Simultaneously with the World Grand Prix Racing Championship round at the Circuit Of The Americas, the first round of the American MotoAmerica championship is underway, the series set up and organized by three-time 500 world champion Wayne Rainey, on its third edition from 2015 to the present.
Among the protagonists in the Superbike category, the absence of Claudio Corti stands out after his outstanding 2016 season astride an Aprilia RSV4 Superstock, just barely missing the final title. Claudio has the technical qualities and experience needed to be a strong contender, but he will be forced to begin the season in Virginia at the third round in May: “We will start from the third race - Corti revealed - Budget problems forced me and the HSBK team to forego the first two rounds on the calendar. The problem? The Superbike class has higher costs than Superstock.”
Will Aprilia follow you officially?
“My bike is super competitive. The team is private and supported by the American Piaggio headquarters. I will be the only rider from the Italian manufacturer. Suzuki and Yamaha have increased their commitment to MotoAmerica and if I were able to do some tests, I could stay out front and make a play for it with Beaubier, Elias and the rest."
The Aprilia RSV4 machines are struggling in World SBK. Why?
“I wonder why Mercado, in his début at Aragon with the 2016 model, was faster than Laverty with the most recent version. Probably, the extra year with Iodaracing and the Aprilia bikes helped him to collect information and get to know the bike. Team Milwaukee (which has changed three bikes in three seasons: Yamaha, BMW and Aprilia) still needs to figure out the secrets of the RSV4, which is not at all an easy thing to do.”
What are your predictions for the 2017 SBK season?
“Kawasaki has stayed at the top, but Ducati has made the most progress. At Aragon, Davies could have taken the double and Melandri is also always competitive and manages to stay at the front. I am glad to see an Italian that fast. It has been a while since there has been a character like that in SBK.”
The person missing from SBK is you…
“Yes but… I’ll be at Laguna Seca. As I said, I will begin the MotoAmerica championship in May and my team has registered me as a wild card in the July race. If all the planets align, you’ll see me on the World Superbike starting grid.”