Michael Ruben Rinaldi: 2024 “the toughest season in WorldSBK for me”

Michael Ruben Rinaldi admits the 2024 WorldSBK season has so far been ‘the toughest’ of his career.

Michael Ruben Rinaldi, WorldSBK, Catalunya, 22 March
Michael Ruben Rinaldi, WorldSBK, Catalunya, 22 March

Following his move to the Motocorsa Ducati team, Michael Ruben Rinaldi has been unable to show the type of form that saw him win several WorldSBK races aboard the factory Ducati machine.

While the Panigale V4 R Rinaldi is riding at present is very similar to the bike he had previously, results have been nowhere near what he would have expected.

Rinaldi has suffered technical issues throughout the opening three rounds, however, it’s clear that something has not gelled between himself the the Italian team.

Discussing his start to the year, Rinaldi told WorldSBK.com: “It’s been, I think, the toughest season for me in World Superbike.

“We are not able to achieve the results that we’re used to and for that reason, I’m quite upset.

“If I had to talk about the first rounds, I can’t say anything positive unfortunately. It is what it is and that’s it.

“Before the season started, our goal was to keep fighting for what we’re used to, which is podiums and, on good occasions, for the win.

“We faced too many technical issues at the start of the season, and during pre-season testing. That breaks the chemistry you need to have for the top positions and so it’s tough at the moment.

“Also, the situation in the team is tense. We will see what happens, if we can get out of this situation, but it’s a really rough moment and tough to face this kind of situation especially when you’re used to better results.

“For a rider, it’s difficult to handle 13th position. There is nothing I can do more than what I’m doing but, at the moment, it’s not possible to stay at the top level and it’s a shame.”

‘Really difficult in this championship’

While the technical problems Rinaldi has faced haven’t helped, the Italian has also rued the lack of testing.

“Results not coming, technical problems we face, engine problems in three races didn’t help the situation inside the team,” added Rinaldi.

“It’s really difficult in this championship to achieve good results if everything is okay let alone if you face some problems.

“For example, we can see Iannone has been really strong at tracks where he tested. But at Assen, where like everybody else, there were weather conditions problems, it was difficult to stay on top.

“I’ve been facing these kinds of problems since the beginning of the year. It’s almost unachievable to stay at the front.

“The only solution is to have more issues with the bike and the team, start from zero, and have some races back on my level but it’s really difficult.”

Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Dutch WorldSBK, 21 April
Michael Ruben Rinaldi, Dutch WorldSBK, 21 April

In terms of overcoming the ongoing issues, Rinaldi is unsure how to best deal with the situation going forward.

Rinaldi said: “I cannot speak about this because it’s something we need to handle inside the team, even if I think it’s really difficult to solve.

“I cannot give the details, but the situation is not easy. I’ll try to do my best, perform at my best as always, but the situation is really difficult.

“We have many problems and we’re not seeing the light. It’s not easy to go into the details because it’ll take a long time and there’s nothing I want to say.

“The situation is not easy, I’m not happy and that’s it.”

Looking at 2025, Rinaldi is hoping he can secure a top ride but he’s well aware that his difficult start won’t have made that easy.

Rinaldi said: “We don’t know about the future because in motorsport, you never know. In the first races, my goal was to stay at the front with good results and earn a good contract for 2025.

“The results aren’t there so, at the moment, I need to go back to fighting for good positions and see what the offers are.

“In this kind of moment, only the top riders in the championship can have an almost signed contract but I think I need to wait until half the season is done.”

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