Andrea Iannone’s WSBK debut: “I needed my team manager to explain the rules!”

Andrea Iannone returns from four years away this weekend at the WSBK '24 opener in Australia

Andrea Iannone, Australian WorldSBK, 22 February
Andrea Iannone, Australian WorldSBK, 22 February

Andrea Iannone needed a helpful reminder of World Superbikes’ rules ahead of his comeback from a four-year absence.

A doping ban has kept the ex-MotoGP rider sidelined since 2019.

Iannone, now aged 34, has joined GoEleven Ducati in WSBK this year.

“I don’t know what to expect,” he said ahead of this weekend’s season-opener in Phillip Island.

“Everything is new for me.

“The format is completely different. I needed my team manager to explain the rules to me!

“I am really excited.

“It’s a strange feeling. But I am happy to be here.

“This is what I have loved most, all my life.”

Iannone has frequently been a part of test days with MotoGP Ducati riders over the past year as he ramped up his comeback plans.

But increasing the speed during preseason has provided a greater gauge of his true potential, and there is some excitement over Iannone’s addition to the grid.

He assessed his preparation: “Not bad. I am a little bit surprised.

“The speed, in general, was high. We weren’t sure, at the beginning.

“In four years I never tried to ride a race bike.

“It’s a good preseason for us.”

What can Iannone realistically achieve after a four-year absence? In a brand-new series?

“We want to try to fight with the best riders,” he insisted.

“The first 10 positions is our goal, our target.

“When we arrive higher than 10th, it is perfect.

“Step by step, race by time, we need to improve and achieve better results.”

But surely Iannone is targeting podiums - and perhaps more - at some stage this year?

He answered: “Realistic? It is difficult because I’m coming back.

“It’s a clear situation. We will try our best, for sure.”

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