Alex Baldolini heads to Magny-Cours for the penultimate round of the World Supersport championship after another impressive result last time out aboard his privately entered Race Department ATL#25 MV Agusta
Alex Baldolini heads to Magny-Cours for the penultimate round of the World Supersport championship after another impressive result last time out aboard his privately entered Race Department ATL#25 MV Agusta.
Recently married, Baldo was eager to get racing again after the long break since the Malaysian round in Sepang and despite an issue during qualifying where she slipped back, the likeable Italian was never outside the top 8 in every other session.
6th in warm-up gave the whole team confidence and after a strong first part to the race things were looking good for the former podium finisher.
The latter part of the race saw a dip in performance as the tyre went away but nevertheless another top ten aboard a privately entered machine is impressive.
Alex Baldolini - “It's been a positive weekend. After this long summer break I was looking forward to riding my MV again and being at Jerez circuit was great. During the sessions we were always within the top 8, however the worst session was the qualifying session, where we had some problems because of the hot weather. After finishing the warm up in 6th position I was relaxed and I knew I could make a good race. I had a good start and for the first half of the race I had a good pace, my gap from the leader was 6-7 seconds, which was the same gap I had to the rider behind me. tried to push to overtake Faccani but I nearly crashed more than 4 times. I finished the race 7th which is good but the fact of losing 7-8 seconds in the last 5 laps makes me angry as we could have been much closer to the winner. I raced with a broken toe at Jerez so with all of this considered I cannot be too unhappy. I see you all in Magny-cours!”
The French round of the series takes place this week with the season finale under floodlights in Qatar a fortnight later.
The heat, humidity combined with a tyre and engine problem could not prevent Alex Baldolini notching up his 6th top ten finish of the year in round 9 of the World Supersport championship at the Sepang Internatinal circuit on Sunday, the Italian elevating himself to 8th overall in the points standings with 3 races to go.
Another strong weekend saw Alex running close to the fastest times in all sessions, and an encouraging 4th in morning warm up gave him and the team great hope of a possible podium fight.
The race however saw the privately entered MV Agusta rider plagued from lap 3 with a lack of grip. Starting from 8th on the grid the tyre issue coupled with a yet unknown engine problem that meant he had no straight line speed in comparison to the previous sessions.
Nevertheless, Baldolini used his experience to finish a credible 10th, a mere second behind Christian Gamarino in 9th and comfortably ahead of the 11th placed finisher Dominic Schmitter.
In the championship Baldolini is now only 18 points behind 6th placed Roberto Rolfo, the Race Department ATK #25 rider focused firmly on improving further before the final chequered flag in Qatar.
Alex Baldolini – 10th in Sepang and now 8th overall in the WSS championship standings: “Obviously I'm not totally happy with this race, especially after the good practices, qualifying and the warm up. My target was to try to repeat the top 5 of Misano and after the 4th best time in the warm up I was really motivated and thought it was possible. I made a good start and I was running sixth but unfortunately I felt the engine wasn't as fast as throughout the weekend and I also had tyre problems after three laps. However it is another top ten achieved in our first year, we are after all running private bike. In all the races we have finished we have been inside the top 10 and I'm now 8th in the championship standings, which is good if we bear in mind I had 3 consecutives DNF’s due to engine problems. I'm looking forward Jerez round, I really like that track and I will be pushing for the top 6 if not the podium.”
In what could be described as the race of his year, Alex Baldolini rode an incredible race in last Sunday’s World Supersport championship race at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, claiming a season’s best 5th at the flag after starting from the back of the grid.
Qualifying strongly, Baldo almost missed the race completely after a post warm-up technical issue saw him have to start last after missing the sighting lap cut off. Nevertheless, a determined Alex was soon inside the point scoring positions and pushing hard, thanks to the brilliant work by the team to fix the problem.
By half distance he was closing in on the group fighting for 10th and after passing them set about chasing down a top 6 finish. Starting the final lap of the 4.2km circuit in 8th, the Race Department ATK#25 could hardly contain their delight as Alex crossed the line 5th, just pipping Fabio Menghi on the run to the line to claim his best result of the year.
In the championship Alex is now 9th overall and only 12 behind the 6th place rider which is the immediate target for the remainder of the season.
Alex Baldolini: “I’m really happy, it was a tough race but we showed again our pace. I want to thank all my crew that fixed the problem and get me on the grid for the race, even if I had to start from the last position. They have done perfect work during the weekend and should be proud of what we are achieving. The mechanics and I deserved this good result after all the problems in the last three races and all the effort that has been put in at home to fix things. It was an incredible race, we knew we had a good race pace, especially with old tyres, but I would never had imagined I could overtake so many riders starting from the very back of the grid. In the last laps I was really at my limit, I don’t really know how I managed to overtake all the riders of the group, I just gave it everything The last overtake on Fabio in the last corner of the last lap gave me the fifth position, it’s really difficult to overtake at that point! Finally the bike had a good feeling again like in the early races and everything went smooth during the race after the three zeros in a row. We are ready to face the last races of the season and we want to achieve our goals, which is a podium.”
After qualifying on the 2nd row in 6th, Alex was disappointed not to finish the Portimao World Supersport event last weekend.Nevertheless, as the Race Department ATK#25 team gears up for their home race in Misano, expectation is high, with everyone in the team and Alex not dwelling too much on what happened in Portugal.
Alex Baldolini:“We were really unlucky once again, the engine that broke during the race was new, and had done only few kilometres. I don’t know what to say because the team and the mechanics are working really hard both at home and here at the circuit and we don’t deserve what’s been happening. We are doing our best, but the technical problems are not making things easy. However, it’s been a positive weekend, last year I had many problems with the MV Agusta F3 in Portimao and this weekend it’s been like riding completely another bike. I’ve been really fast in all the sessions and I made the 6th position in qualifying which equals my best result from Imola. In the warm up I did the same qualifying lap-time with an old tyre and I was sure I could have done a really good race. Unfortunately in the middle of the race the engine broke and I was forced to retire, again. Misano is coming next week, it’s my home race and also the team’s home race so we want to do really well. We have paid enough with 3 retirements in a row after being always in the top 10 finishers in the opening races. We want to show again we are competitive. See you in Misano.”
Alex will also feature at the Paddock Show in Misano, talking fans around an board lap of the course on Saturday at 1200.
For the second consecutive race Alex Baldolini failed to finish, forced to retire his privately entered MV Agusta in the recent World Supersport race at Donington Park.
Racing with a completely stock engine, following the technical problems in Imola, Alex was racing well and could well have finished inside the top ten had he not been forced to pull in.
A former podium finisher in WSS, Alex and the entire Race Department ATK#25 squad know that they have the potential to fight for the podium again in 2015 and are working hard to be back in the points at the next round of the championship in Portugal in ten days time.
Alex Baldolini: “It's been another difficult weekend here at Donington. We had many problems and we had to compete with a Superstock engine instead of a Supersport one which put us on the back foot from the start. We worked really hard to find a good setup for my MV and I got to find a perfect feeling, especially in the last section of the track. During the race I was overtaking other riders and I'm sure I could have fought, at least, for the 10th position, but after few laps my bike stopped and I was forced to retire. It's a pity because we are losing more points after the zero score in Imola, but this is racing. Now we are working hard to fix the problems to be ready for Portimao where I am confident that we can return to the battle.”
Despite the non-score, Alex remains in 9th position in overall in the World Championship standings with the next race taking place at the undulating Portimao circuit in Portugal on June 7th.