Germany’s Moto3 rider is all set to hit the ground running for a successful 2013 season. Prior to the first race of the season in Qatar, the 19-year-old from Krostitz near Leipzig (Saxony) speaks about his objectives, expectations and the team of Kiefer Racing. The full interview:
The 2013 MotoGP World Championship will kick-off in just a few days. You’ve shown good performances at the last pre-season tests in Jerez, Spain. Are you happy with the entire preparation and what are your feelings, heading to Qatar?
Toni Finsterbusch: “The pre-season tests were positive. I’ve managed to adjust quickly to the Kalex and my lap times were quite good. We’ve got a decent set-up and this is why we’re going to Qatar with big expectations. I hope to improve my performance compared to last year. Additionally, I hope to finish in the points regularly. Together with Kiefer Racing I really want to hit the ground running.”
You are now part of a team that “created” a World Champion two years ago, Stefan Bradl. How do you like the collaboration with Kiefer Racing?
Finsterbusch: “The collaboration with the new team is great fun, the atmosphere is great, too. The entire team is very professional. I get a lot of suggestions and advice that I try to put into practice as good as I can. And I get along very well with my new teammate Florian Alt. I guess that the two of us will push each other hard throughout the season.”
The past year has not been easy for you. After MZ pulled out you had to find a new team. You finished twice in the points. What are your chances with the Kalex-KTM this time round?
Finsterbusch: “That’s correct. Last year was very difficult for me. Sometimes I didn’t even know if I’d start in the next race or not. But this experience toughened me and I’ve even been able to draw some positive lessons from the season. I’m coping far better with the new Kalex-KTM. This is of course also due to the fact that this bike is bigger and comes with more power. I hope to finish among the top 20 regularly and perhaps I’ll even succeed to provide an accent here and there.”
During the MotoGP season you will have to travel a lot. Which race tracks are your favorites?
Finsterbusch: “I’m particularly looking forward to Austin in the US state of Texas. This race track will be new to all of us. But of course the race on the Sachsenring in Germany will be the absolute highlight as the numerous German fans create an incredibly awesome atmosphere. However, the motorcycle race tracks in Assen and Mugello are great, too. I’ve achieved good performances there last year.”
You form a team with Florian Alt, another young German talent. How do the two of you profit from this constellation?
Finsterbusch: “Florian is three years my junior. We know each other from the IDM, the German Superbike Championship, and we get along very well. But during the race we are of course opponents and then it’s ‘every man for himself’. However, during the practice and test runs we are working together and are trying to help each other. And as Florian competed in the RedBull-Rookies Cup he knows some of the European race tracks better than me. On the other hand I’ve more experience with the tracks overseas. We analyze the data together with the entire team, we profit from each other and are trying to become even faster.”
You are currently training as a clerk. How do you manage to combine the job training with your sport?
Finsterbusch: “I’m trying to make the most of it. I’ve to attend trade school just once a week so it’s possible to catch up on the different subject matters I missed in class. Moreover, I receive a lot of support. And as long as my grades are okay, I’m exempt from lessons if they collide with race schedules. I’m training at my parent’s company and everyone is very supportive.”
After Stefan Bradl it was Sandro Cortese who became World Champion last year. Do you think you will be capable of getting up to the very top?
Finsterbusch: “Of course that’s my big dream. If I continue to work hard and always keep faith in me and keep having fun – well, then I believe I have it in me. However, even Bradl and Cortese had to go through certain stages and didn’t become World Champions at first go.”
Bradl and Cortese have shown how to do it. Are these two your role models and are you trying to mirror them?
Finsterbusch: “The motorcycling sport in Germany has greatly benefitted from their success. This is why they are – in a certain way – role models. And of course there’s always something to adopt or to mirror. Nevertheless, everyone has to go his own way.”
Have you profited from the recent success of German riders in the World Championship?
Finsterbusch: “Thanks to the Championship titles, the media interest in Germany has surely grown. I hope that I’ll be able to profit from it in the future. However, it’s still very hard to find sponsors as many companies rather like to support soccer teams.”