Two-time World Champion Sandro Cortese’s last chance at a WorldSBK berth could be in the hands of Lucio Pedercini if sponsorship deals fall into place over the next couple of weeks.
Cortese had an up and down introduction to the WorldSBK championship in 2019, on a GRT Yamaha, but lost his job for 2020 and with some options closed off in the final round of rider signings, including some chance with Barni and also Ten Kate, Cortese has no defined ride this year.
“At the moment I have no idea to be honest,” Cortese told bikesportnews.com. “Lucio Pedercini came to me in Jerez and told me that he had no riders. Savadori is going to the test team in Aprilia and Torres is riding MotoE and has signed some Spanish contract. For a Spanish ride.
“He (Lucio) couldn’t tell me anything yet. He said when he knows something he will come back to me. He could not tell me what it is but he said he would inform me if he had any news. This chapter is still even not open because we did not discuss anything yet.
So he was still searching to for a budget to finance the season, and as you know I have no sponsor that I can bring, with 300,000 Euros. I have like my personal sponsors. But, you can make one race.”
Cortese spent two days at Jerez and one at Portimao on the Barni Ducati as a stand-in for Leon Camier but there seems no chance of a second Barni bike, or any other realistic WorldSBK option for Cortese right now. “
“I wish I had an opportunity here give my best and help Ducati as such as I can in these two days and show that I am fast, I really tried las year to join Barni but unfortunately it did not happen.
“But still they have given me a chance and I really appreciate it. Every team, when they take another rider, if there is a possibility to ride they always call you. Marco Barnabo (Barni team principal) was one of the first guys, when he heard what happened with Ten Kate he called me and said he was very sorry and he wants to help me, whatever he can do.
“And the first occasion he has given me the opportunity to have this test. There are not many people in the paddock who are so open, friendly and correct like him. For me it would be like a dream to join Ducati and stay in this team but let’s see what the future brings.”
The German’s two-day planned test became one after he suffered a big crash and took skin off his hands so hard he stopped riding – and Camier unexpected took to the track on the final day.
“First day in the dry with a Ducati and for day one it was a good one. I was a very good experience and we did many things. I could give them my information I knew from the Yamaha that maybe they can bring on this bike,” said Cortese.
“It is obviously a completely different bike to ride. You have to change your riding style. It has so much power, this bike. You have to change your riding style. It is a real racing bike. Coming from the Yamaha, which gives you immediately a safe feeling, smooth engine and forgives your mistakes.
This bike is very aggressive, powerful. It is like a lady - and a very nice lady. I said it was love at first sight. There is so much potential in this bike. You have to really understand the bike first to go really fast.”
Cortese gave more details of his experience on the near-official machine, but running Showa suspension.
“We worked with small steps. We worked on the electronics, a lot on the base set-up to find a way for me and like everything is new. The Showa is completely different from the Öhlins, the Ducati is new to me and the electronics is so much different to the Yamaha. Overall it was a positive day.”
With no prior knowledge of the bike except from the generally wet Jerez tests, Cortese still got to test some new things for the team.
“I tested one new part, but I think from last year to this year they are two completely new bikes,” he said. “I do not know what was different last year. What I see is that it is a MotoGP bike.
“And that is why I think you really need to take your time and understand how the bike reacts, how you have to ride it and you have to prepare the bike for the entry, put it in the corner, the throttle control is so important.
“Sometimes if you open the throttle a little bit too much the bike has so much power it makes the bike like nervous. So once you understand you can be always at the top.”