Mercado: ‘We’re in the top ten now’

Thursday, 26 March 2015 12:46 GMT

Argentine rider sees genuine progress made at Chang Thai Round.

The constant improvements from Barni Racing Team and Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado have been clear over the opening two rounds of the 2015 WorldSBK campaign, not least in Thailand last weekend as the Argentinean qualified tenth on the grid and matched that position in both races.

“We have taken a leap in the evolution of the Panigale R between Australia and Thailand,” says the Superstock 1000 title winner of last year. “We have really progressed and improved in terms of lap times. In Thailand it happened very smoothly from first practice on Friday up to Superpole 1 on Saturday, when we were quicker than van der Mark, and then on to Superpole 2.

“Despite extreme weather conditions in Thailand, the Ducati worked very well, with good traction on a lap which also contains a lot of technical sectors. The feeling I have with the bike has really come on a lot. What we have achieved is very encouraging.”

Furthermore, Mercado thoroughly enjoyed his battles with three-time World Champion Troy Bayliss.

“It’s so difficult to beat him in the corners,” Mercado laughed. “I can’t believe he is 45! It’s incredible. It was like Troy with a Mick Doohan style and myself with more of a Marc Marquez style (running elbows along the ground)!”

The next stop is Aragon, where Mercado won in Superstock 1000 last year.