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After two wins and a further five podiums in 2019, Snipers Team’s Tony Arbolino will begin the Moto3™ 2020 campaign as one of the favourites for the crown. Ahead of a huge year for the talented Italian, motogp.com caught up with him to discuss injury, training and expectations.
At the start of your third year in the World Championship you claimed your first podium, but during the last races you had severe pain in your arms. Has this been resolved?
“In the last part of the season I experienced severe pain in my arms because I grew up and I am growing a lot and it is something that made me lose a lot of concentration. It is not yet clear what the real problem is, however I try to free my muscles as much as possible with massages. I hope this problem does not reoccur and I really think it was a coincidence. It's a shame to have had this problem, I felt much stronger than Canet and Ramirez but in the end it went as it went.”
How are you training for this season?
“The working method is the same, having more experience with my trainer and I have adapted the program. Since I am very tall I struggle to make certain movements or to maintain certain positions on the bike, so we are working to adapt as much as possible. I am very prepared both psychologically and physically. In Moto3™ you never know what to expect but I think I am ready for any type of condition and challenge.”
Your team manager made it clear that the goal is the title. Thoughts?
“I don't like making these kinds of statements. Also because in Moto3™ there are always a lot of surprises, my technician and I are going ahead with our work schedule without thinking about the championship but we are focused on every single appointment, we will work race by race. KTM have taken a big step forward so we will have to stay focused on our work.”
Who is your reference within the team and why?
“Josep Martinez, my chief engineer. He gave me a lot of confidence when I had not yet achieved great results, he did a great job with me, allowing me to grow a lot. Having already spent two seasons behind me, I believe that he will be able to be more precise in analysing data and observing information from previous seasons.”
Who do you think will be your main rivals?
“I think there will be many fast riders, Team Petronas and Leopard have very strong sides. But like every year there will be many riders who will demonstrate their potential during the season.”
How did the decision to move to Lugano come about?
“Living in Emilia-Romagna makes the difference when you are small because there are many tracks, it is a little warmer, so there are more facilities and opportunities to train with mini bikes. Now that I'm in the World Championship, I don't think it changes much living in Romagna because unless you train in structures like the Academy VR46, where there are many riders and a lot of competitiveness during training, it would change very little. In any case, I go to Spain to train on the track because it is warmer and there is a lot of competition. Then I like Lugano because I have a lot of time to think about how to improve myself and how to improve the bike. I have fewer distractions.”
Now that Lorenzo has retired, have you thought about asking him to coach you?
“Maybe! The next time I see him I will try to throw the joke but I don't want to interfere on his decisions. Of course, for me it would be a dream. When it comes to work, Jorge is a machine, he has changed me a lot, he has shared with me his dedication and the concentration it takes to do this job. He would be the ideal coach for me.”
Pernat is an icon in this sport. What is the most useful advice he has given you?
“It's incredible. He knows what I want, what I would like but we talk little about work because he wants to leave me alone, he leaves me room. In the job he is really great.”
In July, did you have the opportunity to go to Moto2™?
“I chose together with Carletto. After all, this was the first year in which I managed to be really competitive and I remember telling him when I go to Moto2™ I want to get competitive, I want to be physically and mentally ready from the first year. That's why I chose to stay another year with the same team in the same category.”
In view of the season that is about to begin, what aspects are you focusing on most?
“On the tracks that we will face in the final part of the championship because they are the ones where we had a drop. We are understanding step by step how to improve in order to be competitive there too. Having an extra year of experience will help me to face even a little more complicated situations. "
How do you get away from the bikes?
“Playing football with my friends. When I get to the limit I organise a game, now they know it, they understand it and they never say no to me.”
The Moto3™ riders will resume 2020 testing at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto on the 19-21 February, before the season opener at Qatar on the 8 March.
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