On International Women’s Day, Tim Davies has spoken to Ieva Baublyte about her big move from the British Ducati Tri-options Cup in 2017 to the Italian Supersport Championship for the new season. What will it be like to race in a different country, what are the differences between the bikes and what does she hope to achieve in 2018?
We are pleased to announce that Ieva will be providing us with updates of her progress throughout the Italian Championship after each race meeting, giving us her perspective on the series and the highs and lows of her season.
Tim Davies: It’s quite a leap from the Ducati Tri-options cup in the UK to the Italian Supersport championship. How did that come about?
Ieva Baublyte: Indeed, it is and I’m quite impressed myself at how it all came into place. YAS Racing Team has kept an eye on my racing and my progress towards the end of my season in the Ducati Tri-options Cup and invited me to fly out to Italy and do a wildcard at one of the races but it clashed with my last round at Assen, so I was unable to do it. Yaser, the team Manager, found me on social media and got in touch which makes you realise just how important social media is nowadays and how it can open doors to many opportunities. After meeting the team this year, I was very happy with their work and the passion that they have for this sport and therefore agreed to race for the full season. The team has been in the Supersport class for the last three years, so they know the bikes inside out and therefore I will be in very capable hands.
TD: Did you always plan to race in Europe at some stage, and has it come along earlier than you thought?
IB: The idea of racing in Europe didn’t come to me until the season was finished in the Tri-options, at which point I was doing as much research as I could to find the best next route for me where I could develop my riding further. I was looking at different possibilities such as endurance racing and other European championships because I need more track time to be able to progress faster.
With the weather conditions here in UK it can become quite difficult to put in sufficient laps and be able to push as hard as I possibly can. BSB is an amazing organisation to be part of and I will
dearly miss standing on the grid with thousands of British fans watching but I am also over the moon to be receiving this opportunity of racing in a different country and on a grid of thirty or so male Italian racers which I can just imagine will be crazy. It definitely all came about sooner than I expected, and I would have laughed if anyone told me three years ago that I would be racing on some of the world’s greatest circuits in a country that has some of the most passionate motorcycle racing fans.
TD: How well do you know the Italian circuits, and will it take you long to learn the ones you don’t know?
IB: Unfortunately, I don’t know any of the Italian circuits apart from Vallelunga which is where we just did the test. So, plenty of homework to do there. I don’t think it will take me long to learn the circuits, especially being surrounded with very fast riders who I will be able to tag onto and besides we will be visiting each circuit twice so I’m sure the second time I will be achieving much better results than the first. We will also try to complete some testing prior to the races so that I could learn the circuits and have one less thing to worry about when it comes to the race weekends.
TD: What are the main differences between the Ducati and the Yamaha Supersport bike?
IB: The main difference with the two bikes is the engine. The Ducati had a completely standard one whereas the Supersport engine you can change the mapping to help you get the most out of it. In terms of power delivery the Supersport also seems to be a lot smoother whereas the Ducati, it has a lot of torque at the bottom so in order to get some good speed on that bike you really have to be riding it as hard as possible but also be gentle at the same time as coming out of the corners can launch you in the air with no warning. I can sure agree with the boys in the championship that told me “the more you push on the Panigale, the better it responds”.
TD: What are your aims and expectations ahead of the new season?
IB: My aim is to try to achieve the best results possible and learn as much as I can. I will be able to give myself targets after I completed my first round but until then I am a bit uncertain of where I will be on the grid.
TD: Have you had to adjust your riding style for the Supersport bike?
IB: Yes, the R6 seems to be slightly smaller and tucking in was hard enough on the Ducati. On this bike it’s even harder, so being six feet tall is a slight disadvantage when it comes to the straights and my positioning on the foot-pegs, but we will work with it. Additionally, the Supersport bike likes to wiggle quite a bit when coming into the corner where I was able to just drop the clutch on the Ducati. On this bike I will have to be a bit more gentle so there’s plenty to think about but it will all become automatic once I get more time on it. I will admit that the Supersport suits my riding style a lot better too, so I will be able to gain a lot more confidence.
TD: There are only seven meetings in 2018 in Italy, are you looking to race anywhere else too?
IB: So, I will be competing in five out of the seven rounds in the National Trophy Championship. We are unfortunately unable to complete the full championship as the dates fall on the team’s work commitments so in order to make up for the two rounds we will do two wildcards in a different championship, the Coppa Italia. I would also like to make a comeback to BSB and compete in a few rounds, so if the right ride becomes available then you will see me there showing the boys what I’ve learnt.
TD: Where do you hope to be in five years’ time?
IB: Looking at what I have achieved in just two years, I strongly believe that with hard work and the right support I can gain enough experience in five years’ time to allow me to compete at world level. I’m not sure in what class or which championship but I will be there for sure.
Track images courtesy of Foto Sport
Pit images courtesy of Ieva Baublyte
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