Former Raffaele de Rosa will make his World Superbike debut at Laguna Seca this weekend as he deputises for the injured Markus Reiterberger in the Althea BMW squad.
Reiterberger dramatically crashed out of the second race last time out at Misano and was subsequently ruled out of action this weekend with a fractured D12 vertebra.
Former 250 GP man de Rosa is currently leading the Superstock 1000 championship for the Italian squad and with just the Superbike class out at Laguna, got the call up to replace his injured team-mate.
Having tested the bike on the Monday after Misano, he said: “The bike is very different but it does have similar characteristics. The biggest differences are the tyres and electronics. The Superbike definitely has better performance overall, but the main difference for me at the test was that all of the other riders were testing fresh from the race weekend whereas it was quite new for me. I used a base setup from Reiterberger and I worked on adopting my position on the bike to feel good on it. Our Team Manager Genesio Bevilacqua is very good and he assessed all aspects of this situation.
“Laguna is one of those tracks you see on television and there have been some epic battles there. I would also say it probably looks even more spectacular in real life than it does on TV. Another thing that makes it so special is its location: California. The atmosphere is surely a bit special! I will approach the races in the same way as any other: leave the emotions aside and focus on the track activity, starting with the practice sessions on Friday. It will be important to get in as many laps as possible, especially as Race 1 comes up immediately on Saturday. My goal at Laguna will be to improve my performance from the Misano test; I need to keep reducing the gap to the front. This category is competitive and it won’t be easy.”
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