A race of survival. Andrea Iannone has no doubts about what to expect tomorrow at 2 PM local, when the lights will go out at the GP of Barcelona start. In qualifying, the Italian rider took the fifth best time, despite his various difficulties stemming from the track.
“Doing any more than this was impossible – Andrea began – In the last few races I have been bringing home the maximum. Obviously, I want to be on the podium every Sunday, battling for the pole, but what counts is that we are improving and we are able to be competitive.”
The tyres will be the key.
“The tyres will deteriorate a lot in the race – he warned – Among other things, the medium, hard and soft are practically all very similar. Tomorrow morning we’ll decide which to choose, also because it will be important to assess track conditions. The problem is that when the tyres deteriorate, we really struggle.
Iannone is asked if the podium is within reach.
“It depends on the temperature – he admitted – When the track is cool, we have something more than the others. However, right now we are not podium material. Like I said, we are unable to manage the tyres because when they deteriorate, it conditions pace and going into corners. I think Michelin has done a great job – he added – but at the same time, I can say that even saving a few tenths of a second does not benefit the tyre. The tyres really tend to slide around here and I think it is a mechanical question.”
In short, the Montmelò round will be under the sign of survival.
“I think so – he reiterated – Here in Barcelona it is always like this. It will be a very hard and difficult race. The bike that manages tyre wear better can win on Sunday. Right now it looks like a Ducati-Honda duel. They are very competitive in this aspect. Besides, I would not underestimate the factory Ducati machines and Marquez.”
However, Iannone is not giving up.
“As I said, we are not podium material – he commented - The Ducatis are in form and so is Marquez, despite being at the limit. If it is cooler in the afternoon, I’ll be optimistic since in the morning I had an easier time in those conditions, whereas in the afternoon I struggled.”
The final comment concerns the rider contract market.
“Sometimes the rider market period arrives too soon – Andrea analysed – When you change everything, it is not simple. At the beginning, Suzuki and I were not a good match, but then this year we are meshing better. The fact is that when you decide to keep one rider instead of another, the rest has no purpose, like the podium finishes in Austin or Jerez. They should make a rule - two months of rider market during the summer break.”