The last weekend of the 2022 CIV Superbike season is decisive for Michele Pirro, in the lead at the end of the first official qualifying session on Friday (read the report HERE). 36 points clear of Alessandro Delbianco, the Barni Spark Racing Team rider will try to win the ninth Italian title of his career in the double race scheduled at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola. A historic result, which would allow him to overtake Carlo Ubbiali and Walter Villa (on eight) and to become the third most successful rider in the history of the Italian Championship.
“I'm happy, we are at Imola, such a fascinating track. I have to try to stay focused until the end to bring home my ninth career title in CIV - admitted the Ducati tester - there are two races on the schedule, today we proved to be competitive. I'm ready to fight to the best of my ability and write another page of history ".
Looking back, who is the toughest opponent faced in CIV? Where do you place Delbianco in a hypothetical ranking?
“Every year there have always been at least 1-2 riders who have helped to make the competition more exciting. As he is a young rider, I rank Delbianco very high because his age must also be considered, while in the past I have had to fight mainly against my peers. As for age, the battle against him is similar to the one I had against Ferrari or Savadori. Young riders keep me busy and are a stimulus to always stay on the ball ".
Have you metabolized the disappointment of Mugello?
“Race 1 was particular as we didn't have any kind of benchmark with the Dunlops in the wet and I made a couple of mistakes, I have to accept that despite my experience. In Race 2, however, the bike broke down. These are races, the important thing is to look ahead and not get discouraged. That’s what I did after the crash after 300 meters in my MotoGP wild card at Misano, where I knew I could have a good race ”.
Regardless of how this weekend goes, Pirro has already achieved his greatest victory, becoming a father: do you now feel more empowered?
“It still makes a certain effect to hear the word father (laughs). I have to get used to it because it's been a short time since my daughter was born. I feel a certain emotion, but I have not felt any changes on a psychological level. I continue to be a rider and when I get home I'm happy to be able to hug her. I have started a new career, I hope to be as good as I have been on a motorcycle (he jokes). Did Enzo Ferrari say that drivers would lose a second a lap once they became parents? In MotoGP and Superbike many riders are still strong. Look at Espargarò, Vinales, Rea or until recently Dovizioso. Habits change, but when you are on the track, you enter a world apart. If you start thinking too much about your family and children, it means that the time has come to stop ”.
On this matter, Pirro couldn’t resist a comment ...
"At the moment I think it's easier to race and do a quick lap than to change a diaper."
Would you like to try your hand at new disciplines like Petrucci did this year?
“Petrucci comes from motocross and in fact he put up a good show in the Dakar, while in MotoGP everything became more complicated for him due to the weight. Nowadays, talent in motorcycling is no longer enough. However, I am happy with the path I have made. I've tried virtually all the bikes, it's just a pity that Ducati didn't design a model for the Dakar (he jokes) ”.
Have you recently talked with Bagnaia? What season finale do you expect in MotoGP?
“Last Monday we met and talked. As you know, at Ducati we have been chasing the world title for several years. From a certain point of view, it is as if the real championship starts from Australia, where Pecco will have to manage various situations. We have probably the best bike of the lot, but the races are always unpredictable. Pecco crashed in Japan, while Quartararo didn't score points in Thailand. Now they are separated by two points, better than expected then. You have to stay focused, there are a lot of fast riders. Quartararo should not be underestimated, without forgetting Espargarò. Things get difficult from now on”.
Photo credit: Salvatore Annarumma