With the prospect of coming back to a World Championship and challenging for victories being the goal and a “magical” one at that, Andrea Iannone gives his biggest update yet about 2024
The 2023 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is now in its second half of what is an intriguing season of action, but with each passing day, stories surface with regards to 2024’s grid. With rumours seemingly coming about every day about a whole host of teams and riders, one key player isn’t actually on the 2023 grid. Andrea Iannone is eyeing a return to racing and he has stated that he’ll soon know what his future will be. As always, check out our silly season article for a full run-down of what we know – and don’t know – so far, here!
THE TALKS: “We’ve spoken to all the teams who’ve shown interest, not just the ones you mention”
The big question is whether or not Andrea Iannone is close an agreement being reached, but it seems that nothing is clear, whilst there have been other teams than Team GoEleven and Barni Ducati that he’s been in contact with: “I don't know if we're close or far from an agreement, I just know that we'll soon know what will become of my future as a rider. I think we’ve spoken to all the teams who’ve shown interest, not just the ones you mention.”
THE PROSPECT: “Come back to win? It must be our goal... it will be magical”
Having been in the paddock at both Misano and Imola, the atmosphere is something unique in World Championship racing, with the fans at the heart of it all, something ‘The Maniac’ enjoyed: “I missed the paddock a lot, not just the bikes, but the passion of the people, the fans, I missed everything a lot. I think the level of WorldSBK today is the highest ever. Come back to win? I don't think it will be easy... but this must be our goal. If I ever succeed, it will be magical.”
THE OPPOSITION: “Alvaro is riding in an extraordinary way… I have little time and a lot of work ahead of me”
With the key teams Iannone could be partnering up with being Ducati, what does the 2016 Austrian MotoGP™ Grand Prix winner think of perhaps challenging reigning World Champion Alvaro Bautista? “Alvaro is riding in an extraordinary way,” began Iannone. “It would be nice to be able to find him on the track again; to duel with him is a path that must be built step-by-step. He is already at the top, I have little time and a lot of work ahead of me.”
THE OPTION: “We’re working on it, he’s a big talent and he deserves a place in this Championship” – Team GoEleven”
Denis Sacchetti, team manager for Team GoEleven Ducati, spoke about the possibility of welcoming Iannone to the line-up for 2024, with potentially knowing more about the team’s plans at the Most round: “We're working on it, but we need to understand if it's possible or not. Iannone for me is a talent, a big talent. He's been out for four years but he's a big talent and he deserves a place in this Championship. I spoke with him this weekend, but as a friend. There's nothing decided; he has different options but anyway, I'll be happy if he's able to return to the Championship and ride and be competitive. Let's see.”
THE OTHER GOELEVEN RUMOURS: “It’s important for us to have different options; I hope it’s possible to understand our future in the next two weeks, around Most”
Speaking about the team’s general approach to 2024, Sacchetti said: “It's not easy to talk about the riders now; it's time to speak and talk about contracts with the riders. This is our second year with Philipp and the relationship with him is very good. I think he's fast, with big potential and he's really close to the top five. But it's not an easy gap to close because the level of the Championship is really, really high. The bikes, the riders, the teams, World Champions, so, it's not easy for a young rider. We're talking with him and other riders about next season. At the moment, it's important for us to have different options to decide which is best for us for our future. Nothing is decided yet, I hope it's possible to understand our future in the next two weeks before the break. Around the Most round.”
Attention then turned to whether or not Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) could return to the team, if he isn’t in the factory Ducati seat for 2024: “The first thing that matters is what happens from Ducati, as maybe he stays there. Michael is a big friend to us and a fast rider and I think he can stay every race inside the top three. He's an interesting rider for every team in this Championship for everyone I think."
Finally, Sacchetti spoke about the possibility of the team expanding, but budget means that nothing is decided just yet: “I think that every private team has the same dream to have two bikes; with that, we have a complete team. The main problem is the budget and it's important to have all the budget you need to start with two bikes. We're working on it, like other Ducati teams. This isn't decided yet.”
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