Bassani: “Starting to feel better… Important for me to see Alex’s data and see where I can improve”

Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) was one of the big movers for the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, moving from Independent Ducati machinery to the factory Kawasaki squad. It’s been a challenging start to the season for the #47, with two top-ten finishes to his name so far. In an interview, Bassani reviewed his season so far, how his adaptation is going, having a teammate for the first time in his career and his home round at Misano.

THREE ROUNDS IN: “a difficult season, because the level of WorldSBK is really high…”

Bassani has become known for challenging for podiums since he debuted in WorldSBK in 2021, but that hasn’t happened so far. Assen was the highlight, fighting in the podium positions in difficult conditions, but he dropped back as the track dried. The Feltre-born star reviewed his 2024 season so far, calling it difficult but explaining how he sees positives in the hard start to the year.

Bassani said: “It’s been a difficult season, at the moment, because the level of World Superbike at the moment is really high and changing team and the motorbike is never easy. The level of WorldSBK isn’t helping me at the moment. This means if you start to go well and have a good speed, you’ll be fast and strong. We need to work step by step, slowly.”

ADAPTING TO THE BIKE: “if you start out of the first or second row, it’s difficult to have a good race”

The Ducati and Kawasaki machines are very different, in terms of how to ride them, the engine configuration and much more. Speaking about this, and also how the Tissot Superpole sessions are currently his weakest point – with a best of 15th so far – Bassani said: “It’s a completely different bike. There are always two wheels but it’s a completely different feeling! You have to change your riding style, under braking and the exit of corners, because the bike is different. The first time was not easy but now, weekend by weekend, I’m starting to feel better on the bike. On the bike, I don’t have a bad feeling, but it’s always difficult to be fast and especially in Superpole we have some problems. We’ll try to have a better Superpole because now, if you start out of the first or second row, it’s really difficult to have a good race.

“When we put the softer tyres, the bike starts to be more difficult for me to ride. It starts to be difficult for me to do what I want to do. With harder tyres, it’s better. We have to improve a lot with the softer tyres because the bike starts to do something strange for my riding style. We need to improve. We’ll work on this point. We have to work on the SCQ tyre but also the soft tyre for the race because, after ten laps, we start to have some problems. We have a lot of work to do but we know what we need.”

A TEAMMATE FOR THE FIRST TIME: “strange to have a teammate… Alex is a really good guy”

For the first time in WorldSBK, Bassani has a rider alongside him in the garage. He’s teamed up with Alex Lowes for 2024, with the #22 in his fifth season in green. Explaining how their relationship is going and how Lowes is helping him, Bassani said: “After three years alone with Ducati, it’s strange to have a teammate. At the same time, it’s good, because you have someone who’s riding the same bike and it’s always good to see what they’re doing. Alex is a really good guy. He always tries to do his best; he pushes to the limit with the Kawasaki because it’s his fifth season with Kawasaki. It’s really important for me to see his data and see where I can improve. He can help me, but you have to remember that he’s my teammate, but always one of my rivals. He can help me somewhere… but not too much! It’s normal. It’s the same for me. We’re two riders riding for the same team, but, at the same time, we want to be the best. He’s doing his work and the same for me.”

A HOME BREAKTHROUGH: “I want to get a podium, but we need to be realistic”

Misano is up next and has often been the scene of the start of Bassani’s charge to the front, and he’ll be hoping for more of the same in 2024. When asked about this, the Italian rider said that he would like to be on the rostrum on home soil but also played down expectations, stating that the focus has to be on improving the bike.

He said: “I want to get a podium at Misano because it’s my home round, it’s always important. Usually, there are a lot of people pushing not only me but all the Italian riders. It will be important for me to get a good result, but we need to be realistic. We have to improve a lot. I think, for us, for my side of the team, it’s important to think about improving the bike and try to find our setup and then, after, think about podiums. It’s really difficult at the moment because the level of WorldSBK is really high.”

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