Taking a step back to move forward. This seems to be Raffaele De Rosa's motto ahead of next season. With his BMW experience in Superbike having come to an end, the Italian will start over in SuperSport in 2018, on board team Vamag's MV Agusta. A category in which Raffaele will prepare his plan of attack for a return to the top class.
It's a big jump from Superbike to SuperSport.
“That's true. Last week I carried out my first test with the MV Agusta at Cartagena and it was really strange to see the difference in engine compared to the Superbike. It's a new adventure and I'm pleased to be in this category, as I wasn't enjoying myself any more in the reigning class”.
An MV under the tree is not a bad Christmas present.
“I can say that MV Agusta has helped me get my smile back – reveals De Rosa – this is a bike that I've always followed. I think it's a real race bike, very fast through the turns even if it's a little stiff at the front”.
How did this opportunity with MV come about?
“We spoke for the first time over the Magny-Cours weekend– recalls the Italian – I had other offers on the table, but this was the most interesting proposal. The bike is Italian, the rider too (he jokes) so I think we make a good pairing”.
And you're sharing the garage with Badovini.
“It's true, Ayrton and I will have chance to build a relationship during the championship and I'm sure that he too will be out to prove his speed”.
You mentioned your debut ride at Cartagena. What were your first impressions?
“I completed about 80 laps and was finally able to enjoy myself again – he continues - this is what struck me most. Of course the difference in engine is strange, but I found the bike handled well and I'm convinced that it has the potential to do well”.
After your Stock title win and adventure in SBK, is the championship win your goal?
“The aim is to complete great races and be competitive each weekend, fighting for the podium. This is definitely the priority”.
There are many contenders for race wins. Mahias is the reigning champion but Sofuoglu will be hungry. Are you worried about Kenan?
“I really respect Sofuoglu, but he doesn't scare me. I expect him to be up front, just like Mahias and a few others, including Krummenacher. It will be a good fight”.
Last year, the Superbike championship proved dull at times, while SuperSport offered some thrilling battles. Could the 600 class become more interesting in terms of the show?
“I think so – comments Raffaele - also because the new Superbike regulations won't really change things in terms of the field. I don't see any major changes. While in our category there is a level playing field and many riders fighting for the win”.
What do you miss about Superbike?
“The experience with BMW was important in terms of my growth and I'll always be grateful to Genesio Bevilacqua for the support he provided. I'll miss many of the people, those who surrounded me, and they all know this. I'm pleased though because I've immediately found very capable, well-prepared people in MV”.
Why didn't you race at the Ranch last weekend?
“Valentino had invited me– he reveals - but I was busy testing and couldn't get organised in time. I'm sorry but we'll see each other for a training session soon”.
Final question - how is your training with Kent going?
“Danny and I now train together. He's a great guy, he loves to laugh and joke, he's here in Naples until Christmas eve and will come back again in January. He too wants to make a comeback next season. Can I add something?
“I really want to thank my family for having supported me over the years, and also my trainer Arturo Di Mezza, who follows me and ensurs consistent training. In 2018 I would like to repay them for what they've done for me."