“My heartbeat races when I watch last year’s GP”

14/10/2013

Arthur Sissis, twelfth in Moto3 standings, eager to ride at home in front of friends, family and fans.

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It is not the circuit at which he has ridden the most races, but Phillip Island is a favourite circuit for Arthur Sissis and he took his first Grand Prix podium there last season. That is still his best result in the World Championship and the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider is out to repeat the performance this weekend.

What are your memories of the Australian Grand Prix last season?
“I have only good memories of that weekend. Everyone thought that I started with an advantage as it was my home race but, even though it seems like a lie, that was the first time I had properly ridden at Phillip Island. On the Saturday I got my best position on the grid of the year –which is still the second best in my career so far– and on the Sunday I took my first World Championship podium. To achieve this in front of my friends, family and all the Australian fans was incredible.”

Did you expect that result?
“No, I did not expect it at all. In fact, I had expected to do better in the European rounds, because thanks to the Red Bull Rookies Cup those were the tracks that I knew better. I’d only been to Phillip Island once, for half a day and putting in few laps. I was really keen to ride at such a magnificent circuit.”

What were the most special moments from that weekend?
“Probably the last lap. Whenever I watch the race my heartbeat accelerates when I get to that last turn. It was awesome! We fought very hard on every lap, but when Danny Kent passed me on the last lap I thought that it was over and that Danny would take third. However, I knew that I had better braking at Turn 4 and overtook him there. Then I had to shut the door on the remaining turns, braking as late as possible. My heart was pounding.”

Until the final laps you were not up into the podium positions. Did you believe in the possibility of finishing on the rostrum?
“For much of the race I was down in seventh or eighth place. When Sandro [Cortese] and Miguel Oliveira broke away I started to overtake riders over the course of a few laps, and got up into the fight for the podium. To tell the truth, on the early laps I did not think that it could be my day. But when we got to the final laps and I was near third place, I became aware that I had a unique opportunity. I had to give everything.”

Do you remember any special message of congratulations?
“I couldn’t pick out any in particular, it was all very special. When I crossed the finish line all the fans were screaming and when I entered pitlane all the teams congratulated me and applauded me. I’ve never seen that before, only when Fahmi [Zulfahmi Khairuddin] took the podium in Malaysia. It was a very nice feeling that I will never forget.”

What do you expect from the Australian Grand Prix in 2013?
“I’ll definitely be trying to repeat last year’s result.”

Do you think this year’s race will be more challenging than last time?
“Yes, I think it will be more difficult because there are four riders who are very fast: Salom, Rins, Viñales and Marquez. Despite this, I think I can do a good job.”

Do you feel much pressure with it being your home race?
“Last year I did not notice it much. I really put more pressure myself that I got from others. I want to do well at home and I don’t want to disappoint the fans. In fact, it is the track where I am the most relaxed, because I feel at home and my family and my friends help me. In addition, Phillip Island is my favourite track on the entire calendar.”

Casey Stoner was the king of this circuit and many other Australian riders have won here. What is the secret for Australian riders?
“I don’t know. It is probably the motivation that we get from our supporters. Bear in mind that we are always far away from our friends and our country. Although they might be in different countries, European riders are lucky in that their supporters can follow them easily. Stoner won the MotoGP races here because he took risks in places where the other riders did not dare. In Moto3 we just have to give it full gas [Laughs].”

Weather conditions are always important at a Grand Prix. Is that something that bothers you especially this weekend?
“Yes, because I’ve been watching MotoGP races at Phillip Island since 2005 and it is always the same. On Friday it starts off cold, with rain and wind, and at some point over the weekend the sun comes out. It is very difficult to be fast in the wind. However, we did so last year and it will be the same for everyone.”

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