The final World Supersport championship race of the season was one of mixed emotions for Italian Alex Baldolini who claimed a 3rd row starting position before crashing out of a front running position early in the race.
Baldolini, who switched machines before the Donington Park event, has been steadily improving with a machine that most people said was unable of running regularly in the top 15 at World Championship level.
The results that both he and the Suriano squad have achieved give hope that the Suzuki could be a surprise package of the 2014 season.
Since returning to the team he calls 'his family', Alex has scored points in all but one race, and with a best result of 9th at Imola can be satisfied with the development work that he and the Suriano Suzuki team have accomplished this season.
Alex Baldolini: "I had a very good qualifying position and started from 7th on the grid. I made a great start and was running 5th. I was enjoying the race and when Van Der Mark passed me I was pushing really hard to stay at the front. I was pushing too hard and I crashed. I am sure I could have finished in the top 5. Despite the crash, I am very happy because when I joined re-joined Suriano, the Suzuki was not so competitive. We have worked hard and we made a lot of improvements until we arrived closed to the front. I enjoyed being at the front again and I want to thank Ninetto who always trusted in me. Like last year, we showed that together we can achieve good things."
Alex Baldolini finished 17th overall in the World Championship standings but after a top 6 finish overall in 2012, he is optimistic of a return to winning ways when the World Supersport championship resumes in Phillip Island in February.
Michael Hill Promotions
Italian Alex Baldolini battled hard once again to claim a solid 10th place finish in the penultimate round of the World Supersport championship in France on Sunday.
Despite not having any machine updates since Donington, the hard charging likeable Italian, who finished 6th in last year's World Supersport championship continues to push hard on a machine that is still in development.
Qualifying 12th, Baldolini was pleased that the race was dry as both he and his Suriano team had worked hard throughout the weekend to find a setting that allowed the rider to push hard in the corners. This was essential given the speed deficit of the Suzuki supersport machine.
Nevertheless, Baldolini made a good start and some aggressive moves in the early stages to remain in touch with the leading bunch of riders and after breaking clear of Jack Kennedy, Raffaele de Rosa and Massimo Roccoli claimed a well fought 10th position, his second best result of the year.
Alex Baldolini – 10th position: "We scored more points here in Magny-Cours, but in this moment it is difficult. We need more power and acceleration with the Suzuki, the bike is still the same as when I began riding it at Donington. We didn't get new parts so the results are the best that we can achieve right now. However the team worked hard and we made a really good setting which works really well in the corners. I want to be closer to the top so it's a pity that we don't have updates for the bike because I am sure we could easily fight for the top 6 but we will go to Jerez and do our best once again."
The final round of the World Supersport championship sees the riders and teams set for battle at the Jerez circuit in Southern Spain in a fortnight and with the circuit renowned for close battles and relying on riders carrying high corner speed the scene could be set for Baldolini to claim his best result of 2013 in the season finale.
By Michael Hill Promotions
Alex Baldolini added another points finish to his World Supersport CV in last weekend's inaugural Turkish World Supersport event at the Intercity Park circuit on the outskirts of Istanbul.
Baldolini was lucky to even make the starting line up after a frightening high speed crash on Saturday, but the Suriano Suzuki rider battled hard through the pain and eventually salvaged another 4 points with a 12th place finish at the flag.
Alex Baldolini – 12th position: "Today wasn't as bad as it could have been. I was close to the top but after the crash yesterday I wasn't 100% but the pain wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was difficult to keep close to the front group as we lost some speed and acceleration during the race as well as losing some grip from the tyres. It was another positive step for us and we will continue to work hard in the next two races."
Baldolini will now travel to Le Mans in France where he will compete in the historic Le Mans 24 Hours event, lining up in a team with José Manuel Luís Rita and fellow World Supersport rival Massimo Roccoli. At the time of issuing this release, Baldolini and his endurance team had secured 5th position in the evening practice which is encouraging for what lies ahead.
Michael Hill Promotions
Italy's Alex Baldolini once again showed Suzuki's pace in this years World Supersport championship, riding his Suriano Racing Team machine to a hard fought 11th position at the Nurburgring in Germany.
Baldolini who was inside 10th in the final free practice on Saturday, was unlucky to be denied the chance of replicating his lap time when it mattered, as afternoon rain washed away any hope of improvingin final qualifying meaning a 6th row of the grid starting position in 18th.
In the race however, Alex proved once again that the combination of a good start, sheer determination and Suriano Suzuki power is more than a match for the front runners in the World Supersport championship as he eased his way into the front group by half race distance, fighting hard with a number of riders in a titanic battle that would rage until the chequered flag.
It's clear to see that the renewed partnership of Baldolini and the Suriano Team is working and everyone involved in the Suzuki World Supersport project is hopeful of further front running outings in the remaining 3 races.
The next round of the 2013 World Supersport championship takes place in Istanbul in Turkey in a fortnight before moving on to the final two races in France and Spain.
Alex Baldolini – 11th position: "On Friday we lost a little bit in terms of set-up as this is a new bike for us, so we have no data but this is normal. It rained in final qualifying on Saturday so that meant I had to start from 18th which was a shame as we made some good steps forward in free practice. We had a real good pace but with the conditions in the afternoon it was impossible to improve which made the race more difficult. I made quite a good start and was soon in a fight with Kennedy and Salom. We ended the race only 10 seconds from the podium and I am sure I lost a lot of time in the early laps overtaking. I'm not sure how much higher we could have been but I am happy with the race performance even if the end result doesn't show our true speed this weekend."
By Michael Hill Promotions, photos courtesy of Vaclav Duska Junior