Rinaldi: "Today has been a positive day… we need to be calm, humble and try to do our best job"

Friday, 3 March 2023 06:38 GMT

Italian rider Michael Ruben Rinaldi topped both Free Practice sessions to start the Indonesian Round in fine form as he looks for his first win of the season

After taking two second place finishes in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship last time out in Australia, Michael Ruben Rinaldi ( Racing – Ducati) took top spot in both Free Practice sessions during the Motul Indonesian Round at the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit. Rinaldi was fastest in both Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 to end Friday on top of the timesheets ahead of teammate Alvaro Bautista ( Racing – Ducati) in a Ducati 1-2.

Rinaldi posted a 1’34.613s to top Free Practice 1 in the 45-minute session, where track conditions were not at their optimal. This came after he had a crash at Turn 10 in the early stages of the session, but he was able to return to the track after taking his Panigale V4 R into the pit lane to be checked over by his Ducati crew. His best time was posted right at the end of the session as he finished ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha Prometeon WorldSBK) in FP1.

Explaining his Turn 10 crash, Rinaldi said: “I was confident from Australia and I said ‘okay, I feel confident’ and I braked later, and I crashed because the asphalt was so dirty. The feeling was okay. I entered the box. Luckily, I was okay, and the bike was okay, and I was able to re-enter the session. I finished in P1.”

In Free Practice 2, Rinaldi again left it late in the 45-minute session to secure his place at the top of the timesheets as he set a 1’32.468s. This time was ahead of teammate Bautista by only 0.029s after the Spaniard crashed at Turn 1 during FP2, but not losing too much track action. The time for Rinaldi’s best time came in a five-lap stint where he set only one representative lap time with the Italian often losing time in the final sector of the circuit.

Reflecting on his day, Rinaldi said: “Today has been a positive day despite the crash after a few laps in FP1. I immediately felt good on the bike. It’s a strange track here because every session and every lap, the surface changes. There are not many motorcycle races here so there’s no rubber on the asphalt and outside the racing line is dirty, so you can’t make a mistake. From FP1 to FP2, we improved a lot in the times and the feeling with the bike changed. I’m happy to be first but the conditions changed really quickly, and I think it doesn’t really matter if we are first today. Tomorrow, we will come to the track and maybe it’s a different story. We need to be calm, humble and try to do our best job.

Rinaldi also discussed his rivals for the weekend. He said: “For sure, it has been a positive Friday, but you cannot think Toprak or Jonny will not be there. They will be there for sure. During the winter tests, I think our team did a great job and our base is solid. The track changed a lot from FP1 to FP2 and tomorrow will be different. Maybe with more grip, we don’t know whether our bike is working better or not.”

Can Rinaldi convert Friday pace into success throughout the weekend? Find out using the WorldSBK VideoPass!