Michael Ruben Rinaldi ended the weekend at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao with a smile. The Aruba.it Racing Ducati rider scored his ninth podium of the season with third place in Race 2 behind the elusive Alvaro Bautista and Toprak Razgatlioglu. Following up on the excellent form of his last outings (one victory and three podium finishes in nine races), the rider from Rimini made up for the unfortunate day on Saturday.
“Sometimes it can happen, the important thing is not to get discouraged like I did today. For the simple reason that these were episodes that did not depend on us – the #21 said - first in qualifying we had the potential to set the second quickest time and start from the front row if my best lap had not been cancelled due to the yellow flags, then in Race 1 I had to retire early due to a technical problem on the Panigale V4 R while I was recovering."
This result confirmed how good his potential was on the ups and downs of the Portuguese circuit: “This morning we limited the damage in the Superpole Race, we couldn't go beyond sixth position with just a few laps available. For Race 2 I maintained a positive spirit, because I was aware of our pace."
While Bautista and Razgatlioglu staged a fantastic battle, Rinaldi tried to fuel his personal hopes of victory: “Once I got to the podium area, the gap between the two of them was already a second and a half. With Toprak in front I managed to recover, but with Alvaro dictating the pace there was nothing left I could do. At that point I concentrated on riding and maintaining the tyres, I didn't want Gerloff to get close."
And he reassured regarding any team orders: “I knew that Alvaro would bring an end to the battle for the championship with 25 points and Toprak third at the finish line. However, if on the last lap I had had the chance to overtake him and win the race, I would have done it. The team reassured me, obviously I just didn’t have to overdo it."
While waiting for the end of the season scheduled for the end of the month in Jerez de la Frontera, the rumours regarding Rinaldi's future continue to be insistent, yet are still to be written: "I consider it strange that a rider who wins races, who often fights for the podium, is without a seat. Even more so if you consider that lately I have been the only rider outside of those three (Bautista, Razgatlioglu and Rea, ed.) to achieve at least one success. I have been made offers without salary, the mechanics yes and me no... and yet, unlike some, I’m not asking for 1 million euros. If anything, something notable in line with my abilities. If I find the right situation I will race again in 2024, otherwise this might be my last season. We'll see!", He replied, fuelling the doubts.