The Swiss rider made his WorldSBK debut this season and has shown strong pace to haul himself into the top six in races
Dominique Aegerter (GYTR GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Team) is one of several rookies making their MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship debut in 2023 and the two-time WorldSSP Champion has already had some incredible highs in the first half of the season. He narrowly missed out on a debut pole at Phillip Island and has featured in the top five in races on two occasions, although recent rounds have been harder for the Swiss rider to break into the top ten. At Imola, Aegerter sat down for an in-depth interview that covered his future, being teammates to Remy Gardner and his 2023 so far.
AEGERTER’S FUTURE: a place in the factory team up for grabs?
Following the shock news that Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) will leave Yamaha at the end of 2023, there has been plenty of clamour to find out his replacement. Yamaha Motor Europe’s Road Racing Manager Andrea Dosoli said they would like to promote from within, potentially giving Aegerter, or any other Yamaha-contracted rider on the grid, a chance to join Pata Yamaha for 2024. The Japanese manufacturer are yet to announce Razgatlioglu’s replacement, although did confirm Andrea Locatelli’s future with the team for 2024 and 2025.
Talking about his future, and the possibility of a factory seat, Aegerter explained: “I’m very happy to race with the GRT Yamaha team. I think it’s very important to feel good with the team. Yamaha do a very good job; they try to help me as much as possible. We can also see the data from Toprak and Locatelli; it’s very helpful. They share everything so it’s nice that I’m one of the Yamaha riders. My future is still a little bit unclear. I think I performed well that I have a chance to continue in WorldSBK. I’ll try to stay with Yamaha because I think we can achieve something great. There’s a seat at Yamaha, but I think there are a lot of riders who want Toprak’s seat. To ride in a factory team would be very nice but I don’t know what they’ll decide. I can just focus on my own riding and my own goals.”
TEAMMATES WITH A CHAMPION: three World Championships in the GRT Yamaha box
Aegerter is partnered alongside Remy Gardner for the 2023 season with the pair having three World Championships between them. Australian rookie Gardner took the 2021 Moto2™ title while Aegerter won back-to-back Championships in WorldSSP in 2021 and 2022 and won the MotoE™ World Cup in the latter. As rookie line-ups go, it’s one of the strongest in terms of their honours and, in recent rounds, the pair have been closely matched. However, there have also been some tough moments. In Australia, Gardner took out Aegerter in the Superpole Race while, in the Misano Superpole Race, Aegerter was hit by Danilo Petrucci (Barni Spark Racing Team), which forced him into Gardner with the pair going down; Aegerter re-joined the race as Gardner retired.
Commenting on having Gardner as a teammate, Aegerter said: “Remy is a great rider. He won the 2022 Moto2™ World Championship and he was a MotoGP™ rider. His riding style is a little bike like mine so we can work together inside the team. We always push each other. We were a little bit unlucky in the Superpole Race in Australia when he crashed and took me out. It wasn’t a good team effort. Misano was not my fault because there was another rider who touched me, and I crashed. My bike took out Remy as well. I think our bad luck for the season is already over and we can look forward.”
2023 SO FAR: highs and lows in a rookie campaign
Aegerter spent two years in WorldSSP, taking the title in both seasons, before stepping up to WorldSBK with the GRT Yamaha outfit. It was almost a dream start for him as he put his YZF R1 machine on the front row in Australia, missing out on pole by just a couple of tenths, although he did become the first Swiss rider to start from the top three in WorldSBK. He’s taken five top-six results in 21 races so far but is currently on a run of seven consecutive finishes outside the top ten, mixing the ups and downs in his maiden campaign.
Reviewing the first half of his season, Aegerter said: “My 2023 season started well. We had some very good races with some very fast Superpole sessions. Some top five finishes. We also had some races that we were struggling a little bit to be where we want. Twice I got taken out in the Superpole Race so this was the worst moment for me, but I think, overall, we are performing very well. My goals for the end part of the season… I try to improve every race. I would like to be on the podium. This is a big goal. I think we had some races where we weren’t that far away. I’ll try to be the best Independent rider and also, maybe, the best Yamaha rider a few times.”
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