Making his debut in the 2017 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship in the Pirelli Aragon Round, Leandro Mercado (IODARacing) put on an impressive performance, as it was the first time out competitively on track with his Aprilia RSV4 RF following the injuries he suffered over the winter.
Missing out on fighting for the STK1000 title in heartbreaking circumstances in the final round of the championship in 2016, the Argentinean rider makes the step up into WorldSBK and has high targets for the remainder of the season.
Taking two top eight positions in his opening two races of 2017 - as well as making it into Superpole Two - Mercado put on a strong performance throughout the weekend. With his first experience of both Superpole and Race One on Saturday, he took a top seven position finish but insists he is keen to improve.
Taking a mature outlook on the season ahead of him, the 25 year old is keen to learn and develop his riding skills with his Italian machine. “I feel great with the team, they have a lot of experience, and I think we are heading in the right direction. They help me to improve a lot and to learn, so I have a good level of confidence with them and we trust each other, which makes it easier to work.”
“It was a very positive weekend,” reflects Mercado on the Pirelli Aragon Round. “I am really happy to start my season like this, but we have many things to learn with a new bike. From Friday I quickly had a good feeling so I could push and all weekend. We made some changes with the bike and everything went in the right direction, now we want to improve the rear grip and for the whole distance of the race.”
It is interesting to note Mercado admits he has some growing up to do in the series, as he looks ahead to the future: “For sure we want to improve the final position but the first goal is not the position, it’s to close the gap to the front guys. I have to listen and learn, this will help me to grow up so I am trying as much as I can.”
Keep up with how the Argentinean fares in his second round of the season, at the legendary TT Circuit Assen all with exclusive access from the WorldSBK.com VideoPass, which you can find here.