"I didn’t know what the good tyre would be!’" – Spinelli on ‘incredible’ debut win and inspired tyre call

Saturday, 20 April 2024 12:52 GMT

The Italian rider stunned the WorldSBK paddock with an intermediate tyre gamble to claim an unexpected win on his debut

A new face made their debut in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship at the TT Circuit Assen and wasted no time in making their mark. Nicholas Spinelli (Barni Spark Racing Team) claimed an incredible victory in his first race, giving the Barni Ducati team their first win in the WorldSBK class. The #24 was the only rider to use an all-intermediate combination and it paid off as he built up an incredible gap before a well-timed red flag from Spinelli’s view helped him to victory.

SPINELLI’S STORY: P11, intermediate tyres… victory

The Italian was quick in a wet Tissot Superpole session and took 11th place on the grid, showing his wet weather prowess which he did in WorldSSP last year with a podium in Australia. Using the intermediate tyres, he surged up the order to take the lead on the opening lap and opened up a gap of around 25 seconds. Although he lost masses of time in the final few laps, a red flag thanks to oil on track at Turn 15 allowed him to hold on for victory ahead of Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Alvaro Bautista ( Racing - Ducati). Spinelli’s win is just the third time WorldSBK has had two debutant winners in a single season, in 1989 after Doug Polen and Peter Goddard and 1996, with John Kocinski and Yuichi Takeda.

HIS THOUGHTS: “I won, in front of Toprak and Bautista, the name of some legends”

On the win, Spinelli said: “It’s incredible! My first race, I won, in front of Toprak and Bautista, the names of some legends. It’s incredible because I tried the Superbike yesterday for the first time, so when I tried, I said, ‘wow, it’s incredible’. Step by step and session by session, my feeling is really good. I’m very happy for the team as well.”

WHY INTERMEDIATES? “I didn’t have the experience… it was a team decision!”

“I made the decision because I don’t have experience with the bike,” began Spinelli when asked about the reasons he went for intermediates. “I said with my team that I didn’t know what the good tyre would be, so it was a team decision to go for the intermediate. In the first laps, I rode very well because I had a very big gap, up to 25 seconds, but in the latter laps, the gap got closer. When I saw four seconds on the last lap, I said, ‘it’s finished for me!’. Then I saw the red flags and for this, I’m very lucky, but this is racing.”

THE TEAM’S VIEWS: “He’d never ridden a Superbike… we decided to give him this opportunity!”

Reacting to the team’s first win in WorldSBK, Team Manager Marco Barnabo said: “We are very happy to have won this race. Obviously, we are sorry that Danilo got injured and couldn't lead this race, for which he could and would have been a protagonist. Anyway, we are happy because it is our first victory in the Superbike World Championship. After Danilo got injured, we had to decide whether to keep the bike off or put someone in his place. We decided to have Spinelli, who had won the Italian Supersport with us and then for many reasons we couldn't go on with him in other World Supersport seasons. So, we decided to give him this opportunity and to have won the race with him, who had never ridden a Superbike, and came here in really difficult conditions, it was very, very nice. Fantastic.”

ZAMBENEDETTI SAYS: “A special moment… an incredible race!”

In the middle of the pit lane celebrations, Ducati Corse Technical Director Marco Zambenedetti said: “It was an incredible race! I’m really happy for Barni, the team and all the staff. In the end Spinelli did a great job, he took some risks but I’m happy. A special moment for Barni, after many races.”

Don’t miss out on what will be a spectacular Sunday at Assen, watch it all using the WorldSBK VideoPass!