Last season Tim Davies did an interview with Ducati Tri-Options rider Ieva Baublyte (click here if you missed it). Ieva hasn’t remained in the championship for 2018 and had moved to the sunnier shores of Italy where she will compete in CIV Nation Trophy Supersport 600 Championship. She has agreed to give Two Wheels or More updates on her season and this weekend she was racing at Misano for the first time and Tim caught up with her after the race to see how things went and how she is settling in Italy.
Tim Davies: Firstly, how good did it feel to get back to racing?
Ieva Baublyte: It’s one of the best feelings in the world. Although my winter went by pretty fast due to lots of training, it still feels like it has been years since last season finished. And now being in a new paddock and a new country, it’s even more exciting!
TD: What were your qualifying and race positions?
IB: My best free practice time was 1:53.0, which I did with just five laps on a dry track. Every practice before that the track was either damp with lot of patches or wet, so it made it a lot more difficult to learn the track and even more importantly I was not able to push as much as I wanted to. Because of this my suspension needed a lot of adjusting after I did my first qualifying in which I dropped to a 1:49.2. I had a chance to improve that and try a different set up for the second qualifying but unfortunately a technical problem occurred, so I had to pull in, leaving me with the same lap time. This put me at the back of the grid and starting the race with a set-up which I could only hope would work. Out of 39 riders I finished 33rd which I am pleased with as myself and the team have made huge improvements in difficult circumstances.
TD: Were you happy with these and did you feel you could improve on them?
IB: I was very confident that I could have achieved a much better lap time if I had more time on a dry track as there were so many places where I could have pushed a lot harder if the set up was right and if I knew the track better. But it is difficult to give feedback on how the bike is reacting when I know I am not pushing 100%. This was proven in the race after we made some changes. As soon as I got into my rhythm I dropped two seconds off my qualifying time leaving me with a best lap time of 1:47.2. But even with the changes made I still didn’t have as much rear grip as I wanted to, so I know that next time I will be able to easily drop a few seconds more.
TD: Were there any other non-Italian riders in the race with you and were you the only lady racer?
IB: The only other non-Italian was a French rider who did the championship last year and my team owner who is also my teammate and is originally from Iraq but lives in Italy. So, everyone on the grid has previously ridden or raced at Misano. Yes, I was the only girl on my grid (I believe there maybe another girl racing in 300s class) so as exciting as it was for me, I believe the crowd was also looking forward to seeing how I get on racing against the boys, considering the amount of pictures they were taking.
TD: As a non-Italian, were you made to feel welcome by the local riders?
IB: At first, I was receiving a lot of confused looks from the local riders as no one knew who I was or what I am doing there but as soon as they realised, they were all very friendly and welcoming. The only disadvantage is that not many of them speak English so it’s hard to understand each other but I’m slowly picking up on Italian so I’m sure communication will increase more and more at every round.
TD: Did you enjoy the track and how long did it take you to learn it?
IB: I really enjoyed the track especially the fast corners where you are flat out in 6th gear and it is definitely one of the best that I have ever ridden. However, it required a lot of braking on the side of the tyre as well as the use of the whole track which in general is wider than most of the tracks in UK that I am used to. But as soon as the track was dry it didn’t take me long to learn the lines and the braking points.
TD: What, if any, are the differences between the Supersport championship you race in and the main CIV one?
IB: The main difference with the main Supersport class is that they get an extra race and warm-up whereas we go straight into our only race after qualifying. In terms of competitiveness; the top riders in both classes will be doing the same lap times which are also the same as what the World Supersport riders do. My class (National Trophy) however has a bigger grid compared to the main class and a wider range of ability. Following the faster riders has allowed me to improve my corner speed, braking and acceleration massively and this is only the first round so I am very excited to see just how much I will improve over the whole season.
TD: When and where is the next round, and what are your aims?
IB: My next round is next weekend in Mugello (15/04/2018) in Coppa Italia which is a slightly lower level championship. Because Mugello will also be a new circuit for me I will be in the Base 600 class and looking at their lap times I think I will have a good chance of standing on the podium. So, looking forward to hopefully a great weekend!
Images courtesy of Ieva Baublyte and Photoagenzia31
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