"Proud" Iannone: "I’m excited because I didn’t expect to arrive at this level!"

Tuesday, 20 February 2024 07:07 GMT

Another test, another strong performance from Andrea Iannone as the one-time MotoGP™ winner claims fourth place on the final day of off-season testing

Several riders have been making waves in off-season testing for the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, including Andrea Iannone (Team GoEleven) as he prepares for his rookie season. ‘The Maniac’ linked up with the Independent Ducati outfit for his maiden campaign in World Superbike on the Panigale V4 R and has been showing his speed as he mixes it up at the sharp end of the grid in testing, including with fourth in the Official Test.

Iannone had been quick at Jerez and Portimao and this continued during the Official Test at the iconic Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, a track he’s gone well at in the past – even when faced with local wildlife trying to get out of his way. In Tuesday’s test, Iannone recorded the fourth fastest time, behind fellow rapid rookie Nicolo Bulega ( Racing – Ducati), with Iannone setting a 1’29.001s as he narrowly missed out on a 1’28s lap time, something on Bulega achieved in testing. In FP2, Toprak Razgatlioglu (ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team) and Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) both when quicker, while Bulega extended his gap over his compatriot.

Revelling in his performance at the test, and other winter tests, Iannone said: “I think the day is a little bit better compared to the past. In the end, it’s always a balance. With the soft tyres, I ride slower than with the race tyres and this is a big problem. Maybe I have a good race pace, but I have to start further back and it’s bad to recover a lot of positions. We need to learn and improve in this area. After a long time, I think it’s a good comeback. My position is not bad. I need to learn this category because everything is different. The tyres change a lot and the bike and format. I don’t know what to expect.”

Like Bulega, it means Iannone has now been fast in every single test he’s taken part in, from the November 2023 Jerez test to the tests at the Spanish venue and Portimao in January and now Australia. In FP2, his best time was a 1’29.444s but his FP1 time was enough to secure third spot with Andrea Locatelli (Pata Prometeon Yamaha) doing enough to demote his compatriot into third place, with Bulega leading the pair.

Speaking to the media after testing, Iannone expanded on a potential weak spot, his strengths, and his goals for Australia: “In any case, it’s really good because, after four years, I’m excited because I didn’t expect to arrive at this level. I’m proud of this. We struggled a lot especially with the soft tyres, I ride slower than with a race tyre! This is the big problem. We have a Superpole Race, and in this race, we use soft tyres. In Superpole, we need to start in front. In the end, the positive thing is with the SC1, and in general in these tests, we are always more or less in the top three. We struggle a lot with soft tyres and it’s the third time we’ve had this problem. I’m a little bit worried about this. I’m surprised. I don’t know how to explain my pace, but I prefer it like this! Everything is natural so I’m happy. With the race tyres, we are really close; sometimes we are the best, sometimes we are top three. This is the most important thing. It’s important we calm down because this is just the beginning.”

A NEW ERA BEGINS: what can Iannone achieve in his rookie season? Watch it unfold using the WorldSBK VideoPass!