Claudio Corti says he wants to be challenging for the World Superbike Championship title with MV Agusta as early as 2015 as both he and the manufacturer prepare to make their much anticipated series debut in Australia next month.
The Italian, a three-time Superstock 1000 runner-up, will embark on his first full season in WSBK heading up the all-new MV Agusta Reparto Corse factory, which will be run by defending Supersport champions Yakhnich Motorsport.
A new challenge for the 27-year-old, who most recently competed in MotoGP with Forward Racing, Corti made his debut at Jerez aboard the F4RR prior to the testing ban towards the end of last year, lapping reasonably well on what he says was a 'stock version of the bike.
Though the man himself admits the opening rounds will be a challenge given the relative lack of pre-season testing, he is confident that the bike will become competitive as the season progresses.
"The guys at the MV Agusta Reparto Corse - Yakhnich Motorsport had worked hard and developed new parts based on our feedback from the first test. We are going to try this stuff at Portimao on 19-20 January to see if we can make some steps further.
“The bike we tried at Jerez was a stock version of the F4, so it's hard to imagine what this one will be like. It's a shame we won't have much track time before the season opener, but I reckon once back to Europe we'll be quite competitive."
Having joined MV Agusta on a two-year contract, Corti is setting lofty ambitions for the future, adding that he wants to be contesting the overall title in 2015 when the series adopts new EVO-inspired regulations.
"The idea is to develop the bike as much as possible this year and then try and fight for the title in 2015 with the EVO version. The bike is not that new, but has many good aspects and I believe next year we'll do good things.
“The lap times we set with the stock bike back in Jerez were encouraging and the feeling at the front was incredible. It will be hard, because the level of the field is very high, but we'll do our best. As I just said to my dad, I really cannot wait to ride the bike again."
Setting a best time of 1min 42.9secs on his first outing at Jerez, Corti would complete the test 2.6secs slower than pace setter Tom Sykes, but remain within two seconds of other riders, including Loris Baz (+2.0secs), Marco Melandri (+1.7) and Leon Haslam (+0.7).
Corti made his WSBK debut in 2012 with a one-off outing for Pedercini Kawasaki.