Foti on "unbelievably fast" Bautista, aims to retain both riders for 2023

Friday, 24 June 2022 09:53 GMT

With Bautista leading the Championship, Rinaldi coming on form, team manager Serafino Foti is enjoying Ducati’s strong start to 2022 and doesn’t plan on changing the line-up for 2023

The 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship has seen a thrilling spectacle right from the first lights out of the season, and it’s been a stunning first third of the campaign for Ducati in particularly. The Italian manufacturer, hailing from Borgo Panigale in Bologna, has yet to finish off the podium in 2022, with Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) winning half of the races so far. We caught up with Racing – Ducati’s team manager, Serafino Foti, who evaluates the season so far and looks ahead to the 2023 factory Ducati line-up.

It’s been a blissful start to 2022 for Ducati with six wins, whilst they’ve stood on the podium in every race: “To be honest, the beginning of the season has been really positive. Our engineers did a really good job all winter. Also, the team, because they worked really well. We need to stay focused because we’ve only done four rounds and, for sure, the season is long. Our competitors are really strong. We need to keep the feet on the ground and continue to work really hard.”

Foti then spoke specifically about Bautista’s season, with the Spaniard coming back to Ducati with, as Ducati Corse’s Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti called it, “unfinished business” to attend to: “We will see at the end of the season. At the moment, he’s done a really good job. He’s unbelievably fast; the feeling is unbelievable with the Panigale V4 R. We continue to work really hard, looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Turning attention to the other side of the garage and Michael Ruben Rinaldi, he believes the Italian cane start to fight for the podium in most races: “To be honest, I’m confident. I was confident at the end of last season. Michael is a really sensible rider and, all the time, he needs the bike to work really well. I think and hope this is the starting point for him to fight for the podium in every race. From Michael’s point of view, he has potential to fight for the podium or the top five every race.”

Like always for Ducati, racing is a passion, but in front of the home crowd at Misano, it was a dream weekend: “Of course, this was our home round and it was fantastic to have many spectators, many guests, all the people from the manufacturer came here. It was really exciting and thank you to all my team, engineers, thank you to all our supporters. It was a really nice weekend. Now it’s time to enjoy this weekend!”

However, is the Ducati Panigale V4 R the best bike on the grid? “I don’t know if it’s the best bike but, of course, the bike works really well,” stated Foti. “From my point of view, we need to improve in the small corners. If you saw the Estoril Round and here, the Yamaha and Kawasaki work a little bit better than our bike in the small corners. We probably need to improve in this area.”

A comparatively bold statement compared to others, Foti said that the team’s plan is to continue with both riders in 2023, although simultaneously reminding everyone that it’s still early days: “Our plan for next year is to continue with both riders. Of course, Alvaro did a really good job. It’s too early because we would like to stay focused on this year because, for us, it’s a really important 2022. I think after summer, we will think about the possibilities we have. Our priority is to put our riders in the best position for fighting for the podium all weekend.”

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