4 years ago
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French rider Alexis Masbou chats to motogp.com after taking a sensational win in the dramatic Moto3™ race at Losail.
Masbou, on the SAXOPRINT RTG Honda, finished just 0.027s ahead of 2nd placed Bastianini, and leads the Moto3™ Championship standings after the first race.
In Qatar you clinched a career-first pole position. How important was this first pole?
“Extremely important because it was the kind of performance that was missing from my race weekends last year. Before the start of the season, the team and myself tried to work on that aspect and starting with this pole means that our work has paid off. Although we’re still at the very beginning of the season and know that it won’t be easy to repeat this kind of performance at every Grand Prix, it was very satisfying to start the season like this, with the first pole of my career.”
The race itself was very close, as usual in the Moto3™ class. Did you have a race plan or do you have to improvise when you find yourself in such a big leading pack?
“I had a strategy and the race unfolded more or less as I was expecting it to. I wanted to stay close to the first positions as long as possible and then save the tires for the end of the race. Unfortunately, I lost some ground fighting with Fabio (Quartararo) with only 5 or 6 laps to go but we were fast enough to recover and come back on the 4 or 5 riders who were ahead. For the last three laps, my tactic was the same as for the last lap but I would have liked to be in a better position at the beginning of the last lap. In the end I’ve had to pass more riders than I was hoping. We had more or less the same speed as Bastianini and I knew I could pass him before the line.”
You’re starting the new season at the top of the standings, with a second victory after your win Brno last year. What’s your state of mind ahead of the next races?
“I now have a boost of confidence and I want to go on like this. After such a good weekend, you always want to go on winning pole positions, victories and podiums. We’ve won the first race but our work is far from over. We’re just starting the season and I can’t wait to race in the US and in Argentina, where we’ll try our best to improve further.”
You joined the SAXOPRINT RTG squad for 2015. How was the transition?
“It has gone very well. We did several tests during the off-season in order to build the team. My crew chief, Marco Agostini, had to learn the Honda and I had to learn the team. We tried to join our strengths and we’re working very well together, although I can imagine it will get even better with time. Everything is going well and when you start the season like this, it can only go well.”
About the 2015 Honda, what are the main differences with last year’s bike?
“We received the engine quite early in the off-season and it is better than last year’s. We used to struggle a little bit with the acceleration against the KTM, Honda has worked to improve on that and our bike is now extremely powerful on the acceleration. It’s always pleasing to have a powerful bike. There are no major changes on the chassis but there are little improvements here and there. In the end, I feel much more confident than last year, mainly on corner entry.”
You’ll soon cross the Atlantic to race in Austin and then in Argentina seven days later. What are the keys to success on these two tracks?
“These are two circuits which also have long straights and we might once again see a big group fighting for victory. It will probably be easier to create a gap in Austin because there’s a long tortuous section. It will be hard to escape at the front in Argentina and we’ll probably have many riders in front, just like in Qatar. There will be a lot of fighting involved for these two GP’s, as very often in Moto3. I think that there will be many riders fighting for victory this year.”
It’s still very early to be talking about goals for this season and the world title but do you have any specific targets for this season, things you want to improve in or thing that you were lacking last year?
“As I said, we worked a lot this winter in order to be more competitive during the practice sessions. It will be important to always have a good lap time and to stay as close as possible from the two front lines in order to be in the leading group at the start of each race. Then we’re hoping to be on the podium as often as possible. We’ve had this win and now we have to continue on the podium if we want to pile up a maximum of points.”
4 years ago
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