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.
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.