Leandro "Tati" Mercado wins on a Ducati 1199 R the 2014 Superstock 1000 FIM Cup
- At the end of a very successful season, the Ducati 1199 Panigale R, ridden by the Argentinian rider Leandro ‘Tati’ Mercado of the Barni Racing Team, has triumphed in the final round at Magny-Cours to secure the riders’ title in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup
- Three different riders have powered the 1199 Panigale R to the podium in six out of seven races, including three race wins
- This is the fifth riders’ title for Ducati in the Superstock 1000 category since 2007
A championship fight that went all the way to the wire saw Argentinian rider Leandro ‘Tati' Mercado and the Barni Racing team power their Ducati 1199 Panigale R to title victory in the final round of the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup season at the Magny-Cours circuit in France.
The young Argentinian rider started the season in style, winning the opening round at Aragon in April. Scoring further podium finishes at both the Italian rounds of Imola and Misano, ‘Tati' (this is his nickname) returned to winning ways at the penultimate round of Jerez, crossing the line first and scoring an all-important 25 points which meant that he would go into the final race weekend, at Magny-Cours, as the championship leader, with a small but significant five point advantage over second-placed Savadori (Kawasaki). It would be a two-way fight for the title, as the third- and fourth-placed riders Ondrej Jezek and Fabio Massei, both also riding 1199 Panigale R bikes with the Barni Racing and EAB Racing teams respectively, were no longer in the running mathematically.
During the nail-biting season finale, which took place today at the Magny-Cours circuit, Tati made an unbelievable recovery from eleventh on the grid (after a crash during qualifying). Over the course of the first 14 laps, and by taking incredible risks on a slippery track, the Argentinian rider cut a path through the field, moving up from thirteenth to sixth position, moving ever closer to title victory. Savadori, lying second on the penultimate lap, suffered a crash on the final lap. Mercado continued to push, keeping control of his bike to close the race in fourth place.
With a final tally of four podiums from seven races, Tati secured the 2014 title with a total of 117 points (to the 109 scored by second-placed Savadori).
This is the fifth time that a Ducati rider has won the class since 2007 (Canepa 2007, Roberts 2008, Simeon 2009, Giugliano 2011).
This is the first Superstock 1000 FIM Cup title for team Barni Racing, with the Italian outfit having finished second in the last two editions of the championship. The team has, however, had significant success in the CIV Italian Superbike championship, winning various titles with Ducati in the Superbike and Superstock 1000 categories each year since 2009.
Comments after today's race:
Leandro "Tati" Mercado - Team Barni Racing #36:
"It's been an absolutely crazy weekend. I made a good start and the practice sessions all went well. But then in qualifying, while out on a new tyre, I crashed. At that point, knowing that I was eleventh on the grid today, I knew that it would be extremely difficult to win today. It was clear that the only thing to do was push as hard as possible. I started to make up lost ground, but had to take a lot of risks - I nearly crashed on at least a couple of occasions. Then I saw that Savadori had crashed... I want to thank everyone who has helped me to reach this point - Ducati, team Barni Racing, my family and friends, my Argentinian fans. It's thanks to all of them that I am here today. It's a dream come true to win the Superstock 1000 title!"
Marco Barnabò - Barni Racing Team Manager:
"We are of course extremely happy! We've finally won the Stock 1000 championship after having finished in second place on three occasions. Today was very difficult in the wet and we knew we were not in a position to win the race outright. But Tati had faith - without his determination we would not have won today. So we thank Tati for the race he made today. He was able to bring the bike to the finish line - yesterday he made a small mistake but there were no mistakes today. I thank the entire team, both the guys working here at the track but also those working hard at home. I thank everyone in Ducati for their constant support - there is great collaboration between us. And special thanks goes to my family, without their help I wouldn't be able to do this job."
Ernesto Marinelli - Ducati Superbike Project Director
"The victory of the 1199 Panigale R in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup is extremely important for Ducati and I want to thank Tati for having won the title on what was a very difficult day in terms of track conditions. I thank Marco Barnabò for his constant efforts and collaboration and the entire Barni Racing Team; they have all worked extremely hard all season and deserve this important result."