Tati Mercado, in his first race for Orelac Racing VerdNatura, took a magnificent tenth place in the opening round of this year’s WorldSBK Championship at Phillip Island. The Argentinian had a race long battle with a group of riders and very nearly grabbed 9th place, but lost out by just the narrowest of margins at the flag.
Tati Mercado – 10th
“I am happy to finish 10th, especially when you consider that I started from the sixth row of the grid. I made a good start and took things a bit cautiously because the wind was very strong in places and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. It was quite a physical race and I definitely made contact with some other riders, but never in a dangerous way. When I got hit by Gagne, I almost crashed. Somehow I managed to stay on the bike, but I had dropped down to 15th position. I started battling away again and got into a battle for 10th. I think moved into 10th with just two laps to go and managed to stay there until the end. We made some small suspension changes to the bike after Superpole and it was a definite improvement. Our race pace today was good, so now we need to work on our qualifying pace so that we can start races further up the grid. But, at the moment, I am happy to finish my first race with the team in the top ten and looking forward to the next one.”
Giulio Bardi (Team Manager)
“I am extremely happy. Our target was a top ten and we achieved that. During practice we had an idea of what we wanted and so we concentrated on finding a good set-up for the race, instead of a fast lap in qualifying. Tati gave everything he had today and it was great to see him fighting for a top 10. The whole team have worked hard and this result is a good start to the season and makes us feel that we belong here.”
TATI 12TH IN PIT-STOP INTERRUPTED RACE
Orelac Racing VerdNatura rider Tati Mercado finished 12th in the WorldSBK Round 1, Race 2 in Phillip Island today. Because of tyre concerns, the 22-lap race featured a mandatory pit-stop to change tyres and this caused some confusion amongst the teams.
Tati Mercado – 12th
“We made some changes to the bike from yesterday to improve the rear grip with new tyres. The first part of the race, before I had to make a pit-stop, was not too bad because I had made a good start and I was having a good battle with Torres and Baz. When I pitted, after 11 laps, I was up to 8th place. But our pit-stop strategy didn’t quite work out and I think I lost too much time - nearly 15 seconds. When I got back out, I was alone and the rest of the race was a lonely one. I tried my hardest, but the rider in front had too much of an advantage and I couldn’t catch him. This is the first time that the team has been involved in a pit-stop so they had no previous experience. It’s one of the things that we will have to work on – in case we have to do it again.”
Giulio Bardi (Team Manager)
“We knew we would have to pit and we had a race plan, but unfortunately I think we made a little mistake and the plan didn’t work. We thought that it would be a good idea to change both the front and rear and maybe, in retrospect, that was not the best idea. We lost too much time. This was our first ‘flag to flag’ in WorldSBK and today proved that we need more experience. I don’t feel we did a bad job today – it’s just that some others did better.”