.041
P 3   T. Razgatlioglu   + 7.005

DNF   A. Iannone

WorldSBK stops for almost a month, next stop means with history; TT-Circuit Assen will host Round 03, 19-21 April. Team Go Eleven leaves Catalunya ready and excited, aware that it’s possible fight at the top, but with still some work to get the final details. It’s easy to be at the top, and this year the Championship is more open than ever; everything can change from one race to another.

Andrea Iannone (Rider): 

“This morning it was nice to battle with all the strongest riders in this championship, I had a lot of fun. We certainly still need to calibrate ourselves better regarding the long race. In the short race, with certain types of tyres, I can be much more strong, while in the long race, however, yesterday I struggled a lot, today we tried to slightly modify the balance of the bike but, in my opinion, the changes in these small details made the situation a little worse. We still had to take risks to make steps ahead of yesterday. The team will process the data collected, we certainly have more information to try to review and better understand some aspects. However, I am happy with how we started the championship and the results we are obtaining, it’s not easy at all. We are doing an excellent job, even when you make mistakes you have to accept it and look forward. The goal is to try to do your best. I thank, as always, Ducati and Team Go Eleven.”

Denis Sacchetti (Team Manager):

“In the Superpole Race these four “crazy guys” gave us a fantastic race from the first to the last lap, and Andrea showed all his determination. Well done! Unfortunately in race 2 he crashed, he tried to get another podium… but it’s racing. This is our second weekend together, I think we are not 100% yet, we have some important aspects to improve, we are gaining experience together, us with him and him with this bike and tyres. We are however happy because the impression is that there is room for improvement, furthermore after Australia it was important for us to confirm ourselves at the top. Thanks to the whole Team for the great work and commitment shown so far!”

Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2024 in News

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