A new year, a fresh start. Stefan Bradl starts over in Superbike. Having ended his Aprilia experience in the MotoGP championship, the German will flank Nicky Hayden on the Honda. He has a long road ahead of him, but he is confident.
What have you found so far in these new surroundings?
“I like the Superbike, it's more relaxed than MotoGP, because the atmosphere is more familial. We've completed initial testing, which proved positive, but there are some things to improve. It's a new adventure for me, I'm aware I have no time to lose. As we know, there are only two practice sessions in SBK on Friday, before the Superpole and race on Saturday, so you need to be ready”.
What are the differences between your new bike and the old one?
"This is clearly a much more powerful bike. With regard to the frame, it's difficult to make a comparison, I've not noticed any major differences. We had some problems with rear grip during the first exits, which we'll need to solve as soon as possible. The bike wasn't yet 100% during testing but we have to be ready in Australia”.
Do you think you'll return to MotoGP in the future?
“I'm not thinking ahead. Right now it's important to get close to the podium, knowing that it won't be easy considering the competition. The new Honda definitely has everything it needs to prove competitive. We need to work step by step to reach the front three positions. I'm not really interested in MotoGP right now”.
How different are the MotoGP and SBK?
“I'd say they're similar. There's no Rossi or Marquez, but there are other riders like Rea, Sykes and Melandri. The level of the bikes is very close to that of MotoGP”.
What pushed you into moving?
“There wasn't just one reason, but various things. I had the chance to stay in MotoGP, there was an opportunity with Avintia, but the proposals didn't interest me. i want to fight for the podium and this team offers me the chance of doing just that, without having to consider top ten as my only goal. It won't be easy, we have a lot of work to do, but I'm confident”.
2017 is the year of new things. What will you need to learn?
“Some of the tracks like Magny-Cours, Imola and Buri Ram, in that I've never raced there. Perhaps we'll test at Imola before the race. Then there's Portimao, another new track, despite the fact we've tested there”.