Two riders have dominated the 2019 FIM Supersport World Championship, winning all but one of the six races contested so far this season. The two riders, Randy Krummenacher and Federico Caricasulo, both of whom race for the Bardahl Evan Bros. Yamaha Supported WorldSSP squad, have also finished on the podium in every single race this year. The battling Bardahl boys are all set to resume their fight for supremacy this weekend in Misano, but does sharing a pit box make for additional pressure on the two riders when the on-track rivalry is already so intense?
The last race in Jerez marked the halfway point in the season for the WorldSSP riders and it is Krummenacher who heads the championship standings, courtesy of three race wins and three second place finishes in the six races. The Swiss rider, who honed his skills in the 125cc and Moto2 World Championships before switching his attentions to WorldSSP, is relatively relaxed about having such a fast teammate sat across from him in the pit box.
“For me, it’s actually a big positive to have such a strong teammate,” explained Krummenacher. “We’re both as fast as each other on track and that helps both of us when it comes to fine tuning the set-up of the bike each weekend.”
“You also learn from a fast teammate. In Assen it was Federico who put in the better final lap to win the race, but I think I learned more finishing second that weekend than I had winning races previously. Sure, I want to win every race but, sometimes, not winning opens your eyes to ways in which you can improve as a rider.”
This is a philosophy shared by Caricasulo, who took an emphatic win in Jerez, his second of the season, to close to within 17-points of his teammate in the championship standings.
“It’s normal for me to have a fast teammate on the other side of the pit box,” declared the 23-year-old Italian. “When I raced for GRT Yamaha my teammate was Lucas Mahias and I learned a lot from him. The same is true this year with Randy.”
“In Assen I learned a lot from Randy, and I think he learned from me in Imola, so the current situation is one that works to the advantage of us both.”
But what of the atmosphere in the pit box during sessions? Managing two riders fighting for a championship can be a daunting task for any Team Manager, a fact Krummenacher is well aware of.
“I guess it’s quite difficult for the team. On the one hand they get to enjoy both of us winning races and sitting one-two in the championship standings, but on the other it can’t be easy managing two riders who are fighting with each other for the race win every weekend.”
For Caricasulo it’s business as usual and the Italian is adamant that sitting just two metres away from his closest championship rival brings no additional pressure.
“Things in our pit box are pretty normal, even with the two of us battling against each other every weekend,” said Caricasulo. “Everyone just gets on with their job; we are all working towards the same goal, so it’s a normal situation. At the moment there are no problems with us being together in the pit box. Maybe in the next races, as the end of the season gets closer, this may change but for now it’s all good.”
It’s a feeling also shared by Krummenacher.
“I think we both have enough respect for each other to race clean on the track and actually enjoy the battles together,” concluded the championship leader.
The race winner in Misano 12 months ago, Caricasulo heads into the coming weekend confident that he can fight for victory in front of his home crowd once again, while Krummenacher heads to Italy equally determined to stamp his authority back on the championship by claiming his fourth win of the season. However, the two teammates may not have things all their own way this weekend in Italy.
A resurgent Jules Cluzel, whose victory in Thailand makes him the only rider other than the Bardahl Yamaha teammates to win a race this season, took the fight to Krummenacher and Caricasulo in Jerez and the GMT94 Yamaha Supported WorldSSP rider heads to Italy determined to do the same this weekend.