Interview with Danny Kent: “We can compete and win races with the Husqvarna”18/03/2014
Briton satisfied with preseason and with return to Moto3 as Husqvarna rider.
The Moto3 World Championship begins on Sunday at Losail in Qatar, and Danny Kent returns to the class after a year in Moto2. The young Briton is riding for Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo and is keen to pick up from where he left off in 2012, with two wins from his last four races. More experienced, Kent is happy with his preseason and excited about what promises to be a great year.
This is a return to Moto3 for you. How has the preseason gone?
“It was a preseason of ups and downs, but I think I adapted back to this category pretty well –although admittedly I only spent a year in Moto3 in 2012. The development made by Husqvarna has changed a lot about the bike, so I have to ride in a very different way than back then. We have adapted well and I’m happy with how the preseason went. We have the satisfaction that we have done a good job and we already have a good base; now it is going to be important to adapt it to each track.”
This year you’re back with Ajo Motorsport but with only chief mechanic Massimo Branchini from your previous stint with the team. How have your first months with the new team been?
“I’m very happy with everyone. I first met Massimo in my first year in the World Championship. It’s always good to work with someone with whom you have worked before, because we have experience together and we know each other better. I’m very happy with them and we are working hard.”
Are the results of this preseason what you had expected?
“Honestly I had not set any personal goals. The key thing was feeling good on the bike. It’s always nice to see your name in the top positions, but at this time of year you’re only looking to find a good feeling with the bike.”
This is a special year for Husqvarna, as they debut in Moto3. Is it also special for you?
“Yes, it is always special and I am proud to take part in the beginning of a project and also to be competitive right from the first year. We shall fight because we hope to have a great season.”
What are the strengths of the Husqvarna FR 250 GP?
“I really like the bike because it stands out for speed. It has a very powerful acceleration. There will be riders who feel better with another type of bike, or who like to have a lot of grip on the corners, but I am personally very pleased with my machine. I know that we can compete and win races.”
Heading into the first race, what would you like to improve during practice?
“A test and a race are very different. We have been on top many times this preseason, but in a race you have to perform more consistently. There are riders who are consistent and there are others that only are fast for one lap. I think the Qatar circuit is well suited to my style, with fast and flowing corners, so I hope to make a good start to the year.”
What is the goal for this race?
“Mainly finishing in the top five or on the podium. I don’t see why not. We have a good team and a good bike, so we have to work hard from now on.”
And for the rest of the season?
“It is clear that throughout the year the key is to be as consistent as possible. I know that we can’t win every race, even if it would be nice. I’ll be up there fighting for it. But as I say, the most important thing is to be consistent. I’ve studied a lot of races from last year, and you can see that Maverick [Viñales] did not win so many races but ended up being World Champion. That’s why it’s important to be consistent and start the year right. We’ll be trying to fight for podiums and see how the season progresses.”
You’re back in Moto3 back to after a season in Moto2. What does this step in your career mean?
“Maybe it’s true that I feel more pressure this year and I have to win races and fight to place as high up as possible, but I am happy to return to this category. We have a great team and a bike with which I know we can get to the top of the podium.”
Have you had to lose weight to compete in this category?
“I tried to lose some weight but it was hard, because my body composition does not allow it. It would not be healthy with the body that I have. Anyway, the most important thing is getting ready physically in the gym to be strong and in good shape for Qatar.”
Do you think there is anything from your experience in Moto2 that can help you this year?
“I think I’ve learned to fight for every thousandth of a second, because in Moto2 lap times were very tight. In this class we don’t all have the same engine and I think that will allow for a little more aggressive riding. Clearly now I have more experience after being in a higher category and I’m sure I will notice this.”
How do you see the other riders competing for the World Championship?
“I think there are several candidates who can win the title. There are many strong riders. Going by lap times, I think one of the favourites is Jack Miller. I believe he is one of the fastest, as has been seen throughout preseason. Also, Fenati and Antonelli. I think the two Alex’s [Rins and Marquez] will also be up there, as they demonstrated on the final day at Jerez. Nevertheless, as I said, testing and the races are completely different things. I went to Qatar in 2012 after being one of the fastest in testing and finished eighth. So we cannot draw conclusions from testing.”