All paths lead home as ‘Tati’ sets his sights on STK1000 title
Fresh from his incredible victory at the Lausitzring in Germany on the weekend, which saw him dominate in the wet conditions, Leandro Mercado reflects on the magical weekend and the possibility that he could take out the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup at the next round in Magny-Cours.
Round 6 ended in favour of the personable Argentinian, though the beginning of his weekend seemed to start out slow - he was 12th in FP1, 11th in FP2 and slowly improved in qualifying to start Sunday from 7th on the grid. It all seemed like his weekend was going to be about taking small important steps and focusing on consistency. In contrast, his Cup rival Raffaele De Rosa had incredible pace all weekend, despite a three-place penalty, and looked to be an early contender for the win.
Come race day, the running order was turned on its head when the morning rains fell. After a wet start to the race and a rush of riders fighting for the elusive dry line in the first corner, an overshooting of Turn 2 by Toprak Razgatlıoglu was all Mercado needed to shoot past and steal the lead. And it didn’t stop there. He consistently kept churning out faster and faster lap times and didn’t falter once in the difficult conditions to finally come home almost 22 seconds ahead of second placed Bryan Staring to tip the Cup standings in his favour by 14 points.
“I’m really, really happy for this result and in the wet,” exclaimed Mercado after his victory. “We started the weekend with some problems in qualifying. I struggled but we improved for a little bit even after the morning Warm-Up in the dry. We improved a bit in the rain but I didn’t know how the track was because it hasn’t rained all weekend. I’m pretty happy because I felt great with the bike on the first lap but I didn’t know how much to push because in the wet everything was new with the track. For the championship it’s a good thing but now we have to stay focused on our goal and not make mistakes because we have two important races left.”
Looking ahead to the next round, Mercado said, “Magny-Cours is a track I like but the weather will be an important factor. We will go with the same goal: to give 100%.”
Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado will be back on track on 30th of September at Magny-Cours in a bid to clinch the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup for the second time after his 2014 success, when he beat Lorenzo Savadori to the title at the French venue.