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SBK, Pirro: "More than Marquez, I'm curious to try the Ducati 850 of the future"

"At 38 years of age, it's not a weekend like Misano that changes your career. I just want to have fun, and I race without ambition. Iannone? I was one of the few who believed in him, and I bet on his podium at Phillip Island. Marquez is very attentive and follows what we do."

SBK: Pirro:

Five years later, Michele is at it again. In fact, the Ducati test rider will be at the start of the Misano round of the Superbike as a wildcard. The last time for him was with on Barni's Panigale V4. This time, we'll be seeing him on the test team's Rossa.

The day before the start of the Riviera round, Michele told us about his expectations for the weekend.

"It's certainly nice to be back in the World SBK," he began. "I'm five years older than I was in 2019, but I know the Ducati is very competitive, considering that it  won two titles in a row with Bautista. I'll be racing this weekend without any expectations or ambitions, but just to have fun because, at thirty-eight years of age, a race doesn't change your career anymore, like it could have ten years ago. So I'm curious to see what the numbers on the track will be, and I'll try to give it my all and have a good weekend."

Michele, how far have you gotten with the development of the Panigale?
"During these thirteen years with Ducati, I figured out that there are cycles and regulations. This project has grown, year by year, considering that you're more limited here than the competition. Also, there are limitations. It's clear that the competition isn't just sitting back and watching and, as a result, the bar has been raised. In Barcelona, just to give you an example, I was impressed by BMW's effort, which seems to be a sort of KTM team in the MotoGP."

What can Pirro do to help Aruba and the other teams?
"I'm obviously trying to figure out how to improve, but then there are limitations due to the regulations and the factory bike. At a regulation level, I think there will be an adjustment in relation to what happens in the MotoGP, with the arrival of the 850. So there will have to be a downgrade, since the current Superbikes are very close to the MotoGP, and some parameters, like electronics, are even more precise than a prototype. So we'll see how we're going to have to move."

Were you more surprised by Iannone's performance or Bulega's?
"I was one of those few who believed in Iannone. He certainly has great talent. I had Andrea ride the first Ducati V4 last year, and I wasn't surprised by his performance. In fact, I bet the podium in Australia with him. Bulega impressed me a lot at the tests at the end of 2023, and I was impressed with the way he rode the Panigale. Surely, winning at the first race isn't a given."

Iannone is at the center of the SBK market. What advice would you like to give him?
"I'd tell him to have fun and make the choice that makes him happiest. He just has to do something that allows him to be happy."

What about Marquez?
"Marc is very attentive. He follows what we do, and it's going to be a good challenge in 2025, since we have two top champions on the team. More than anything, I'd like to see the new 850 era. I'm curious to try the Ducati 850 of the future."


Translated by Leila Myftija

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