The next chapter of the 2022 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is upon us, and it comes from the Circuito Estoril, just half an hour from Lisbon, Portugal. The historic venue welcomes WorldSBK for a third consecutive year and now the fallout of Assen has had time to settle, we caught up with the main stars to talk about the dramatic collision in the Netherlands, their feelings coming to Estoril and, for one rider, the huge opportunity to test a MotoGP™ bike.
Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati): “One of the best moments, not just in WorldSBK, but my career”
“I think both Jonny and Toprak are very aggressive, and we saw many battles in the past. Fortunately, nothing happened like it did in Assen. I think they have to be calmer in the battle, especially because if they start battling in the races, they go more and more aggressive with each pass. For me, for sure it’s not a problem; they can fight all they want! We’ll see more battles between them, and I hope to be there fighting for good positions. At the moment, I’m enjoying this Championship a lot; I feel so strong, physically and mentally. I think this is one of the best moments, not just in WorldSBK, but in my career. I feel stronger than ever and more ambitious than before.”
Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK): “There could’ve been more care on both sides”
“Unfortunately, we came together; I don’t want to be a diva and start placing blame or creating animosity about it. It happened, but it didn’t need to happen. There could’ve been a bit more care on both sides but we’re racers, I understand that. I actually saw Toprak just before this interview. I have no ill feeling with him, he’s a super good guy and I can park that. But I can also put my helmet on and race him bar-to-bar at all the circuits around the world. It’s unfortunate we both went down; it was a racing accident and of course, there’s a difference of opinion. I respect his, but it probably didn’t need to happen. Last year here, we were able to improve, and I felt good with the ZX-10RR, so I’m excited to see what we can do this weekend.”
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK): “We have a Yamaha MotoGP™ test
“I’m very happy we are here again after a long break. Like last year, I try my best again because I love this track. For Yamaha, it’s very good. I try again fighting for the win. At this track, normally we are fast but this year I think we are faster. We will see because the race is always different. I forget now about Assen. This is a race crash. First it was my mistake, I went a little bit wide but not off the track, but Jonny normally looks at me. He has a bit more space on the track, but he’s not using the space, and we crash. There’s been no contact. We are now focused on the race, so he’s focused. We have a Yamaha MotoGP™ test and for me this is very important because I understand whether I like the bike or not, because it’s completely different to the Superbike.”
Scott Redding (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “The test was quite successful; I feel like it’s my bike”
“The test in Portimao was good. We had great weather so very fortunate for that. The weather is better now so we could maximize the hours at the circuit which was very good. We had some new parts to test. Different wheels to upgrade on, different things with chassis setup, electronics and the test was quite successful. I felt quite good and every time I feel more like it’s my bike and I start to enjoy riding it more. The test was good to get back on a motorcycle after some weeks off. There’s some stuff we can use here but it’s mainly setup things. We know in Assen we didn’t do a bad job, we were a little bit closer, but we suffered with tire wear so this is something we need to pay attention to.”
Iker Lecuona (Team HRC): “The objective is the same, to finish fifth or sixth”
“The last race with third and a pretty amazing weekend in general at Assen. However, now we have arrived at a new completely new track for me; this is my first time at Estoril. I tried to study it a little bit when the Spanish Superbike championship came here last weekend. I tried to study the line a little bit, but it will be completely different compared to watching it on TV. I need to say that we had luck for the podium at Assen, but we were up there all weekend, inside the top five. We need to stay calm. The objective is the same, to finish fifth or sixth, because for us it’s like a small victory as we know we don’t have the potential to finish in the top three for now.”
Michael van der Mark (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team): “I’m feeling a lot of better”
“I’m really happy we’re back. I think the best thing was we had some time off between Assen and this round, and I’m feeling a lot better. Still not walking really fast. Luckily, last week, we had a test and I felt so much better on the bike so at least now I know what to expect when I get onto the bike. It was mainly to get back on the bike and see how I felt. I’m really happy we got the chance to test. We had some new parts to try but there’s always something to try.”
Loris Baz (Bonovo Action BMW): “I want to fight for the podium”
“I want to fight for the podium, I want to put the BMW and Bonovo team on the podium. I think all four BMW riders have that target. I’m just trying to do my best every time I go on the bike. It’s the only thing you can do as a rider to improve. At the moment, I’m just trying to be on the limit as much as I can to make a step forward and we’ll see if we can make those steps a little bit quicker.”
Watch all of the action unfold from Estoril in comprehensive fashion with the WorldSBK VideoPass!