#AskHanika: “If I get a podium I will cut my hair”


Karel Hanika contests his second season in the World Championship in 2015 -also a sophomore campaign with Red Bull KTM Ajo. After his rookie year, the Czech rider has new goals for this season, which include podium finishes. Before that begins, however, Hanika takes on the questions posed by his fans in this interview.


What is your goal for this season?
“My goal is to be stronger in the races than last year, in order to truly prove my potential. Last season I showed some of it, but I could have done better. If I am at 100% for every race and keep concentration without making mistakes, I think I can keep up with the front group. We’ll see how we start in Qatar.”

Everyone notices your hair, if you get on the podium this year, are you going to cut it?
“Well, I hope to improve on the results from last year and getting on the podium would be a great achievement. If I succeed, I will not shave it completely but will change the style a little. Perhaps I’ll give it a ‘6’ [Laughs].”

Do you think your first podium is an achievable goal this season?
“Yes, of course it is possible. We have a great team and a good bike. This year is the perfect time to get a first rostrum. I have more experience now than last year and this also gives me more confidence.”

This is the second year that you are at Red Bull KTM Ajo, but your teammates have changed. What is the atmosphere like with Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder?
“The atmosphere is very good. The mechanics and all of us form a family, in which I feel very comfortable. Now Miguel [Oliveira] and Brad [Binder] have joined, nothing has changed. They are good guys and are now also part of the Red Bull KTM Ajo team. I like them because they are fun people. I think all three of us can get good results for our team.”

In 2012, Ajo Motorsport had three riders on the podium. Do you think that this year you can repeat that?
“Yes, it is possible because I have more experience and I think I have a chance to get on the podium. Miguel [Oliveira] and Brad [Binder] have already achieved podiums throughout their careers, so I think we are strong enough to get this.”

What is the advantage of having three riders in the same garage?
“We are closer to each other and that improves the atmosphere in the team. On the track it is good that we can also help one another, for example by comparing telemetry so we know the places where we can gain some time. It is the best thing about having two teammates. I’m happy about this.”

Last year you visited Argentina for the first time. Did you like the country and the circuit?
“Yes, both the country and the circuit are beautiful. I had never gone to South America before. All the races were nice, but I particularly enjoyed the Argentinian GP. It’s not a country you visit every day, and Buenos Aires was awesome. The layout is also unique. I enjoyed that weekend.”

Which is your favorite track?
“I have two: Assen and Sachsenring. I know them very well and I’ve always managed good comebacks at those circuits. Last year we got good results there, and this year I hope to also do well. I look forward to riding there. “

What are the main differences between the Red Bull Rookies Cup and the Moto3 World Championship?
“Undoubtedly the big difference is the level. Honestly, in the Red Bull Rookies Cup I did not find it hard to get up to the front and fight for victory. Here in the World Championship it is much more difficult to maintain consistency and concentration during the race. This is the main thing I learned last year. I hope I can implement the experience I gained last year.”


What do your friends call you? ‘Karel?’, ‘Kaja?’
“Normally, in the paddock they call me ‘Karel’, which is my name. In the Czech Republic we usually give one another nicknames and mine is ‘Kaja’. My mother calls me ‘Karlic’.”

What is your favourite dinosaur?
“I only know the Tyrannosaurus Rex… so clearly it has been my favourite my whole life! [Laughs] “

Why do you use number 98?
“It was the number they gave me in testing with the Red Bull Rookies Cup. Before that I always used 28, and I wanted to use it in the Red Bull Rookies Cup. Another rider was using it, so I went with 98 because I liked the number and because I won the competition. Now I hope I can keep it throughout my career.”

Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals you always do before the race?
“Well, the truth is that I do have some small superstitions, like listening to music before races. It is an extra form of motivation and concentration. Before races I tend not to be too nervous or stressed. I try to keep a good feeling with both the team and with my mechanics. I try to take it as if it was not important, to relieve the pressure.”

What shampoo do you use?
“H&S, of course.[Laughs]”