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A Post-season Catch-up: Sandro Cortese

A Post-season Catch-up: Sandro Cortese

Following the 2013 season, which was the first year in Moto2™ for both team and the rider, Dynavolt Intact GP’s Sandro Cortese spoke about his impressions of the last twelve months and about his plans for 2014.

A long and instructive season is behind Sandro Cortese, the Moto3™ World Champion of 2012, and the Dynavolt Intact GP outfit, which was established over a year ago to begin the adventure in Moto2™ with the previous year’s lightweight class winner.

After eight years in the smaller category, Cortese made the leap into Moto2™. On his debut, he secured 13th place on the grid in Qatar. Three races later, he took his first championship points in Le Mans. The 23 year-old was able to finish seven of 17 races of the season in the points (Le Mans, Mugello, Assen, Sachsenring, Aragón, Phillip Island and Motegi).

At Brno, he qualified fifth on the grid before he crashed the following day at the end of the race and consequently broke his right forearm. Then, at Aragón, the German gathered his best result of the year with tenth place. Two 11th places in Australia and Japan would follow.

Sandro, what was your first impression of the intermediate class? What was the biggest difference between the bikes of Moto3™ and Moto2™?

 It was a complete change. At the beginning it was very, very difficult for me. You get to a certain level, but to go really fast you have to change a lot. It needs much physical strength. The Moto2™ bike is twice as heavy as the Moto3™ machine. It has more than twice the power and you have to get used to it if you have been in the smaller class for so long. It took me a few races.

It was a pity that I had the crash at Brno and that I got injured. I broke my hand so unfortunately that still bothers me, especially in cold conditions. That's why I'm undergoing operation one more time on 19th December, to remove the plate and to be pain-free.

It was a very tough season. Not only for me as a rider but for everyone: for the team, for the sponsors. It is always difficult to accept that we now are not among the front-runners. I think we have all worked hard, but it doesn't come overnight that you are not fighting again for top five results, podiums or even wins.

Now I know what I need to improve. Last year I did not really know what to expect. I knew it would be hard, but not how hard. After the season, I know exactly what I need to approach in order to be even faster.

How far did you have to adjust your riding style after eight years in the lightweight class?

In Moto3™, you have to ride very gently and take very much speed, because you don't have that much power. In Moto2™ you have to brake very hard, with not so much corner speed as with the small machine, but then again accelerate very strong out of the corners. Until you have realised that, even drifting in the corners with used tyres, takes time.

One question regarding the final test in Almeria. You have tested the 2014 Kalex frame of as well as new swingarms. What more has changed on the bike and what are your findings from the test?

My impression of the whole bike is very positive. The developments from Kalex match my riding style me very much. We still haven't made the most of the motorcycle's performance. I was able to improve on the track, on which I also rode early last season. This is also related to the fact that I have now collected a season of experience. But on the whole I am very pleased with the test and the bike. I also had a lot of fun while riding and felt good.

What goals do you have for 2014?

Put it this way: we are there to eventually win again. We will do everything possible over the winter to come back into podium reach. But we all know how hard that is. We first need to confirm what we have indicated in the last few races. But we aren't dreamers either. We just have to work very hard. Technically and physically, I think we are very well-situated. The guys are doing a great job and I must continue to evolve. I will also do everything possible over the winter to be prepared.

The hunger to be back at the front is extremely high. It is the worst for a racer, right after my year that I had had before, to be back being in the queue again. You still give it your everything, but it's just not as easy because the experience was still lacking. Now I know it better and I also try to exploit that. That said, anything is possible.

In 2014 new riders will step up from Moto3™ - old rivals such as Maverick Viñales, Luis Salom and Jonas Folger. Are you one step ahead of them?

I hope so [laughs]! I think Maverick (the new Moto3™ World Champion), as could be seen already here at the test, will be very fast. I also think that Jonas and Luis will need their time. Finally we have to see what happens in Doha, because testing and Grands Prix are always two different pairs of shoes…

A long winter break lies ahead. Do you have any holiday plans?

I think that we all will recover somewhat in December. Earlier this month the guys still have to work in the headquarters in Memmingen to get everything ready. But I think, no later than mid-December, everyone will be able to have some well-deserved holidays. I'll go away right after this test. Later I will undergo more surgery to remove the plate…and that is not to mention the fitness training over the winter!

Moto2, 2014, Sandro Cortese

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