Rinaldi has no explanation for "strange" WSBK grip issues
Michael Ruben Rinaldi says he doesn’t understand the “strange” tyre grip issues that have plagued him in his first World Superbike season with the factory Ducati team after a tough weekend in Argentina.
Rinaldi struggled for one-lap pace all weekend at the El Villicum circuit, qualifying seven tenths off teammate and polesitter Scott Redding in ninth place.
He did mount a strong recovery to finish on the podium in the opening race, but the 10-lap Superpole contest again compromised his chances for the second full-distance race of the weekend, leaving him eighth on the grid.
The Italian says the issues with tyre grip are “mentally frustrating”, explaining how he is not able to extract more performance from his bike when the conditions allow others to do so.
“My race actually was good, I lost a lot of time overtaking [Leon] Haslam and [Michael] van der Mark and that took me out of the fight for the podium,” he said. “So if I look at that I was quite happy.
"I knew that our potential was of a Ducati 1-2 but we know our race was compromised because of qualifying and the Superpole.
“The problem is that when the track allows you to have more grip, every rider will be able to use it to go faster, [but] I'm not able to go faster. There's this same problem that I have had all year and it's so frustrating mentally.
“It's been the same since Aragon and we are working a lot to understand why, but we are not able to say, 'it's this or it's this'. Also, if they told me [it is because of my] riding style or how I use throttle, I will work on that.
“But we have no reason to explain this and my riding is good to win one race and the next race it’s not good [enough].
“My riding is good to make the 18th lap of the race [at] 1m37.9s. But in qualifying I did 1m38.3s with qualifying tyres, so it's so strange.
“With more grip I have more problems and everybody is going faster by at least half of a second. This is why I'm really, really frustrated because I put my 120 percent and also the team is doing 120 percent but we don't have an answer.”
Rinaldi’s results on Sunday contrasted with those of teammate Redding’s, with the British rider finishing just 0.046s behind winner Toprak Razgatlioglu in the Superpole race before taking a commanding victory in the second full-distance contest of the weekend.
But Rinaldi doesn’t think their difference in weight - with the Italian being lighter of the two - had anything to do with his struggles on the Ducati.
“I don't know if it's weight or something else that allows him to turn [and not] have the same problem as me,” he said. “But he'll have another problem.
“So my weight has some advantages but some bad things and it’s the same for him, so I'm not complaining about my weight and not saying he can put more weight on the rear tyre because it's bullshit.
“But for sure I have a problem that he doesn't have and that is something you have to fix. This year he was better than solving his problems than me.”
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