At the new San Juan Villicum WorlSBK circuit, Xavi Fores once again gave the official Ducati riders such a hard time on his Barni Racing Panigale that he beat them both in race two, finishing second only to Rea and only just over three seconds behind.
From his pole position in race two he was aggressive but controlled in the lead, with Rea going past just before half race distance.
This was Fores fifth podium of the season, on a weekend where Toprak Razgatlioglu also showed that the privateers – or Independent Riders in Dorna speak – can have their day too, especially when the factory teams have no more data to start off with at a new track than them.
Fores and Razgatlioglu’s machines are of course very, very similar to the official ones, the rules and cost capping of parts dictate it now, but Fores taking the top privateer mantle for the year is well deserved for a rider who started strong, had a relative mid season dip, but recovered strongly.
Shame that he will almost certainly be ousted from his team in 2018… Another good rider with no immediate offer on the table.
“I had the rhythm also on Saturday to stay on the podium but the first laps were so crazy and I lost a lot of gap,” he said. “Starting from the pole was a little bit more easy and I made my pace lap-by-lap. Today it was a better. When Johnny overtook me I was trying to stay with him. This podium means a lot because it means we did a good job during the whole season and I think this is good for me for the future. But unfortunately it is still the same - I have no idea about next season. My target right now is to finish the season in the best way possible and see what happens in the future. It does not depend on me, I did my best on the track. I made five podiums and missed a few more podiums crashing or having some problems with the bike. It has been my best season so far and, if I have no bike for next season, I cannot do anything.”
To win the championship-within-a championship was a big deal for Fores, but his aims are even higher on a personal level. To compete with all the official entries, not just be the best privateers.
“My target from the very first race this season was to stay on the podium as much as I can,” said Fores. “This championship win means a lot, especially for this team. They did a big effort this year to stay on top each race and it is something that is good for me and for my CV. My target was to stay inside the top five in the championship and I do not know if I am sixth or seventh right now (he is seventh, 19 points behind Alex Lowes. I will fight to stay in the top six at the end of the season and try to improve my final points standing from last season.”
One more race weekend for Fores and all in WorldSBK, at Losail under the floodlights in two weeks’ time.