Juanfran Guevara interview – on 2014, testing, and 2015
Juanfran Guevara joined the MAPFRE Aspar Team last year, and took a fastest lap and two front row starts in his first season with the team. Fresh from his sophomore year, the Moto3 rider is ready to become one of the major players in the class in 2015. He will do so onboard a Mahindra, making him a factory rider within the MAPFRE Aspar Team. He spoke this week about his first impressions of the Indian bike, preseason testing and his verdict on last year.
What is your overall review of your first season with the MAPFRE Aspar Team?
In 2013 I arrived in the World Championship, but definitely did not reach my initial expectations. However, in 2014 I joined the MAPFRE Aspar Team and it has been a very positive move for me, both personally and professionally. This year I have taken a huge step up, the team have taught me a lot. From February to November, especially the last third of the season, I experienced tremendous growth. Undoubtedly I’m a better rider now, and in several races I achieved very positive results. That helps me believe in myself and makes me more eager to continue improving.
In 2014 you were alone in the MAPFRE Aspar Team and now you have two teammates. What can they give to you?
The fact that I spent a season without a teammate has been very positive, since the team were able to completely focus on me. So much attention was great for me to improve my characteristics as a rider, which I needed to do. Now that I’ve got experience, sharing a garage with two riders in Bagnaia and Martín will be great. Both are very fast riders and I’m convinced that we’ll push one another. I guess it will work well, as Mahindra also have three young riders in their ranks.
There seems to be a good bond between Pecco, Jorge and yourself, right from the start.
Pecco I’ve known for many years, we have competed together in the same championships since 2009. He has always struck me as a fast rider and very focused. With Jorge I have met him on occasion when training in the breaks, when I went down to the Murcia area to spend the summer and took the opportunity to train. We trained together in karting, he’s a great guy. He is the youngest of the three of us, and perhaps that means he needs to learn a little more, but he is ready to make the jump to the World Championship. And Pecco is certainly going to be battling in the top positions all year.
How is your foot after the crash at Valencia?
Until Monday of this week I was wearing taping. I suffered a second-degree sprain, but the recovery will take a little longer than expected, because in the fall some ligaments, tendons and nerves were affected. I took off the dressing a few days ago, but as the day progresses I noted that my ankle tires and I find it harder to walk. In any case I was very lucky not to break my leg on that spectacular crash, and also that I was injured out of competition time.”
What are your first impressions of the Mahindra?
The feeling that the Mahindra gives me is totally different from the bike I rode last season. This bike turns very well, it’s easy to lower times and, most importantly, the setup is relatively simple. I love the maneuverability. Having a factory behind you is very noticeable, as the bike evolves faster.
Is being on a factory team noticeable?
Very much so. We have seen in training, when asking for improvements they arrive for the next test. When we are working, especially in preseason, it is essential to have all the material and possible developments available in order to outline the 2015 bike. Mahindra have backed us completely and it is much easier to work like this. Everything we improve and our future results will be positive for us, but also for the factory.
You were fast in Cartagena, so what is the potential for the Mahindra?
In Cartagena we were trying things all day, and on one of the runs we pushed to try to get a good time. We have not been able to squeeze all the potential out of our new bike, but I am sure that through hard work next year we could be one of the best on the grid.
What do you consider to be its virtues?
Above all the manageability. Also the high and steady pace that it allows you to reach with a basic setup.
The Mahindra chassis looks promising.
The prototype chassis for 2015 is a bit stiffer than the previous season’s, something which is very positive as they have corrected some chatter that was appearing with the 2014 frame. The bike turns in very well, and I think we have to work to try to gain a little more grip on the rear. I’m pretty aggressive on the first point of acceleration and hence the need to have a lot of grip.
The engine is working better every day.
Yes, we have tested the new engine which runs with 500rpm fewer. It responds equally as well as last year. The intention is to get better performance with lower rpm. At the moment it’s all very good.
You have a new bike, new teammates and new challenges for 2015.
We face a big challenge. It will be my second year with the MAPFRE Aspar Team, and we will start with a different mentality. We have done a lot of riding and know exactly how we all operate. That will help us continue to improve. In 2014 we already managed to qualify on the front row and also set a fastest lap. We have seen that we can be at the front, both the team and I have the potential to do so, and so our aim will be to solidify our place amongst the best in the class. As we saw in 2014, everything is possible through hard work.
What are your plans for the winter break?
Firstly, recover completely from my foot injury, and then prepare my fitness to be ready when pre-season testing begins. I’m not going to move from my house, even at Christmas, which I will spend at home with my family. The goal for this winter is to continue my studies and train as much as I can.
Source: Aspar Media