09/19/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/19/2021 11:31
Rinaldi claimed two podiums during the 2021 Catalunya Round and used knowledge from 2020 to his advantage this year
A strong start from fifth positive in Race 2 for the Hyundai N Catalunya Round gave Michael Ruben Rinaldi (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) the foundations for a shot at victory at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and he duly delivered in dry conditions on Sunday as he claimed the fourth MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship victory of his career after battling with Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) in the 19-lap encounter.
Rinaldi made a good start from the second row of the grid and swept around the outside of Turn 1 to take the lead of the race before Razgatlioglu was able to peg him back. The Turkish star, who finished second and claimed the Championship lead, crossed the timing point at the end of the first three laps in first place before Rinaldi overtook him on Lap 4.
Razgatlioglu responded eight laps later on Lap 12 of 19 to take the lead but, once again, Rinaldi only let that last for three laps before reclaiming the lead of Race 2 on Lap 15 and led from there until the chequered flag fell. It was his first win since the Tissot Superpole Race at Misano and the third of the 2021 season, moving Rinaldi into fourth place in the standings after a strong weekend for the Italian rider. He also finished third in Race 1 in wet conditions, where afterwards he admitted he was 'upset' at the rain falling before the race as he thought he could fight for victory, something he backed up in Race 2.
For Race 2, Rinaldi was able to draw on his experience from 2020 when he impressed in both full-length races using the SCX tyre only to fall back in the latter stages of the race with him and teammate Scott Redding the only riders to use Pirelli's SC0 tyre throughout the 19-lap battle, with all their rivals on the SCX A0557 development solution.
Looking back on Race 2, Rinaldi commented: 'I'm really happy about this win because we arrived from a difficult moment. Yesterday after the rain I was a little bit upset because I knew we had a strong pace in the dry. We managed third which wasn't bad. I said, 'today is my day, I need to go for it'. The tyre choice was difficult actually because everyone was going for the soft, but last year I saw there was too much drop at the end of the race. I took a risk, but it worked, so really happy about that.'
Rinaldi's Catalan success comes off the back of a difficult run of results and races as he struggled to consistently secure results inside the top six after a podium in the Superpole Race at the TT Circuit Assen, with third in Race 1 his best result since that podium. Prior to the Catalunya Round, Rinaldi had only scored three top-six results following his Dutch podium but rectified that with two podiums in Barcelona.
The Italian was thankful to his team following this poor run, saying: 'I want to dedicate this win to my team. In the difficult races, they were there supporting and always they didn't complain about me. We always tried to work and understand what happened. Today is a great win for us and now we go to Jerez, a track I really like.'
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