Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) has been a man in form in 2018, and that after overcoming injury that saw him miss a number of Grands Prix last season. Patience and hard work has paid off, and on his 151st start the German has finally taken his first podium finish after getting so close already this season (three fourth places, to be precise!).
It started well on Friday when the Bavarian-born rider topped the timesheets, as he has done at several events this season, but at Misano the pace carried over into both qualifying and race day. Once up to speed, however, the German also needed to fight it out and then had chance to attack Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) for second on the final lap.
“Finally! It’s still a little bit hard to understand, it’s been so long,” says a grinning Schrötter. “I mean I don’t know what I did the last couple of years but my career was a little bit up and down since I’ve come into the World Championship. I always knew I could go fast, but I didn’t feel confident and have the package around me. This is something I already felt last year when I came into the team. Of course, we were on a different bike and we also had some problems there, but we were getting better and better and this year since the beginning I’ve felt a lot more confident and really good. I think almost every weekend we are close but we didn’t manage to make a good enough qualifying or race to be there. Step by step we came closer and today is finally the day I make the podium.
“Pecco was incredibly fast the first few laps. That’s something I need to work on, then I’m sure I can even fight for a better result because half way through I’m doing the same times or in the end I’m fast so we still need to work, but I’m really happy. The team did an incredible job on the bike and every weekend I feel good on the bike, there are never any issues and they do great work.”
And THAT overtake attempt?
“I was faster, I’ve had this with him in a few other races or with his teammate, I don’t know whether it’s the bike or their riding style but yeah they have a different riding style, stop the bike more and have good acceleration. This is not so easy to follow or then to be close enough at good points to overtake. So it was always like this, I was going and getting closer and then Mattia was in the middle, I needed two laps or one lap to pass him, but I thought I have to try because if I‘m that close and don’t try…of course you have the podium, but everybody will ask why didn’t you try. So you try! I tried to make it safe, it was risky overtaking but we didn’t touch and yeah, I tried. Maybe I could have been luckier to get second but that’s racing and we both got to the finish line.” All’s well that ends well. “I’m happy I tried it!”
So, going forward and keeping the roll going, Schrötter says learning how to translate pace into the race is a matter of practice.
“These kind of things you just learn in the race, you can go fast for a lap or in practice but in the race if you’re back in fifth or tenth position it’s a completely different race to manage, and also for the mental side. So it’s good to be there in this position, of course we want to be closer to the winner, that’s what I said we need to work on, but this is something you experience in the race.”