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SBK, Iannone is back: "I would even ride at night with headlights, incredible desire"

"Today I just thought about having fun, I really like the Ducati SBK. The limit is high and this is nice. The interest in me is nice but it's also a responsibility"

SBK: Iannone is back:

Andrea Iannone is finally back on a racing bike and he did it today in Jerez for the first SBK test. The new adventure with the GoEleven Ducati began with a benchmark of 1m41.922s. Read like this, without knowing what is behind this figure, it might seem disappointing, but the reality is very different. Andrea only completed around twenty laps today before the rain interrupted his test, he only used the hardest tyre made available by Pirelli and was certainly not chasing quick times.

But the quick time arrived anyway and it is above all his smile at the end of the first day that reassures us and convinces us that we can confidently say that The Maniac is back. Talent is not lost, that innate propensity to throw your heart over the obstacle has not been lost in these 4 years and Iannone is still a sight to behold on a motorbike. Of course, he has to regain those automatisms that he will need to really push to the limit, but if a good day starts in the morning, we can easily write that Andrea's adventure in SBK has started very well.

"We need more time to understand many things for sure - commented Iannone - but my sensations on getting back on a real racing bike are certainly good. I didn't expect anything different, but I know that it will be difficult to return to a really high performance level. But now I just want to enjoy the bike, the tyres, understand everything as best as possible. Today, however, we really didn't have much time."

It was your first time on a Ducati in SBK configuration.

"I've always only tried production bikes, just to have fun, but not a lot. I think that today the conditions when we started were a little critical. In some corners it was damp, but it's also different compared to the past. I remember that it used to dry out earlier here in Jerez, or at least I remember that. The feelings were good, the first general impression was really good. Tomorrow maybe with the sun it will be more interesting, I will get more information and be able to push harder. Today I used only hard tyres, I didn't have to push."

Are you still sure about your choice of GoEleven?

"It's a good compromise in my opinion. We have had a nice package from Ducati and Go Eleven is a good team, in my opinion this was my best option to return. I had several options on the table, but I wanted to return with Ducati. I have excellent relations with them and I think it's important for me, given that I've been away from racing for many years. I see it as a good choice."

What did you want from this day?

"Just to have fun, that's all. The only realistic goal for me is this."

You have aroused enormous interest, are you happy about this?

"I am certainly very pleased that there is interest in me, that there are also important expectations. On the one hand it’s nice, but also a big responsibility. I already see everyone there to see what I do, I know that in this world there's no patience. But it's nice to feel all this warmth and closeness from the fans. I hope I can do something good and nice and maybe bring people closer to this championship, it's one of our goals."

As a first impact, does SBK seem tough to you?

"I can't yet judge how easy or difficult it is. I've only done 20 laps in a critical situation and I know that it will already be difficult for me to get back on the bike. Just imagine everything else... it's difficult to make judgements, I'm never even on the track in equal conditions with the others. I'm not yet at the right level to compete against them. In my opinion, SBK is not easy at all, nor is any type of racing. They are always difficult. Otherwise it would have just been called fun, but if you want to get some results in this sport you require commitment, you have to work a lot. We’ll see, we shouldn't have any expectations or rush things. Being calm is the important thing. I think Ducati has done an excellent job and I like the bike, as a first impression it's a beautiful bike. I haven't ridden racing bikes for a long time, so it seems like the limit is a long way from where I am now and that's a good thing."

How did you feel in the garage this morning?

"I'm sincere, even when I don't speak you can tell from my face what I feel. I was happy to be here. The only thing I'm a little disappointed about is having wasted this day because of the rain, I hope tomorrow it will improve. I've waited a long time for this moment and it's not the best. But that's OK. Because of the desire I have to lap, I'd turn on the headlights and stay on the track. But I know it's like this and it’s great just being here."

Do you like working with the guys at GoEleven?

"Everything is really nice in GoEleven. I'm happy, it was a thoughtful choice and I think it's an adequate team at an important level, which can aim to do certain things. As with all new things there are things to improve and we will do so. But we are at a good point, we have time between now and the first race. The important thing is that on a human level I met some really nice, humble people. It's a family, a very nice atmosphere. I hope we can have fun and give them something that maybe they never had. I would like to give them something. I'm happy with them."

From a physical preparation point of view, how do you feel?

"You can never be too prepared, but if there's one thing I've never stopped doing, it's training. I'm ready for anything, but I have to wait. I'm ready on my own, with the bike we have to complete everything. It takes a some time and kilometres but that’s OK".

And from a mental one?

"From a mental point of view I am calm and happy to be here. I am older and more mature than before and this counts for a lot. Maybe I have even aged, 4 years is a long time. But we are here".

Do you feel free now?

"As I entered the track I just thought about having fun. Just fun. After the first race I'll know if I'm free or stuck."

 


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