Just this year and we haven't discussed anything for next year. That's normal in Superbikes though because the season finishes very late, it finishes in November [the Indian season finale has since been cancelled
]. I imagine we'll start talking in September or October.
Do you anticipate staying?
I don't know.
I'd really like to stay with Ducati though, I like them. At the moment I am just racing this bike with this team at this race and don't want to distract myself with future plans.
The Panigale is doing very well in Superstock but not in WSBK, why is that?
The bike is good for Superstock but not for Superbike, the rules dictate that. In Superbike the four-cylinders can have quite extreme tunes but that isn't allowed in Superstock.
In Superbikes I'm down 20km/h on the straight whereas Niccolo [Canepa, Ducati Superstock rider] only loses maybe 1 or 2 km/h to the fastest bikes. Basically for us the problem is the power. In Russia for example I was one of the fastest in the sector with curves and then lost five or six tenths on the straight.
The championship has certain rules and at the moment they don't favour us. The two cylinder bikes as the rules stand simply can't live with the four cylinder ones.
The air restrictor situation has been reviewed after every three races but it seems to be making little difference and the four-cylinder bikes are also making big improvements. Some of the four cylinder bikes we've got here are pretty much the same level as those in MotoGP and that gives us little chance. At the moment there is an imbalance in power.
The handling is very good though and I'm always one of the fastest in the twisty sections.
Doesn't it affect your confidence when you know you are down on power?
No that certainly isn't an excuse, it's just the reality of the situation. Also it's a compromise I always knew would be part of this project so it's a question of professionalism and dignity that I always do my best.
In racing it is always difficult to get a winning bike and I'm doing my best to try to build up a race-winning bike with this team. I knew that when I first tested the bike that we weren't ready, what you don't know is how much progress you can make. What I do know for sure is that you won't make any progress without pushing.
At the moment we're struggling to be in the top five or seven, but this is our position and we have to be realistic. I have to have a clear vision of what I'm doing and where I am and then I can put my maximum effort in even if we can't win.
For me the final result is to try to make the bike better and to make some improvements. If the race results in some improvements then that's a good result, at this time, the main focus is development
How do you feel about the planned rule changes to a more Superstock specification for WSBK?
I welcome them. It would only be an advantage to Ducati as we're winning in Superstock.