The Argentine and the Spaniard present their 2021 Hondas and talk about the busy winter period
During today’s virtual Gresini Racing team presentation, the squad introduced its new Moto3 line-up composed of Gabriel Rodrigo and Jeremy Alcoba, the 2020 “rookie of the year”. The Argentine embarks on his seventh consecutive season, his third with Gresini, and knows that the moment of truth has arrived .
Looking back, Rodrigo comments: “I felt really fast during my first year with the team. I learned a lot with them but then I got injured”. As for 2020, he says: “We started really well, but then came up against a brick wall and the sprint-style championship didn’t help. We didn’t have time to change course, and lost our way a little”. Now it’s time to turn the page: “We’ve learned a lot over the last two years and if we can put it all together this season then we can do really well”.
The 2021 championship will get underway on 28 March in Qatar, and the 24-year old comments: “There’s no clear favourite, but I think we can both do well. You can’t rule anyone out, not even the rookies, as we saw last year. The category is quite balanced. We are working on the details and hope to be in the mix up until the final race”.
Rodrigo has worked hard to prepare over the winter break: “I’ve focused on understanding where I can improve. Last year we learned to manage the races, but then lost a little of the speed we had in 2019. We can do well if we are able to combine both, I’m very confident”. And as for his physical preparation, he adds: "I’ve trained more than ever with the MX bike, and I think this has helped physically speaking. I’ve also worked on the mental side, as I needed a total reset. I struggled and needed more time than I imagined, but I’m now back with even greater motivation and, with professional help, I’m now in a really good place”.
One Moto3 issue regards qualifying, with riders often waiting for one other on track. Might the Superpole format be a solution? Alcoba comments: “A slipstream really helps in Moto3. I don’t know what they can do. It’s up to Dorna, but they’re already doing a good job”. Rodrigo adds: “Perhaps the only way to solve this problem is with the Superpole but I realise this isn’t easy in terms of TV. They’re working on it and I think we’ll soon see some changes”.
Lastly, Rodrigo comments on the devastating fire that has destroyed a significant part of the Termas de Rio Honda circuit, his 'home' track: “I was training when I heard the news. Argentina is already suffering due to Covid and with all the financial and health-related problems, this has come as another real blow. I’ve spoken to a few people there, luckily they had insurance”. The championship wasn’t able to race there last year either: "I really want to go back there, it’s an amazing setting”.
Translated by Heather Watson