America's Cup 2021: Jimmy Spithill praises Luna Rossa resilience, refuses to claim mental edge over Team NZ

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli helmsman Jimmy Spithill has rejected suggestions his crew have taken an early mental edge over Emirates Team NZ, after an impressive opening day of America's Cup racing. 

Spithill and his crew silenced the growing chorus claiming that the Italian AC75 couldn't match their Kiwi counterparts' speed, shaking off defeat in the first race to lead from start to finish in the second.

Although the result only levels the series at 1-1, the Italians can certainly claim moral victory, after entering day one as overwhelming underdogs.

The Australian singled out his crew's resilience in responding to their race-one defeat, but refused to take any bait regarding a psychological advantage.

"At this level, everyone's mental game is pretty good," says Spithill. "For us, it was a real sign of strength to bounce back after a tough first race.

"That's something we've been working on for a long time… not getting too wound up whether we win or lose, let's just focus on the next race, and we had to put that into play for race two.

"That was a very, very good effort from the team."

The 41-year-old pointed the Italians' high-risk manoeuvre that ultimately proved costly in race one, when they attempted to draw a protest that was rejected, allowing Team NZ to streak ahead.

While they trailed most of that race, Spithill says the way his term persevered was hugely encouraging, setting the scene for their race-two response.

"We had a shot at it, it didn't go for us and from then on, we were on the back foot," Spithill says. "After that, it was going to take a mistake from [Team NZ skipper] Peter [Burling] and the lads for us to win that race.

"On board, I have to say we had great composure, we fought all the way. I actually thought we sailed a pretty good race... damage control kept it close.

"Then the ability to bounce back after that - that's the important thing. The boys regrouped, we recomposed, and we went out and won the next race. 

"That's a good sign of strength for the team."

With Thursday the only spare day on the schedule, both Burling and Spithill will spend it on terra firma, prepping the boat and making adjustments, after a revealing day on the water.

"For both teams, this is a really big day of learning," says Spithill. "We're not going to get another day.

"We really have to capitalise on that and really go through both races in some serious detail.

"It's the first time for both of us racing each other in real high pressure stuff, and I'm sure we're both going to walk away with a heap learned and hopefully make the boat faster."

Join us at 4pm Friday for live updates of America's Cup races three and four between Team NZ and Luna Rossa