Five familiar faces from the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup joined the pre-event Press Conference in Austria.
The FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup is back from summer break and ready to take on Styria as the stunning Red Bull Ring hosts Round 5. There’s potential for a match point on Sunday but before that, it was time to talk shop.
Points leader Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP MotoE™) was joined in the pre-event Press Conference by closest challenger Eric Granado (LCR E-Team), Matteo Ferrari (Felo Gresini MotoE™), Bradley Smith (WithU GRT RNF MotoE™) and Maria Herrera (Openbank Aspar Team).
Here are some key quotes! Make sure to tune in for MotoE™ qualifying on Friday at 16:50 (GMT +2), before the races on Saturday at 16:25 and Sunday at 15:30.
How are you feeling upon the return from the MotoE™ summer break?
“I’m very happy to be back here in Spielberg. For sure, it’s an interesting new layout with Turns 2A and 2B. The summer break for me, with eight weeks off MotoE, was quite long – I was missing the MotoGP paddock – but in the meantime, we had some races in WorldSSP. Leading the Championship here and in Supersport is a good feeling. Here, we still have four races to go, and in Supersport we have a little bit more to go, but we are focused on practice, and we will see how the weather and the track will be. The team and I are ready to fight hard to get some good results.”
What are your impressions of the new chicane? What challenges will potentially mixed weather present? Are you focused on the Cup at all?
“I know the track, and the A and B corners will be the same for everyone. The weather, I cannot decide, but I think it looks a little bit worse tomorrow than Saturday and Sunday. But, we have the settings from previous years, and the feelings that I have in Mugello and Assen for the MotoE race, so we’ll just focus on practice in the morning, try to be in the top eight in qualifying in the afternoon, and get a good starting position because the races on Saturday and Sunday are only six laps. I’m hoping for dry weather because it will be better for everyone but we’ll see what happens.”
Has your approach changed now that you have to make up a gap to Aegerter?
“I’m very happy to be back in MotoE. It was a long wait, even if I had a race in the meantime, but I am excited for this weekend. I think it’s the best position and best chance I have in the Cup at this stage of the season since the first year, so I’m very focused and very motivated to continue in this way. It was a great race in Assen, I was very competitive in dry and wet conditions, so we are ready for everything this weekend and I’ll go for the maximum in both races.”
What are your impressions of the new chicane?
“I think it will be much better. In past seasons, it was a big straight, and now we have two more corners to overtake, and two more corners on the track. It’s always nice for us riders to have more corners on the track so i think it will be nice, it will be safer for us – which is the reason that they did it – so I’m really looking forward to this. We will do the first laps on the track tomorrow so it will be an honour for us and I hope it will be a fun track like always and I will enjoy it a lot.”
How do you feel about being back in MotoE™, and what sort of challenge does this weekend represent?
“First of all, I’m very happy to be back in MotoE, like the other riders. During the break, I did the CIV Supersport, so, good training for me. I’m ready for this weekend because we have four races to go and I am 45.5 points behind. This weekend on Friday will be a little but the same as Assen because it will be a little bit rainy and probably dry conditions in the afternoon. I’m ready for both and my goal is to not think a lot about the championship, but to be up front, enjoy the race, and overtake a lot!”
How do you feel about the chicane?
“It will be different, of course, and the track is not too large now in the first part, but I think it’s not a problem. MotoE is a little bit heavy, so the change of direction will be a little bit hard, but we know the bike very well so it’s not a problem.”
Simple question first: how are you?
“Obviously, the season didn’t kick off to the best of starts, just one week before we were supposed to be at Jerez, but an interesting experience from that one and a bit of a long rehab process, but definitely feeling better. I’m feeling even better than Assen, so that’s the main thing. I think Assen was a tricky weekend to come back with the weather the way that it was, cancelled practices, and only a two-lap race, so I kind of walked away from that weekend scratching my head. But, I’m looking forward to this weekend. We’ll see how it pans out; the last time I was here, I got on the podium, in 2019, and had good pace in the dry and the wet. So, we’ll see what ends up panning out, but just need a bit more riding time, I think, and a bit more experience back in the race situation. But it’s good to be back in the team again and try and make a bit of progress from Assen because we’re certainly lacking on settings and direction – the team’s relatively new this season, with new personnel inside – so still getting our head around it but hopefully this weekend will be a more positive one and I can fight with these top guys.”
Is there anything specific that is the key focus for set-up, despite your limited track time?
“I certainly struggled a lot with the front end in Assen. It’s been a continuous thing that I’ve been basically crying about for the year – overloading the front tyre – so, just trying to get our head around the motorcycle and the new front forks that are obviously different than when I raced here, to give me the feeling that I need and to get the tyre pressures stable and in the right place. So, with this place being so front-heavy with the hard braking – in [Turns] 1, 3, and down the hill into 4 – it’s going to be something we need to get our head around.”
Right after Assen you became the first female rider to win the 24 Hores de Catalunya de Motociclisme. How was that as a start to the break?
“Well, I like the challenge! When I did the 24 Hours, I enjoyed it a lot with the team. It’s difficult to set up the bike for riders with my size, but I enjoyed it in the night, in the morning with the sun, and we won. Then, my summer break was training, training a lot, because I didn’t have any other championship, so I disconnected, trained, and relaxed with my family.”
You also have another project alongside MotoE™, this year you’re racing at Aragon in Moto3™ with an all-female team.
“Yes. This project is very new. I took this project because I want to give more visibility to women in motorsport. I know it’s a challenge to come back to Moto3 for one race, but I like to give more visibility and with this project with Aurora [Angelucci] and the Angeluss Team, I want to support the little girls coming through, and I’m doing a campus with the Spanish federation.”
And avoiding the irony of only asking female riders about being female riders… what do you think about the chicane, any first impressions?
“I didn’t see the new chicane properly yet but it looks a little bit tight. I don’t know with MotoE… for sure, for me, it’s a little bit difficult with the fast change of direction, but I have to take a look and see how it is. For this weekend, I think I have to keep working. I don’t feel so much from the front tyre, and we have to keep working with the team.”
So is the focus now on the front end of the bike?
“Exactly. I don’t feel the front tyre because when I brake, immediately I lose grip, so for me it’s a little bit difficult. But in Assen, I did a little step, so I want to find something more here to keep me smiling on the bike.”
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