Montella’s magic on ‘The Island’: “It was something that nobody expected!”

It was a winless 2023 where he came so close, yet to far, on many occasions; however, 2024 started with a big declaration of intent as he came good from the start Down Under. Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) leads the Championship with a perfect 50 points from the first two races of the year and with 22 still to go, anything can happen but that can also mean he will get stronger.

Race 1 saw Montella pull a masterstroke in the pitlane with a perfectly-timed pits-stop. He was 0.6s over the 78-second pit intervention time, so not quite Nicolo Bulega levels of perfection in World Superbike but pretty good nonetheless. He then rolled it home after checking out from the opposition, finishing with an advantage of 6.666s seconds – he was a devil after all. In Race 2, which didn’t feature a pit-stop due to it being shortened, things were much closer as Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) kept the Italian honest until the flag, although it wasn’t enough to deny him a double.

Speaking after the round had finished, Montella said: “It’s been really incredible for sure; I think it was something that nobody expected. I’m happy; I want to stay focused on the next race but at the same time enjoy the moment. Race 2 was a strange race because after all of the delay, we tried to stay focused. My plan was to push on the first lap to make a gap and it worked, so I’m happy for that.”

Continuing about whether Montella’s Championship lead changes his mentality for the overall picture and the title charge, he stated: “It’s just the first race and I have 22 in front of me. My focus is on Barcelona and the Championship is something I am not thinking about. Last year, Barcelona was the worst race of last year but I hope to be better, to show the potential like this. Then, let’s see how it goes.”

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