“It’s been the toughest season for me in WorldSBK” – Rinaldi reflects on difficult start to 2024

Michael Ruben Rinaldi linked up with Team Motocorsa Racing for the 2024 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship, hoping the combination of a rider with multiple wins to his name and a team that have fought at the front would keep the results flowing. Unfortunately for the #21 and the Motocorsa Ducati outfit, that hasn’t happened so far, with only two top-ten finishes in nine races and a best of sixth in Australia. In an interview with WorldSBK.com, Rinaldi spoke about the start of the campaign, what’s causing the lack of results and his future.

2024 SUMMED UP: “if I had to talk about the first rounds, I can’t say anything positive unfortunately…”

With Motocorsa able to secure podiums with Axel Bassani (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) between 2021 and 2023, linking up with a five-time winner and 23-time podium finisher would have given them hopes that would continue this year. So far, the Rinaldi-Motocorsa combination hasn’t worked out as expected, with Race 2 in Australia providing their best result in the first three rounds with sixth and only two finishes inside the top ten, both coming in Australia. In Barcelona, a track Rinaldi has won at on the Panigale V4 R, the best result was 11th in Race 1.

Reviewing the season so far, a downbeat Rinaldi stated: “It’s been, I think, the toughest season for me in World Superbike. We are not able to achieve the results that we’re used to and for that reason, I’m quite upset. If I had to talk about the first rounds, I can’t say anything positive unfortunately. It is what it is and that’s it. Before the season started, our goal was to keep fighting for what we’re used to, which is podiums and, on good occasions, for the win. We faced too many technical issues at the start of the season, and during pre-season testing. That breaks the chemistry you need to have for the top positions and so it’s tough at the moment. Also, the situation in the team is tense. We will see what happens, if we can get out of this situation, but it’s a really rough moment and tough to face this kind of situation especially when you’re used to better results. For a rider, it’s difficult to handle 13th position. There is nothing I can do more than what I’m doing but, at the moment, it’s not possible to stay at the top level and it’s a shame.”

ATMOSPHERE IN THE TEAM: “the only solution is to have no more issues… it’s really difficult”

With big results yet to be secured and issues plaguing the team over the first few rounds of 2024, Rinaldi spoke about the atmosphere inside the box: “Results not coming, technical problems we face, engine problems in three races didn’t help the situation inside the team. It’s really difficult in this Championship to achieve good results if everything is okay let alone if you face some problems. For example, we can see Iannone has been really strong at tracks where he tested. But at Assen, where like everybody else, there were weather conditions problems, it was difficult to stay on top. I’ve been facing these kinds of problems since the beginning of the year. It’s almost unachievable to stay at the front. The only solution is to have more issues with the bike and the team, start from zero, and have some races back on my level but it’s really difficult.”

LOOKING TO END THE TOUGH PERIOD: “we have many problems and we’re not seeing the light”

When asked what could be done, and is being done, to help get out of the situation, former factory Ducati rider Rinaldi stated: “I cannot speak about this because it’s something we need to handle inside the team, even if I think it’s really difficult to solve. I cannot give the details, but the situation is not easy. I’ll try to do my best, perform at my best as always, but the situation is really difficult. We have many problems and we’re not seeing the light. It’s not easy to go into the details because it’ll take a long time and there’s nothing I want to say. The situation is not easy, I’m not happy and that’s it.”

IMPACTS ON THE FUTURE: “my goal was to stay have good results and earn a good contract for 2025…”

With discussions about next year already in full flow – see the latest HERE – Rinaldi knows results and performances will be key to determining his future. Speaking about silly season, he explained how not securing results now could impact him for next year. He said: “We don’t know about the future because in motorsport, you never know. In the first races, my goal was to stay at the front with good results and earn a good contract for 2025. The results aren’t there so, at the moment, I need to go back to fighting for good positions and see what the offers are. In this kind of moment, only the top riders in the Championship can have an almost signed contract but I think I need to wait until half the season is done.”

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Source: WorldSBK.com

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