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The critical eye of Christian Lundberg

The critical eye of Christian Lundberg

Few technicians in the World Championship have worked with as many talents as Lundberg, helping many onto the world stage

Despite his youth, Christian Lundberg boasts an incredible track record on the world stage, one of the most respected and successful technicians in the lightweight class. Currently working with Leopard Racing, he and Danny Kent are battling together for the Moto3™ World Championship but the likes of Maverick Viñales, Scott Redding, Stefan Bradl, Fabio Quartararo and Jorge Navarro have all been shaped and moulded by the infamous Italian.

After winning the Italian championship in 1999, Lundberg moved to Spain to compete in the CEV with the talented Angel Rodriguez as his rider. “It was a spectacular year, the level was very high with the likes of Pedrosa, Elias and Faubel, a good year to debut,” he remembers. Angel Rodriguez won the title in 2001 against a certain Australian by the name of Casey Stoner.

A multitude of great riders have been under the command of Lundberg in their early years and a common denominator exists amongst them all. After working with him they all jumped to the world stage, landing with a loud splash of excitement and anticipation. “Perhaps I have been fortunate to have talented riders, but perhaps I have a special way to view them. They were all kids who were very fast, raw talent and I think of them all Scott Redding had the most natural talent. He was very young, but won many races in the CEV in a row and then we continued to the World Championship with the same structure, the same mechanics and managed to win a race in our first year, setting a new record for the youngest victory, and also run at the front in the first race. Viñales came to us a bit older and was better formed for the world stage, which allowed him to win four races in the first year. Both are super talents who are now in MotoGP showing great ability.”

History proves that Lundberg has an exquisite eye for choosing riders, “A good eye and luck, there is everything you need!” he jokes, “A good eye first of course, and to have the opportunity and resources to enable the riders to show themselves. There are many riders who maybe have not found the right situation to highlight their talent in the FIM CEV Repsol and do not reach the World Championship, but who knows, there’s a lot of talent and competition in the FIM CEV Repsol now.”

In most of the teams he has worked in, Christian Lundberg has combined the roles of technical director and sporting director, a rare combination in the paddock especially on the world level. He believes there is no secret: “Just passion and an open mind, every day there are things to be learned. You learn to talk less because here you say anything and it quickly reaches the end of the paddock through many people and it becomes a monster. What you need is a passion for doing the job well, and to push to be at the front. I came to racing 99% due to my passion, and that pushes you to always give your best and do everything to make things perfect and give the pilots the best you can offer them, what they deserve. But I don’t do it for them, I do it for myself. I like this type of competition.”

Despite having worked with so many talented riders, Lundberg still remembers all the strengths and weaknesses of each:

“Maverick Viñales is a great talent, one of the most talented I have ever seen. We came into his life during a complicated time, not only as an athlete but also as a teenager. This created some problems for us at times, but certainly he has a knack for going fast. To define him in one word I would say: explosive.”

“Scott Redding is very similar. Maverick had less dedication and was naughty. I think many of Scott’s results came perhaps too early, causing him to lose a bit of concentration perhaps. He is a super talent, but I think he has to trust more in the technical side.”

“Stefan Bradl is quite the opposite to the previous two. He was a very thoughtful person, he would stop and get off the bike and already had very clear ideas. He has a gift for high speeds coupled with a very technical mind. This helped a lot in the smaller categories. He is a very complete rider, not quite excelling in any section, but a 8.5-9 in everything and this allows him to be strong.”

“I hardly got to know Fabio Quartararo because I worked with him for just three weeks, the final stages of the FIM CEV Repsol 2013 season. I can say that in those three weeks, in which he won all races and took the title, he showed a speed and concentration that I had never seen, especially at that age and with relatively little experience on motorcycles. I didn’t have time to learn how he liked the bike, he adapted well to what we gave him and I am excited for continue to work together again.”

“Danny Kent has experience and that helps. He is also very fast, I’d give him a 9 across all the sections and he has done very well in 2015, expect in Aragon. In Silverstone he was incredible, racing in those conditions and pushing so hard the championship in play, incredible. Unfortunately he has had two difficult rounds since.”

“Jorge Navarro is another guy who is very fast but does not perform at 100% if the bike isn’t right. When he can maintain his concretion level he can ride many laps with the fastest guys and is very competitive. He’s still lacking a little but will win soon on the world stage.”

“Joan Mir is impulsive, sometimes you have to stop him. He always gives 110% from Friday, which will help in the World Championship because there they go fast from the start. He lacks experience, but hopefully he can get that with what’s left of the FIM CEV Repsol this season and in the first races on the world level. I’m sure he will fight from the beginning.”

MotoGP, 2015, Stefan Bradl, Fabio Quartararo, Danny Kent, Maverick Viñales, Scott Redding

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