WorldSBK San Juan: Aegerter targets promotion after WorldSSP success| Gordon Ritchie | WorldSBK
With the rules of WorldSSP racing changing next year, an argument could be made for Dominique Aegerter being the last WorldSSP champion before the series becomes something other than a purely middleweight division for hyper-sports 600s and their three cylinder equivalents.
It meant a lot to him as he missed out on the MotoE crown recently, and at 31 years of age, exiting Moto2, he may not have had any realistic ambitions to be World Champion anymore, until he and Ten Kate hooked up.
Sunday in Argentina, when the title got wrapped up, was a significant day on several fronts. Aegerter’s title, Ten Kate’s 10th riders title in WorldSSP (11th in all after their World Championship Superbike win with James Toseland) and on the same day Aegerter was champion in WorldSSP his 2017 Moto2 Kiefer teammate Tarran Mackenzie was crowned BSB Champion in the UK.
After having to miss a whole round in Portugal as he was racing in the MotoE finale, Aegerter still got it done a round early, after some misfortunes for his long-time rival Steven Odendaal.
“The first world champion title is amazing to get,” said Aegerter. “It’s difficult to realise. Just finished the race, so interview time. But, I hope soon I can go back to the box to celebrate with my team and also all the friends, family at home, the sponsors.
“Can’t wait to be home to see them. I worked 31 years, or at least 25 years, to get the world champion. Now I am. It was not easy. Day by day I was working hard, and now I achieved the goal.”
Focus rather than pressure was what Aegerter felt going into the final round.
“No. I was focused,” he affirmed. “I was pushing very hard every lap. We were, in the warmup, improving the bike, then in the start I saw Gonzalez go inside a little bit and crash out, so I lost many places but my thought was just to fight for the podium. This I did.
“I overtook many riders. The pace was much better than yesterday. The bike was better. I got the information that P4 is okay, but for me it was not okay. So, I pushed more and then five laps before the end I see that number four is out, so I was more free to push even more as I could take a gap to Tuuli. The last lap was an emotional lap when you go over the line!”
For Aegerter he knew that the title was possible when he joined a trimmed down Ten Kate team - Supersport only - this year.
“I think when we were signing the contract with Ten Kate we were knowing that we have a champion team. We have a champion bike with the Yamaha R6. We have very good suppliers, very good sponsors, a good crew on the track but also at home. So, we know that we have everything that we are able to fight for the title.
“This was my goal, the team’s goals, and everybody else’s goals. Then step by step, we were fighting for podiums, for victory. The end is just when you get the title. It was one race before the end of the season. Happy. I was for sure always thinking race by race, and now I have it.”
Odendaal was his only real rival in the end, and he had some words about him after the championship win too.
“We had a few great battles,” said Dominique. “He is a strong rider. He has a lot of experience. We were fighting also in Moto2 together. Also, some other riders were very strong. Also always some riders were in some tracks more battling, but I felt good. He has also a strong team, a fast bike, so sometimes it was not that easy. But we are working, and we are the champion.
“We make everything right. I’m super happy to work with Ten Kate. When I visit them for the first time in November last year, I was super happy to see them all. Immediately I felt the most confidence with them. I think the mentality is very similar to a Swiss mentality, so it helps much more. I don’t want to say that in other teams with other personalities they have a little bit other mentality to work, but always when I come to see the Ten Kate team, I was able to feel a lot of confidence. They work very hard. They were focused, but also in the other part they can be fun. It’s just a good mix between working hard, have some fun. I hope we continue next year together and maybe fight again for the title.”
Small matter of the final round, at a new circuit in Indonesia, first.
“Now we will celebrate a little bit, then we have really one month’s break to the last race,”Aegerter continued. “The goal is the same there, to fight for the podium or the victory. For the future, we are working hard with Ten Kate to get a good contract for next year. Also, my brother, Kevin, he’s working hard. A little bit disappointing that I could not really step up to Superbike, but I hope we can make this in the future with Ten Kate to be in the Superbike. This is our goal.
“Fight for the title next year again with them, and I hope I can go with Yamaha to Superbike with Ten Kate.”