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SBK, Canepa: Suzuka? As if I'd won at Mugello

"The past? I've already turned the page. Next season is already on my mind, doing it again would be fantastic, but also complicated" 

SBK: Canepa: Suzuka? As if I'd won at Mugello

Niccolò Canepa won't easily forget the Suzuka weekend. The Italian rider topped off the perfect World Endurance season, taking the title in Japan. Now the GMT94 rider is enjoyed some holiday time but will be back on track in a month's time, preparing for the new season.

It couldn't have gone any better could it Niccolò?

“For sure, such a great feeling that I'll hold in my heart forever. I have to say that after the victory, the celebrations, the compliments, the hardest thing was going home”.

How come? The effects of alcohol?

No, definitely not (he smiles). We missed the plane – he reveals - as there was a seven hour tailback on the motorway due to an accident, so it was a tough journey. Despite the problems though, we definitely took time to celebrate the win”.

Let's back up a step. You showed right from Friday that you had a little extra with respect to team SERT.

“Exactly, we were consistent and fast at the same time, but in the race it all became more complicated. Firstly due to the rain and then there's the mental aspect”.

How much of an effect does that have?

When you need to manage a race and can't afford to take any risks, there are a lot of things to think about -he explains –when you go out on track to win, you only have that to focus on. I think that on Sunday we had the pace to stick with the top six but there was no point pushing”.

De Rosa made a mistake for example.

Raffaele started strong, he was in front of me, and then he crashed. Over time, experience in Endurance teaches you to manage the races, you hold back from going straight on the attack and aim for consistency”.

How did SERT lose the championship?

Rather than SERT, I'd say the real battle was with Yamaha YART. Suzuki struggled this season while YART was a constant thorn in our side, making it an uphill climb for us, despite them being behind in the championship. We were aware of our potential though, and knew we could win the title”.

Really?

“There was real confidence within the team after the three consecutive wins. Of course, there was tension too, particularly the night before the race and in the last hour".

Suzuka is a legendary track. How was it to celebrate in front of 80,000 spectators?

“Something unique, like I'd won at Mugello”.

We guess you received a lot of messages after the race. Any that particularly struck you?

“I was pleased to receive messages from the Yamaha bosses, but especially from Kevin Schwantz. Sunday evening we were at dinner in the same restaurant and he came over to our table. It was a great moment".

Does this victory cancel out the problems of the past?

“I've already turned the page with regard to my past – he comments  - of course not everyone is going to like me, but at the same time there are those who are close to me”.

Now for some holidays and then you're back for the Bol d’Or.

“Exactly, I'll relax and then I'll be back on the bike with the aim of consolidating my performance. I think it would be the greatest thing, but also the toughest”.

Translated by Heather Watson

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