2011 World Superbike
In the following WSBK report, BMW Motorrad Italia Team Manger Serafino Foti talks about this season’s results so far. For a photo essay of the paddock World Superbike action, click here.
Following their success in the FIM Superstock 1000 Cup in 2010 with Ayrton Badovini, all eyes have been on the BMW Motorrad Italia team this year in their first season in World Superbike.
And so far they appear to have lived up to expectations, with the young Italian capable of improving race after race. Badovini has on occasions even been ahead of the factory team riders Leon Haslam and Troy Corser, and his best result has been a fourth place in race 2 at Misano Adriatico, just a whisker away from a sensational podium.
One man who is certainly happy with the results obtained so far is Serafino Foti, the BMW Motorrad Italia team manager and a long-time figure in the SBK paddock.
After a number of years experience in and around Ducati, Foti is clearly a key part of the Italian squad, which is now aiming to capitalize on its early season form. This possibility will certainly be improved with a full-time return to racing for two-time champion James Toseland following a difficult first half of the season.
WSBK: This is BMW Motorrad Italia’s first year in World Superbike, but you’ve made major progress in the early rounds, especially with Badovini. Is everything going according to plan? Did you think it would take more or less time to reach this point?
Serafino Foti says: "To be honest we knew that the start of the season was going to be difficult, because the project got underway at the end of October and we didn’t have enough time to prepare for the first race. We also had bad weather in the only two test sessions planned at the start of the championship and this hampered the development programme. All the team have been and are working well and we’ve made a lot of progress in such a short time. I’d say that it’s all going to plan, because our objective was to get in amongst the top 10 in the second part of the season."
WSBK: So what are you realistically expecting now for the rest of the season?
Serafino Foti says: "To stay constantly in the top 10, while continuing to work on improving our bike, and trying to gain some more good results in the next few races."
Q. Ayrton is proving he can compete with the top guys, and the support and feeling that was already in place last year appears to have created a special rapport. How important has this been so far and can it be for the future?
Serafino Foti says: "When you score positive results, team-work is a decisive factor. A rider is not a computer but a human being who needs all the support he can get to perform at his best."
Q. You’ve got one rider currently in great form, but his team-mate finds himself in a difficult moment. What can the team manager and the team do to manage these two totally different situations?
Serafino Foti says: "Even though they are two completely opposing situations the difference comes from James’ misfortune and his nasty injury, which was worse than first thought. What we have done and will continue to do is to give all the support necessary to help him get back to being the rider he was before: a two-time world champion who is only 30 years of age simply cannot finish his career in this way. We are very close to him and will be until the end of the season.
"As for Ayrton, his constant improvement is a demonstration of great commitment, but it is in a very delicate phase because all it takes is one brief moment for you to become a great champion or remain just a rider like many others. We’re all working together and we hope that the first option comes true."