Avintia Racing boss Ruben Xaus said he could enjoy Enea Bastianini’s superb run on the MotoGP San Marino podium more than Johann Zarco’s similar feat in 2020, in part because of the Frenchman’s high-profile attitude towards the team.
Bastianini established himself as the star at Misano with a remarkable race which saw him take his 2019 Ducati GP19 from 12th place on the grid to the podium at pure pace alone, the Italian rookie turning as fast as the leaders in the as he went up. many more esteemed rivals.
The only second podium achieved by Avintia Racing at this level, it comes as the Spanish team prepare to leave MotoGP after ten seasons, with their commitments being taken over by VR46 Racing for the 2022 season.
For team manager Xaus – himself a former MotoGP rider and WorldSBK runner-up – Bastianini’s feat leaves a more indelible mark than that of his first stand, made by Zarco during the Czech MotoGP in Brno.
On this occasion, Zarco stunned the paddock by qualifying in pole position before overcoming a long lap penalty to finish in third place.
However, as Xaus points out, Bastianini achieved his feat on the nearly obsolete Ducati GP19 – a two-year-old motorcycle dictated by a regulation freeze for 2021 – in a team with the lowest budget by far, while Zarco had a greater experience and greater contribution from the Ducati factory as part of an agreement to place it at Avintia.
“This podium tastes much better than last year,” Xaus told DAZN. “We built it: ninth in the first lap, overtaking Marc Marquez, Aleix Espargaró, Joan Mir, Álex Rins, Jack Miller… In short, a great race. Zarco had done podiums before, we are talking about a rookie here and this is our last season in MotoGP. We landed a podium on a very limited budget.
Indeed, Xaus still harbors mixed emotions from Zarco’s time in Avintia. The Frenchman sadly rejected Avintia’s modest resources at the end of the 2019 season when asked if he would consider joining the Spanish squad, saying he would race in Moto2 sooner.
However, Ducati’s intervention would see Zarco agree to join Avintia in exchange for some factory resources, although the man himself made an effort to emphasize that he was under Ducati contract, rather than Avintia Racing.
Although Avintia has had his most successful season with Zarco, Xaus says it was clear he didn’t want to be there, adding that this Misano podium looks more organic than Brno.
“Zarco didn’t want to ride for us, but he now had a much better bike than Bastianini. In Brno we took pole and it was great, but a lot had happened. Not in this race.
“After our podium with Johann Zarco, everyone said to themselves ‘ah but it’s Johann, it’s the bike…’ We’re starting over with the same team, without having a better bike, so that means the package is incredible, added to the incredible performance of the pilot ”.