Exclusive Maverick Viñales Interview: “I want to improve each race”

 In News

Probably not many people outside of Spain had heard of Maverick Viñales prior to the current Moto GP season. The 16 year old youngster spent a couple of years competing in the various Spanish championships and already made a name for himself on his home turf.

2009 he gave his debut in the Spanish CEV championship on a 125cc bike, in the following year he was crowned champion in the same class.
The beginning of the 2011 season saw him move to the 125cc class of Moto GP as rider for the Blusens by Paris Hilton team alongside fellow Spaniard Sergio Gadea.

Maverick’s had an impressive start to his first season: 4th in Portugal, race winner in Le Mans and second at his home GP in Catalunya, and he’s also just bagged his first pole position for the race in Silverstone.

Vroom Media caught up with the Spanish rookie before the qualifying at the Northamptonshire circuit to find out a little bit more about him.

Maverick, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m from Catalunya in the north of Spain, from Roses, and I started riding a motorbike when I was 3 years old.

Roses is not a very big city.
No, it’s fairly small. The town is only a little bigger than a village really.

So, when you were a kid, where could you train? Are there any small circuits nearby?

Yes, there’s a kart track nearby where we trained. I used to ride on this track on a pocket bike.

You are still at school at the moment?
Yes that’s right.

How difficult is it to combine these two things, school and racing bikes, and have you ever thought of quitting school?
No, that’s not really an option. I’ve always been able to manage both school and motorbikes, and they always let me take the time off to go to the races. But it’s very difficult.

What is a typical day at home for you?
I get up about 7 and go to school. School lasts until the afternoon, normally till about 5. I then go to the gym. When I get home it’s around 7 o’clock and then I do my homework and study for school.

That sounds like hard work and a very long day.
It is.

What do your friends say? Do they treat you any differently than they did before.
No. They’ve always treated me the same. I’ve asked them to treat me the same as they always have. It doesn’t make any difference that maybe I’m starting to be a little bit more famous now.

How do you feel inside the paddock, in between all the famous riders and big names? Does it make you a bit nervous?
No, not at all. I feel really good. I feel like I’m in a place where I want to be, where I belong. I really like it.

You have your own fan club already and a fairly big following. Your fans seem to travel to many circuits. How much does this support mean to you?
It means a lot to me. To have the support at home is fantastic. But also when you’re at a circuit away from home it’s just great to know they’re there supporting you, they’re by your side, your fan club and your fans. It’s very important.

Are they here at Silverstone as well?
[laughs] I don’t know, they haven’t told me. If I see them I’ll let you know.

I guess we can easily spot them with their large green flags. They always make their presence known.
Yes, I always see them.

Before the season what expectations and hopes did you have?
Well, they were more or less the same as they are right now. I’d like to become the Rookie of the Year. And in each race I want to become better and improve. We don’t look too far ahead, we look at one race at a time. Also this weekend I just want to learn and improve little by little.

What do you think, what’s possible this season?
Well, a lot of things can happen, so it’s hard to tell. There are many races left this year and like I said we’re not looking too far ahead.

You don’t know any of the circuits outside of Spain. When you get to a new circuit, is it easy for you to learn it?
Well, here I’m still learning the track. In the first practice this morning, in the dry, I rode very well. I got used to the track very quickly and finished 4th. This afternoon, in the rain, it was more difficult to push the bike. Overall it was ok but we still need to improve further because it looks like there’ll be more rain this weekend.

This prediction proved to be true and both the warm-up and race turned a very wet affair.
Maverick fought bravely to stay in 3rd position, with the rain pouring down and the wind picking up across the track, but unfortunately, in lap 11, he pushed a little too hard, lost the bike and ended up in the gravel.
Despite this set back, we’re certain that this young Spaniard is only at the beginning of what promises to be a great career in Moto GP.

Many thanks to Maverick and team manager Ricard Joven for taking the time to talk to us. All the best for the rest of the season.
©Interview and photos: Michaela Genz for Vroom Media

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