Closing in to within striking distance of one of his main rivals in the Championship, lead Independent rider Axel Bassani is climbing up the order and has big goals…
It was a breath-taking Prosecco DOC Czech Round at the Autodrom Most with plenty of battles up and down the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship field. From starring shootouts at the front to putting yourself in the shop window for 2023, there were headlines in abundance. One rider who was in the thick of the action was Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing), with the Italian youngster securing a hat-trick of top five finishes in the Czech Republic.
Once again coming through from down on the grid in ninth place, Bassani carved his way through the field in Race 1 to be inside the top five on the opening lap, before settling into a good race pace and occupying fourth for a period of time. Then, he got pushed back to fifth on Lap 9 by Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), before finishing fifth and less than eight seconds from winner Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati). Sunday’s races were perhaps better for Bassani, as he held fifth place all race long, giving himself a second row start for Race 2. He made an electrifying start and was looking at challenging eventual race winner Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) for the lead. He was fourth before shoving Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) out the way at Turn 10. He was pushed back to fifth and after a brief battle with Redding once again over fourth, Bassani settled for his third fifth place of the weekend.
Speaking after the race, Bassani gave his thoughts on one of his best weekends of the year: “I am really happy about the weekend with three top fives. It’s incredible and it is one of the goals I wanted to achieve. I’m really happy about the job we did; we are very consistent and I hope to continue in this way for the rest of the season. I also hope that sometimes, we can beat the blue, the red and the green bikes ahead of us! We are here to do a good job, and we try and do it!”
It was a valuable weekend of points for Bassani, with the recently turned 23-year-old now into seventh in the overall standings and ahead of Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) by two points; Lowes crashed in the Superpole Race and was out with sickness in Race 2. As well as that, Bassani also reeled in fellow Ducati rider Rinaldi in the battle for a top five overall. Rinaldi crashed out on Lap 4 at Turn 1, whilst Bassani took 11 points, seeing him close the margin to just 19 points, with his eyes on a factory Ducati seat for 2023.
Continuing to evaluate his performance and what it meant for him, Bassani stated: “For sure I want to beat Michael on a factory bike and he’s also an Italian rider! It’s important to beat him and when I can, I will but if not, I’m focussed on being with the top riders and it’s important to be with them. I want to continue in this way and beat Michael at the end of the season.”
Talking about his future specifically, Bassani was coy but as ever, smiling and laughing: “My job is to continue to push 100% on the track and off the track, it’s the job of my manager. So, when I go home, I’ll call my manager and I’ll listen to what could happen for next year!
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