The Argentinean rider speaks of his STK1000 title win.
Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado (Barni Racing Team Ducati) made history a fortnight ago by clinching the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup after a dramatic final encounter of the 2014 season at Magny-Cours. Following a crash in qualifying that relegated him to the fourth row of the grid, the rider from Jesus Maria, a small town near Cordoba, Argentina, had a hard time trying to catch up the leaders, avoiding any mistakes at the same time, but when his only rival for the title, Lorenzo Savadori (Team Pedercini Kawasaki) crashed out on the final lap, he knew the title was his.
“It was a crazy weekend,” said Mercado. “We started off quite well in the free practice and I was feeling good. Unfortunately, when I put the new qualifying tyre in to go for a quick lap I crashed at the last chicane and I was taken to the medical centre. I couldn’t believe it, I thought my chances for the title were over. Before the start I knew it would have been difficult to catch up with the leaders by starting from row four on the grid. I managed to work my way up to seventh place but it was hard to push given the conditions and I took many risks. You never know what can happen so I decided to avoid any mistakes and just ride at my own pace, and then Savadori crashed.”
Mercado is the first Argentinean rider to secure such a prestigious title at international level in motorcycle racing and thanks to his victory, he also gave Barni Racing Team their first victory in the series after three consecutive runner-up finishes with Petrucci, La Marra and Canepa. “It’s a dream come true and I have to thank my team, Ducati, my family, a lot of people back in Argentina” added Mercado. “It was our goal at the start of the season and now it’s real. Now we have to see what the future brings, I would like to race in the World Superbike championship and I hope this year’s title will help.”