Team Effenbert Liberty Racing Ducati rookie rider Brett McCormick earned a solid ninth overall in dry race two of round 13 in the eni Superbike World Championship event at Portimao, Portugal today.
After a dazzling performance in mixed conditions in the opener, where McCormick earned fifth, he fought his way up from 13th starting position in race two. McCormick eventually locked into a dice for eighth with the BMW Motorrad Italia Goldbet S100RR of Michel Fabrizio. In a tense tussle that went right to the finish line, veteran Fabrizio got eighth position by just .5 of a second from McCormick.
“I didn’t want to tell myself that I needed a good race, but everyone knows how these things work,” started McCormick, referencing the fact that he has missed most of his rookie International season due to injuries suffered in Assen in the Netherlands back in April. A top ten finish late in the season would have been a reasonable goal if he had attended all of the SBK rounds this year.
“I’ve always responded well to pressure, and I want to show that I belong here. Sure race one was just sick, but I’m really happy with this ninth in the dry –it’s another step. The team is really happy with my effort, and we had constant forward progress throughout the weekend, wet or dry. It was also another crash free weekend, and I think that that counts, too.”
McCormick joined the SBK series at round two in Italy back in April, a last minute addition to the Feature class after initially planning to develop the new Ducati Panigale in the European Cup SuperStock support division. Then he sat out the summer with a neck injury before returning to action two weeks ago at the Nurburgring in Germany.
“We’re now about 1.4 seconds of the outright pace, the leader’s pace, so we made a real step,” considered 21 year old McCormick. “We’ve certainly picked up a few tenths overall, moved up the order. That steady improvement is so important.”
“You can see our bike is a little slow, but overall that Ducati is still a good package,” said McCormick of the soon-to-be-replaced 1098R Desmo. “I was fairly evenly matched with Fabrizio on the Bimmer, I almost got him in the second last turn, but he closed the door. I tried again down the hill out of the last turn, I was gaining on him, but then he yanked me to the finish line.”
Next up is the final round of the SBK 2012 tour at Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours south of Paris in France on October 7, a track that McCormick also has previous experience with, always helpful in a premier Championship.
“I honestly don’t know what to expect at the next round,” admitted McCormick. “The track doesn’t really flow, and the weather is likely to be sketchy. But I actually like riding there, and I seem to do well, so we’ll have to see.”