Andrea Iannone making up for lost time, turns heads with pace in WorldSBK test

Andrea Iannone making up for lost time, turns heads with pace in WorldSBK test

Andrea Iannone provided arguably the most intriguing headline after two days of WorldSBK pre-season testing at Jerez after ending two days of track time with the fifth fastest lap.

The ex-MotoGP rider is gearing up for his first competitive season of racing since 2019 after he was suspended for four years over doping violations.

At the time, Iannone, a race winner with Ducati in premier class, was coming to the end of his 2019 MotoGP campaign with Aprilia, but the ban – which was extended from 18 months to four years on appeal by the World Anti-Doping Association – means Iannone hasn’t prohibited from even testing a racing-specification machine until the suspension ended in November 2023.

Nevertheless, Iannone has been given a renewed shot at international success by Team Go Eleven, which gave him his first run on its Ducati Panigale V4 R at Jerez in November.

Now with two more days of track time under his belt, Iannone has swiftly established himself as a competitive entry by ending the test fifth quickest. Despite the strong result, Iannone says there is still much for him to learn about Superbikes.

 “It wasn’t so bad. It’s our goal and focus to improve day by day. Today, we changed something on the bike, and we went a different way compared to yesterday. In the end, I’m quite happy. I need more kilometres, need to have more experience with the bike, the team and the tyres, but I think we finished the first test of the year in a good way. 

“We’re not so far away. I think I did my best lap with the SCX tyre, so we are more or less the best rider! We struggled a little bit with the SCQ. I tried one Q tyre today, but we weren’t ready, the bike changed a lot, and I didn’t have experience. 

“We’ll try it one more time at Portimao to change the setup a little bit and so the team understands what I want with this tyre. I used the race tyre well, but not the SCQ.”

Though his progress was stunted when he suffered a low speed crash, Iannone feels he is getting to grips with his new challenge.

“I think my race pace was quite good. I don’t know about everybody else. We tried more or less a half race distance today and we, apart from the first laps, were always in the 1’39s. 

“I think it’s good, but I think it’s a little bit early to understand everything and to say that we’re okay. At Turn 2, when I exited from the box and pit lane, I lost the front at 2km/h!.”


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