Andrea Iannone on maiden WorldSBK podium; ‘I’m living the dream’

Andrea Iannone admits he did not expect to be at the level of challenging for WorldSBK podiums in his first race.

Andrea Iannone, Race 1, Australian WorldSBK, 24 February
Andrea Iannone, Race 1, Australian WorldSBK, 24 February

A brilliant qualifying performance was backed up with a maiden WorldSBK podium by Andrea Iannone.

The former MotoGP rider made the perfect start as he immediately took the lead away from fellow rookie Nicolo Bulega. 

Although Iannone and Bulega swapped positions as the race went on, the former managed to lead several laps as the more experienced Alex Lowes and Toprak Razgatlioglu began struggling to keep the same pace set by Iannone.

When Bulega came through to take the lead, Iannone was the only rider able to keep pace with the factory Ducati rider.

In fact, it wasn’t until the pit stop sequence that Iannone lost ground with Bulega. After dropping to last place of the quartet involving Lowes and Razgatlioglu, Iannone swiftly came back through before succumbing to Andrea Locatelli for second.

Speaking about his return to racing with a bang, Iannone said: “It’s incredible for me; I didn’t expect this comeback and I’m living the dream.

“When you have a feeling with the bike it’s important but for me, it’s fantastic to be at this level. I saw a lot of support from other people and this is more important than the level that I’m at now.

“It’s pure energy for me after all these years. The race was much better and when I was leading, I was full of emotions and it was a little bit ‘wow, a shock!’.

“I made a mistake twice but we’re not at 100% with the engine braking. For the start, it’s OK!

“Tomorrow is a different day so we’ll try to improve but without any stress.

“It’s important that we smile right now and enjoy this.”

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