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SBK, Michele Pirro: "After the wild card at Misano I had nightmares."

"I'm glad I got good feelings back at Mugello, because I thought I was becoming senile. I can't say the crashes are related to the fact that I learned I was again going to be a dad, although the one on Saturday morning..."

SBK: Michele Pirro:

It can be said that this Round at Mugello of the CIV Superbike was more than providential for Michele Pirro after the difficulties encountered last weekend in Misano, where the 38-year-old Apulian took to the track to run a wild card race, the first in five years, in World Superbike. It was a weekend that did not go according to plan however for Pirro, who had as many as four crashes over the weekend on the Romagna Riviera. A real nightmare from which he managed to wake up already on the first day of action in the Tuscan hills, where he returned to doing one of the things he does best: putting the Ducati of the Barni Spark Racing team in front of everyone.

"I haven't ridden at Mugello since the end of August 2023, since it wasn't our track for MotoGP testing this year, and it was nice to come back and rediscover some of the sensations I missed in Misano over the SBK weekend ," Michele told us. " I thought I was becoming senile, because I crashed three times during practice, never finding my footing, and I was a little disappointed. Also because I didn't expect it, I wasn't looking for the limit, however, not knowing well the tires, the automatisms and everything, in a single race you can also find that."

What were the biggest difficulties you encountered?
"I was a bit destabilized by the fact that, having lapped with the MotoGP the week before, the grip I found when I went in with the SBK was completely different and the bike behaved totally differently. I didn't have time to adapt and I couldn't do the maneuvers I'm used to. Then, crashing in all three practice sessions, you lose confidence and have a hard time readjusting in such a short time. I went through qualifying in slow motion and all the races trying not to take risks. The only one I took after FP3 was in Race 2 to attack Lowes and I crashed for the fourth time. It's a pity, that I was not able to take advantage of my potential and the potential of the bike, but with little time to spare, and three crashes in practice, the weekend was gone. I also got the news on Friday that I have another daughter on the way, and I can't say I crashed because of that, since it had already happened twice, although the one on Saturday morning.... (laughs ed.)."

Bautista also struggled in Misano and said that in his opinion the Panigale has now reached the limit of its development. Do you agree?
"Well, let's say that he encountered a bit of the same problems as me. We come from the same era, we are the same age, and we have a little bit the same feelings. It's clear that he knows the bike better, but the sensations and limitations are what he pointed out. However, we have the advantage that Bulega is able to make up for these limitations with his smooth riding style and has managed to be a protagonist in the last few races. However, this is not enough right now, because with Toprak being a phenomenon, and BMW pushing because it is its only championship, it is obvious and evident that we have to try to find solutions to allow Alvaro to be less on the limit. However, this is also part of the sport: in recent years we have dominated, so it may be okay for us to be chasing right now, but we are equipped to do it."

Do you think that not being able to battle on equal terms with Toprak may push Alvaro to retire at the end of the season?
"I think he is calm, with the knowledge that we need to find a solution to allow him to ride the bike, also because the level has risen and incredible times have been set. We are working and our bike has improved, but it is clear that BMW has focused all its forces on this project and Toprak is a phenomenon, he has everything under control, he can ride strong and he makes a difference. In motosport the rider-bike combination has always made the difference, but the Bautista-Ducati SBK combination has also been a winning one for a long time and we are only halfway through the season, each track to itself, so anything can still happen. I think the World Championship will be played out in three. Toprak's superiority at the moment is important, but we have no reason to give up."

Speaking of titles, do you think about the fact that you can put your hands on the tenth here?
"No. The only good thing about this weekend is that I got back on the bike four days after Misano, because I had nightmares: I had the feeling that my steering was closing at 60 km/h even when I went to sleep (laughs, ed.). Regardless of the fact that I'm going fast here, it's really a matter of feeling, because after so many years you have automatisms that you struggle to distort in two days. I was also talking about this with Barnabò and it's kind of the same thing that happened to Petrucci, who in the first 5 or 6 months was struggling like hell. I didn't have the same amount of time to get used to the bike, however, it was good. I was playing at home and it was still fun because there were so many people and I also saw the level of the other bikes, learning things that will serve both me and Ducati to make us ready for the future. You have to see the positive side and that is that we can improve."

Do you plan to continue even if you hit the 10th crown?
"As long as I'm having fun and have the feeling I have here at Mugello, why should I stop? It's also an incentive to stay trained and test at a high level, which is an important aspect in my role, because you don't get the bike right if you go slow."


Translated by Julian Thomas

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