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SBK, Foti: "Ballast? Bautista and Ducati have a clear direction, no turning back."

"Once Alvaro has the right confidence, there are no other problems. Anyone who remembers Bulega's story knows that at 15 he was one of the best talents, and talent is not forgotten."

SBK: Foti:

Following two days of testing on the Barcelona track, for teams and riders it is now time to prepare for the second Round of the season, which will take place next weekend on the Montmeló track. An appointment in which the true values of the championship should begin to emerge, after a debut conditioned by the new asphalt at Phillip Island. This, at least, is the view of the team manager of Racing - Ducati, Serafino Foti, who in a chat with our Riccardo Guglielmetti spoke to us about what he expects from the Catalan round, in the light of what he saw in Australia. He also gave us his views on the surprising debut of Nicolò Bulega in Superbike and the renewal of Alvaro Bautista.

"The first Round was a bit strange because of the new asphalt, which completely changed the track conditions," Foti told us. " In the past there was no grip at Phillip Island, while now there was a lot and this, in my opinion, changed the values a bit. Let's say that Australia was a little bit distorted by the conditions, the pit stop, and everything, but I expect that in Barcelona we will see the real values."

Bulega has had an incredible impact with SBK. What changes between him and Rinaldi?
"It is the rider who has changed. Those who remember Bulega's history know that at 15 years old he was one of the best talents, and talent is not forgotten. He just has to fine-tune it and find serenity. Michael also went strong last year in Australia and finished second, but Nicolò did something incredible by winning his first race as a rookie. No one had ever done that. He will be a surprise to many but not to us, because we know his potential."

Will he be as effective even on circuits with less grip?
"I believe so, because he is talented and even last year he was strong everywhere. It's clear that there will be more or less favorable tracks, and I don't imagine him winning every race, although I wish him that. As I said, I am convinced that from Barcelona the values will become stable again and Alvaro will make a comeback, also because he already showed in the second heat at Phillip Island that he can win the race, but Bulega will still be competitive."

By stable values do you mean that Bautista will return to being the man to beat?
"We don't know that at the moment because he had difficulties in the winter, also struggling with his shoulder, and the one in Australia was the first Round in which he never had pain. The most important thing for us today is that he has the feeling with the bike, because if he has that he has no problem. I think already from Barcelona he will be much better."

Is everything resolved with the ballast as well? Have you found the final weight arrangement, there's no going back?
"Yes, that's the bike and the weights have been distributed. Of course, since they are not stable weights, we can always move them according to the characteristics or track conditions, but the weight always remains a function of how much the rider weighs. We put what we needed."

Bautista admitted that he will decide whether to renew when he is back to 100 percent. Giulio Nava told us that he thinks he will continue. What do you think?
"I know Alvaro, I have shared so many things with him in the last few years, and everything will depend on his enjoyment riding the bike. He has achieved all his goals, he has won a lot and let's say that now he doesn't have the torment of becoming World Champion. He will continue if he has fun on the bike. If, on the other hand, he were to see that he starts to struggle and is no longer having fun, then he will probably stop. On a physical level he looks like a kid, even though he is almost 40 years old, so I think if he continues to have fun he will continue. We always welcome him with open arms, however, the decision is in his hands and we will accept either choice."

In case he does not continue, do you already have a replacement in mind?
"As of today there is no possible replacement. There may be many possible candidates, but the first choice for us is Alvaro. We will make decisions based on what his choice will be. It all depends on him."

Why did you decide to field Michele Pirro in the Barcelona tests?
"We had to move forward some things at the development level, and it seemed appropriate to bring Michele, who is a great test rider."

What is there still to improve on this bike for the near future?
"Right now the bike is still the most competitive. As in all things, there are small details that we develop to improve more and more, but there is no specific element to work on because the bike works well. However, if I have to say a little something in which we need to improve, at Phillip Island I noticed that BMW, Honda and Kawasaki have improved a lot in top speed, while we stayed about the performance of last year."


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