Interview Julian Simon: “The team and I know our potential and we have higher expectations”

 In Moto2, News

Spaniard Julian Simón started his third season in the Moto2 category in Qatar two weeks ago after stepping back up to the intermediate class as the 125cc world champion of 2009. A long struggle with a complicated leg fracture delayed the 25-year-old’s chances to show his full potential. With a switch to the Blusens Team after spending his most successful years with the Aspar squad he now wants to turn his fortunes around and looks to hopefully step up to the big class in the coming season. In an interview with he spoke about his ambition for this year and what comes after that.

After a somewhat low-key start to the season with 15th place in Qatar, Julián Simón is approaching Jerez with renewed determination and the intention of resolving some outstanding issues on his FTR machine. The Spaniard spoke to about his start to the campaign and his aims for the next round and beyond.

Is it fair to say that 15th place in Qatar fell short of what you had targeted before the season started?
“It wasn’t what I expected. I had done a lot of preparation during the winter and my aim was to be amongst the top five, or in the top ten at least, and that wasn’t achieved. I’ve not lost any morale because of that though. We know that the level in Moto2 steps up every year, but the team and I know our potential and we have higher expectations.”

You mentioned after the Qatar race that a vibration problem had to be resolved, above all else…
“Yes, we’re going to try and fix this chatter issue which I’ve been experiencing since I’ve been riding this bike. It needs to be resolved because it’s a big problem. When you release the brakes the bike begins to vibrate, and that makes it difficult to ride. With the level of competition in Moto2, when you have a problem like that with your set-up you lose a bit of confidence and it’s much more difficult to be where you want to be. This, along with the bike not turning in corners as I would like it to, means we can’t be competitive in many sectors on track – as happened in Qatar – and in the end you can’t be in the position you’re capable of.”

Corsi was the highest placing FTR in Qatar in eighth place, and you were the second highest in 15th. What’s missing in order for you to be up there with the bikes at the front?
“The team is doing everything possible for me to get comfortable with the bike and be amongst the top positions, and to be the top FTR. At the last GP in Qatar (Simone) Corsi was the top FTR, he rode a better race than me, but during the winter we were the reference a little bit. We have to give our all with what we have, and that’s what we’re doing now, working and trying to get closer to the Kalex and Suter bikes which are strong. We’ll see what happens at Jerez, I hope that both the team and I will be at a better level.”

How are you, physically, after your serious injury last year and how would you asses your riding level?
“I’m at a great level. I did loads this winter, training how I like to train by doing motocross, cycling… The leg didn’t prevent me from doing the activities which I view as being ideal for being active and strong. I’m in very good shape, perhaps the finest I’ve ever been, but I also see a tough year ahead of me with plenty of hard competition, and that means that if you or your bike aren’t at 100% you can’t be in the positions you want to be. However, I’m more confident than ever that if the bike allows me to do what I want to do, then I’ll be fighting for the positions at the front because I believe I have the experience, motivation and riding ability to be able to battle amongst the top five at the very least.”

It’s easy to assume you would have liked to have been in that fight at the front in Qatar. How did you view the battle and the controversy which surrounded the move from Márquez on Lüthi?
“Yes I would have loved it, but in that race my battle wasn’t there, I don’t have that rhythm right now, even if I am just a little bit behind. With regards to the scraps, motorcycle races are at the very limit. We see overtaking moves at the limit in every category, but in Moto2 they appear more intense because the competitiveness is at a higher level due to the fact we all have the same engine. The difference amongst the chassis is much more varied, but less than in MotoGP, and this means we’re usually all tightly grouped until at least the midway point of the race. There’s plenty of scrapping, a lot of overtaking and a fair few elbows – it’s a spectacle for sure. The overtakes are at the limit, as riders we are conscious that we could touch one another and fall, and it goes with the territory that from time to time there will be overtakes that border on the extreme. The one involving Lüthi and Márquez was within the boundaries, Márquez is a very astute rider and he closed out that space. Fortunately for the spectators and fans there are going to be plenty more overtakes on the limit during the season, and that’s a positive thing for the overall spectacle.”

Even though it’s not the battle we’ll see as much of on TV, the fight for 15th in Moto2 is also fairly fierce.
“Almost even more! In Moto2 you can be in seventh position and have eight or nine riders right behind you, at least. You can’t afford to switch off for even a split second, you need to be sure and confident in yourself, know what your pace and rhythm are and never throw in the towel. You can drop from seventh to 15th in the space of just a few laps. That’s what happened to me in Qatar, when I was fighting with Elías, Neukirchner and a number of others.”

Do you think it’s possible for you to be fighting at the front with the FTR, and to be challenging for wins this year?
“I have no doubt that we will achieve better results than what we did in Qatar. My main aim is to get rid of the problems we’re having, which are fairly significant ones, and to improve our position not just in the race, but in the practice and qualifying sessions too. We have to raise the bar, starting from here, and with the job the team is doing on the development of the chassis I hope we can be in the top five very soon. I think that we can set our sights on fighting for wins in some races.”

You’re very active on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and you seem to receive plenty of support from fans through these.
“Yes it’s true, they show me a lot of affection and I saw that a lot last year when I had my injury. There was a real strong show of support and they were really concerned by the accident, and I was extremely grateful for that. Through the social networks I try to show that I’m a normal guy who loves bikes, competing, and that this is my daily focus… My motivation and ambition is to be happy every day in what I do.”

Have you given any thought to whether you’ll end your stay in Moto2 at the end of the 2012 season?
“Right now the most important thing for me is results. But yes, I have to try my best to be amongst the top riders so that the MotoGP teams – including my Blusens Avintia team who are now in the premier class – may offer me the chance to step up to MotoGP. I’ve been wanting to make the step up for years, I believe I could do it well and that I’d be well suited to the MotoGP bikes. I have tested the Ducati at Jerez before, and I loved it. Let’s hope this will be the final year, but that it will be because I’ve had a fantastic Moto2 campaign and that I can make the move up with a great list of achievements under my belt.”


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