Bittersweet Sunday for Barni Racing Team at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Australia, where the MOTUL FIM World Superbike Championship round 1 took place. While Rinaldi had a great performance in the new-brand Superpole Race being eighth at the end of the morning 10 laps sprint race, he was checked by lack of grip in race 2, concluding only sixteenth.
The first ever Tissot Superpole Race in the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship saw Rinaldi competing in the second group for eighth place. It was a dramatic fast-paced ten lap race from lights-out to chequered flag and Rinaldi lived up the new format.
Being eighth after the first turn he was moved down by Cortese before the end of the first lap, but soon it was the battle we had all waited to see: at lap 2 Sykes and Melandri went off the line at turn 1 and Rinaldi overtook them taking the seventh place and scoring his fastest lap 1'30.884.
Despite of this the rider from Rimini was not able to reach the first group ahead and with two laps to go Melandri passed him. Under the chequered flag Rinaldi was eighth gaining two more points in the Championship standings. Thanks to this result he remained in the third row in race 2 starting grid.
Despite a good start from eighth spot that led him in fifth place after few corners, Rinaldi lost positions in the first quarter of the race slipping down in 14th position. On lap 6 his fastest lap came with 1'32.537, but he had an half a second slower pace than race 1 and at lap 8 the italian rider lost one more position in favor of Reiterberger.
From the beginning of the race Rinaldi suffered lack of grip at the rear tyre and five laps to go he decided to enter in the pit. Then the Barni Racing Team rider re-joined the track finishing the race sixteenth.
Marco Barnabò - Team Principal
«Despite the positive developments throughout the weekend, race 2 left a slate-aftertase. We have to check what was the problem on the bike: maybe something at the rear tyre because from the first lap the rider had no grip neither in acceleration nor in braking. It's a shame because with a good start as he had managed to do we expected a result in line with the ninth place of yesterday and not worse».
«Speaking in general the weekend was positive. We always had improvements until the Superpole race where I managed to ride strong. In race 2, despite a good start, I immediately realized that something was wrong. I tried to stay on track, but few laps to go I had to stop at the pit. I wanted to come back to finish the race and try to understand if the problem was solved, but at that point the result was compromised».