Rinaldi: "This podium means a lot to me… it’s been difficult to get the results we have showed we can get"
The Italian rider claimed his third podium of the season when we took second place in Race 2
With all the drama in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship over the course of the Pirelli French Round, one rider secured their best result of the season with second place at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours during Race 2. Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) fought his way into the podium battle when drama struck his rivals on track and led the race before finishing in second place.
Rinaldi’s best result of the season had been third place, which he achieved twice at the Emilia-Romagna Round on home soil but he was able to better that in Race 2 in France when he claimed second place, finishing two seconds clear of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and 2.7s clear of Axel Bassani (Motocorsa Racing) in third place.
The results from Race 2 move Rinaldi up to fourth in the Championship on 167 points, one point of clear Andrea Locatelli (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and 16 points clear of Bassani, with Rinaldi leading an Italian trio from fourth to sixth in the Championship. The round was also Rinaldi’s best in terms of scoring points, with 33 points collected which beat his previous best, the season-opening Aragon Round, by one point.
Discussing his race, Rinaldi said: “It’s been difficult to get the results that we have showed we can get. This podium means a lot to me. It was also a really nice race, because I fought really hard with Jonny, with Axel and with Toprak so I enjoyed it. The last part of the race, maybe in the middle part, I was pushing too much and didn’t save the tyre for the last laps. I tried to stay with Toprak and fight in the last laps, but my tyre was almost finished. I couldn’t push too much. I need to be happy with second place. It’s good to be back on the podium.”
One key aspect from Rinaldi’s second place was an incredible move he made into Turn 11, where he leapt from third place to first by passing both Razgatlioglu and Bassani. The stunning two-for-one overtake allowed him to move up to first place where he remained for six laps, before Razgatlioglu re-took the lead on Lap 14 at Turn 5. Rinaldi did try and stay with the reigning Champion but dropped two seconds back in the final laps.
Talking about his fight for fourth in the Championship, Rinaldi said: “At the start of the season, my goal was to finish in the top three. Now, third place is too far away to be realistic. I think race by race and try to fight for the win or the podium in every race. Now we will enjoy this podium and focus for Barcelona, which is a track that I also like.”
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