Andrea Iannone ‘didn’t expect this level, more or less in top three’

Andrea Iannone was one of the standout performers at the Phillip Island WorldSBK test, finishing fourth fastest.

Andrea Iannone, Australian WorldSBK, 20 February
Andrea Iannone, Australian WorldSBK, 20 February

After competitive outings at Jerez and Portimao last month, Andrea Iannone was again in the positions many expect him to be in for much of the 2024 WorldSBK campaign.

The former MotoGP rider finished just under half a second down on Toprak Razgatlioglu, who along with Nicolo Bulega had a sizable advantage over everyone else.

But it was with race tyres that Iannone shone the most as he was consistently inside the top three.

“I think the day is a little bit better compared to the past,” said Iannone. “In the end, it’s always a balance. With the soft tyres, I ride slower than with the race tyres and this is a big problem.

“Maybe I have a good race pace, but I have to start further back and it’s bad to recover a lot of positions. We need to learn and improve in this area.

“After a long time, I think it’s a good comeback. My position is not bad. I need to learn this category because everything is different.

“The tyres change a lot and the bike and format. I don’t know what to expect.”

For any rookie getting the best out of qualifying tyres seems to be one of the hardest challenges in WorldSBK.

Iannone is unable to show the same pace in qualifying trim, and as a result believes his race results could be heavily impacted.

Iannone added: “In any case, it’s really good because, after four years, I’m excited because I didn’t expect to arrive at this level. I’m proud of this.

“We struggled a lot especially with the soft tyres, I ride slower than with a race tyre! This is the big problem.

“We have a Superpole Race, and in this race, we use soft tyres. In Superpole, we need to start in front. In the end, the positive thing is with the SC1, and in general in these tests, we are always more or less in the top three.

“We struggle a lot with soft tyres and it’s the third time we’ve had this problem. I’m a little bit worried about this. I’m surprised.

“I don’t know how to explain my pace, but I prefer it like this! Everything is natural so I’m happy. With the race tyres, we are really close; sometimes we are the best, sometimes we are top three.

“This is the most important thing. It’s important we calm down because this is just the beginning.”

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