WorldSBK San Juan: Aegerter aims for promotion after WorldSSP success
Gordon ritchie |
Image: GeeBee Images
With WorldSSP racing rules changing next year, an argument could be made for Dominique Aegerter to be the last WorldSSP champion before the series becomes nothing more than a pure middleweight division for the 600 hypersports and their three-cylinder equivalents. .
It meant a lot to him as he recently missed out on the MotoE crown, and at 31, exiting Moto2, he may no longer have the realistic ambition of being world champion, until he and Ten Kate connect.
Sunday in Argentina, when the title wrapped, was an important day on several fronts. Aegerter’s title, Ten Kate’s 10th WorldSSP rider title (11th overall after winning the Superbike World Championship with James Toseland) and on the same day, Aegerter was WorldSSP champion, his 2017 Moto2 teammate Kiefer, Tarran Mackenzie, was crowned BSB champion in the UK.
After missing an entire round in Portugal while competing in the MotoE final, Aegerter still managed a round earlier, after some setbacks for longtime rival Steven Odendaal.
“The first World Championship title is incredible to get,” said Aegerter. “It’s hard to do. I just finished the race, so it’s interview time. But, I hope to soon be able to return to the box to celebrate with my team and also all the friends, the family at home, the sponsors.
“I can’t wait to be home to see them. I worked 31 years, or at least 25 years, to get the world champion. Now I am. It was not easy. Day after day, I worked hard, and now I have achieved the goal.
Concentration rather than pressure was what Aegerter felt heading into the final round.
“No. I was focused,” he said. “I was pushing very hard on each lap. We were, in the warm-up, improving the bike, then at the start I saw Gonzalez. get inside a bit and crash, so I lost a lot of places but my thought was just to fight for the podium, that’s what I did.
“I passed a lot of runners. The pace was much better than yesterday. The bike was better. I got the information that P4 is correct, but for me it was not correct. So I pushed more and then five laps before the end, I see number four came out, so I was more free to push even more because I could take a gap on Tuuli. The last lap was a touching lap when you cross the line!
For Aegerter, he knew the title was possible when he joined a downsized Ten Kate squad – Supersport only – this year.
“I think when we signed the contract with Ten Kate we knew we had a champion team. We have a champion bike with the Yamaha R6. We have very good suppliers, very good sponsors, a good crew on the track but also at home. So we know we have all we can fight for the title.
“It was my goal, the team’s goals and everyone else’s goals. Then little by little, we fought for the podiums, for victory. The end is right when you get the title. It was a race before the end of the season. Happy. I always thought race by race, and now I have it.
Odendaal was his only real rival at the end, and he also had a few words about him after the championship victory.
“We have had some great battles,” Dominique said. “He’s a strong runner. He has a lot of experience. We also fought in Moto2 together. In addition, other runners were very strong. Also, some riders always fought on certain tracks, but I felt good. He also has a strong team, a fast bike, so sometimes it wasn’t that easy. But we are working and we are the champion.
“We are doing everything right. I am very happy to work with Ten Kate. When I first visited them in November of last year, I was super happy to see them all. Immediately I felt the most confident with them. I think the mentality is very similar to a Swiss mentality so it helps a lot more. I don’t mean to say that in other teams with other personalities they have a bit of a different mentality to work with, but always when I come to see the Ten Kate team I could feel a lot of confidence. They work very hard. They were focused, but also in the other part they can be fun. It’s just a good mix of working hard and having fun. I hope we continue next year together and maybe fight for the title again.
Small affair of the final round, on a new circuit in Indonesia, first.
“Now we’re going to celebrate a bit, and then we really have a month’s break before the last race,” continued Aegerter. “The objective is the same there, to fight for the podium or the victory. Looking ahead, we are working hard with Ten Kate to secure a good contract for next year. Also, my brother, Kevin, he works hard. It’s a bit disappointing that we can’t really switch to Superbike, but hopefully we can get there in the future with Ten Kate to be in Superbike. This is our goal.
“Fight for the title again next year with them, and I hope I can go with Yamaha in Superbike with Ten Kate. “