The Imola round of this year’s World Supersport championship promised much but delivered little after a technical problem in morning warm-up continued in the race, resulting in a retirement for Alex Baldolini in yesterday’s encounter.
Having qualified a superb 6th position after running as high as 4th earlier in the weekend, the team were in confident mood ahead of raceday.
A technical issue in the morning warm up session left the team with the only option of trying to change several parts as there was no time to conduct a full engine change. As the lights went out Alex immediately struck problems, losing several seconds to the pack of riders ahead before gradually clawing his way back into a point scoring position, only to retire 2 laps later when it looked as though a 5th consecutive top ten finish was on the cards.
Alex Baldolini: “It had been a perfect weekend until raceday. We've worked very well on the set-up of the bike during free practice and we showed a very strong pace during finishing every session between 4th and 7th, qualifying 6th. Unfortunately the bike had problems during morning warm up and I could not complete a single lap. We didn’t have enough time to change the engine before the race, so we tried to change some parts. During the sighting lap the bike seemed ok but unluckily during the warm up lap the problem came back and my engine wasn't working as it should. I tried to start but during the first lap the bike didn't work. I was last one with a big gap to the front when suddenly the bike started working again so I tried to push to catch the riders in front of me. It was quite easy and I overtook riders with a really good pace (the same as the 5th) but then when I was about to overtake Menghi and Gamarino the engine broke and I was forced to enter pits and retire. It's a pity because I'm sure I would have finished in the top 10 again even with this problem. It's not the end I wanted for this special weekend, I really love this circuit and we worked really well, we deserved a different end. However, I'm very confident for the next races as we showed once again that we can fight for top positions. I want to thank my team and all my friends who came to see me during the weekend. We will be back strong at Donington Park.”
The Race Department ATK#25 team will now regroup ready for the next race at Donington Park in the UK this weekend.
There have been four races in the 2015 World Supersport championship and so far Alex Baldolini has raced his privately entered MV Agusta into the top ten on each occasion.
The recent Dutch round, the 4th round of the year saw Alex once again struggle in qualifying but fight through the field to secure another 7 world championship points after a determined ride to 9th.
Assen is not a circuit that Alex is particularly fond of so the result is pleasing for him and the Race Department ATK#25 squad, as they once again found what was missing during morning warm to give them a fighting chance come race time.
Sunday’s result at Assen maintains Baldo’s position inside the overall top ten of the World Championship.
The next round takes place not far from Alex’s home, at the iconic Imola circuit. Imola is a circuit that Alex loves and given his pace in the opening encounters of 2015, he is confident of putting on a good show in the first of two visits to Italy in this year’s campaign.
Alex Baldolini – “Again, here in the Netherlands it hasn’t been an easy round. As “tradition” says, in the qualifying session we were further back than we should be and this doesn’t help us for the race. After the warm up, thanks to the last minute changes by the team on the setup of my MV I had a good feeling when braking and I was confident for the race. I started carefully since I wanted to be sure that the tyres were at the right temperature before pushing to the limit, because it was too cold, however, surprisingly I was able to overtake some riders during the first laps. I was held a little by Wahr and Gamarino, I got stuck behind them even though I had a faster pace, but I wasn’t able to overtake them. Faccani overtook them and ran away, but Gamarino and Wahr were overtaking each other several times and that slowed the laptimes until they touched and crashed just in front of me. Fortunately I could avoid them and I didn’t crash, even though I lost a lot of time and the group behind us overtook me. I tried to be relaxed and on the last laps I overtook Rea, Cardenas and Russo to finish 9th. I’m quite satisfied, I know we can do better but bagging another top10 in a track which I don’t like is always positive. I can’t wait for the Imola Round, a track that I really love, I hope I can get a good spot on the grid to show our real potential during the race.”
Photo Credit to Vaclav Duska
Alex Baldolini maintained his run of scoring top ten finishes in the 2015 World Supersport championship, claiming a well-deserved 6th position at MotorLand to elevate himself into 7th overall in the standings.
Once again dogged by some small technical problems, coupled with a crash that left him and the team playing catch up, the Race Department ATK#25 MV Agusta would find himself way back on the grid, as in Phillip Island and Buriram.
But for the third consecutive race, the hard charging former podium finisher fought hard, passing a number of rivals every lap, to finish 6th after overtaking compatriot Fabio Menghi on the final lap.
So focused was Baldolini that he was unaware of his position after the 16 lap encounter, returning to the parc ferme to the hugs and delight of his team.
Alex Baldolini: “It’s been another hard weekend, but if in all remaining races we can finish like this, we can also put up with what we suffer during the practices! Just kiddin! We had a good start on Friday morning but in the afternoon I crashed on the very first lap of the session and I lost a lot of time in the pits. We broke the engine on Saturday morning and lost more time; the qualifying session wasn’t good and we had to start again from near the back of the grid. The warm up session went well and we were fast with the tyres we chose for the race, so I was confident. I had a good start and focused on overtaking riders during the first laps, I noticed my pace was quite good and I pushed and pushed. I was arriving soon to the riders I had ahead and I could overtake them, but didn’t know my position because I was concentrating so hard so I didn’t look at my board. When they told me I had finished in 6th position I was really happy. I’m happy because my crew deserves this result since they are the ones working really hard to give me a perfect bike. We just have to improve in qualifying and then I’m sure we won’t be too far from the leading group.”
The 4th round of the World Supersport championship takes place at the iconic Assen TT circuit this weekend.
Alex Baldolini had an encouraging start to his World Supersport return, finishing 7th in the opening race of 2015 after a spirited ride on his MV Agusta machine at Phillip Island.
The former Supersport podium finisher has worked hard during the winter to create his own new look Race Department ATK#25 Team, and after being consistently towards the front of the speed traps all weekend, as well as racing for a top 6 spot on his full time comeback, the hard work seems to have paid off.
Baldolini didn’t make life easy for himself however, the Italian struggling in qualifying, joking afterwards that he had ‘been asleep’.
Nevertheless, he wasted no time when the lights went out, slicing through the field and into the top ten within the first 3 laps. As the race went on Alex found himself on the verge of a top 6 finish, only to lose out to former champion Kenan Sofuoglu on the final lap.
Alex Baldolini – 7th position: “Considering what happened in qualifying it was a good race. I knew my pace was good but I also knew how important it was to be aggressive in the first lap. After it all went to plan I tried to maintain my pace and soon I was in a fight with Rolfo. After the 11th lap the tyre began to move a lot and I was sliding so I was unable to break away from him. The final lap was a good fight with Kenan and Roby. I overtook Roby but wasn’t quite able to pass Kenan at the flag. I’m really happy with how things have gone in Australia and this result is a good way to thank the people in the team for all their hard work and to reward our sponsors who made this all possible.”
The Race Department ATK#25 squad will move on to Thailand and the newly constructed Buriram circuit on the 22nd March for the next round of the championship and after this weekend’s result are evaluating the prospect of running a 2nd bike for the remainder of the season starting in Aragon.
Despite suffering from flu, Alex Baldolini has kick-started his full time return to the World Supersport championship in positive style by posting the tenth fastest time aboard his Race Department ATK #25 MV Agusta in the official two day test at Phillip Island.
Baldolini, who finished 6th at Phillip Island on his Supersport debut in will contest the entire series this year after making several wildcard appearances last year.
The likeable Italian has one WSS podium under his belt (Misano 2012) and is optimistic of a strong 2015 season.
Alex Baldolini - “These two days of testing have been very useful especially considering my high temperature and fever since I arrived in Australia. We couldn’t manage all of the laps that we wanted as I was tiring very quickly but we completed enough to try many different things on the MV. I hope that my physical condition improves before the weekend proper begins but nevertheless we have a very competitive team and finally I feel really comfortable on the MV Agusta F3 so I cannot wait to start racing.”
(Michael Hill Promotions)