Interview with Karel Hanika: “We are ready to get on the podium”


Red Bull KTM Ajo rider optimistic about home GP and ready for a place on the Moto3 podium.

Hanika, Moto3, Italian MotoGP 2015

Hanika, Moto3, Italian MotoGP 2015

After a wild Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix where the end result was a complete lottery, Karel Hanika reaches his home GP convinced he can take the last step needed for a podium finish. The young Czech rider has already proved that he can ride in the leading group and has two front rows from the last three races.

Sixteenth in the overall standings with 33 points, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes stock of this season so far and looks ahead to the Czech Republic GP.

What are your feelings after 10 Grands Prix?
“My feelings are pretty good as I feel that this year I can go faster alone and do the sessions as we want during the weekend. I would say that some of the races in the first half of the season went well, although in some we did not have luck and not take points. Nevertheless, the feeling is good and we continue to work to be fighting for the top positions. At times, especially in the last GP, we have been very close -and that’s good. The race last weekend was something completely unusual, a lottery, so in Brno I hope to enjoy a normal weekend.”

Which race would you consider to have been the best in the first half of the season?
“I think the weekend at Mugello was pretty good, although eventually I didn’t score any points because I was knocked off. I could have finished the race in third position. I was competing at the front and fighting for the win. I did a good job all weekend and got to start from the second row. The race did not quite go right for me and I had bad luck.

On the other hand, Assen also went quite well and we were in the top ten all weekend. In the qualifying session I got on the front row for the first time. In the race I made a mistake that cost me the top positions and I finished eighth. I’ve had good races, but at others I have not scored points -and those are points I now miss. However, the general feeling is good.”

What you have improved this year compared to your rookie year?
“We have improved the type of work and time we put in on track, because now we are basically always working towards the race. We must continue in this way. We believe that the best is yet to come. On an individual level I’m learning at the same time as I’m riding. The more laps I put in, the better a rider I become. In that sense, it is clear that I am still learning some things to get even faster. The level in Moto3 is incredibly high and it’s not easy to be on top, although it is good news to know that we are close.”

Do you think this year the level in Moto3 is higher than in 2014?
“Yes, without a doubt. If you ask all the other riders, they will tell you that the level is higher than in other years. Maybe if I had ridden this way three, four or five years ago, I could have finished in the top five in every races -but this year the level is really high.

Basically, all the bikes are equally fast and you need to find the necessary points to be better than others and stay focused on it. It is not easy, but I hope to do better in this second half of the season. I only need to feel more comfortable in the races and make no mistakes so we can be among the best.”

What results in this second half of the season would make you satisfied?
“I would be happy to be in the top ten in the overall standings. As I said, I have lost many points through bad luck and I think we could be in the top ten with no problem. Now we must recover, try to finish the races and give the maximum to get good results.”

Do you think it is possible to get on the podium this season?
“I’m sure I’ll have chances of a podium and it would be amazing to get it in this second half of the season. Although it is not easy to achieve in this championship, I think we’re ready for it. We just need a little more luck and to be a little calmer. I work hard for podiums this season and I always try to give the maximum to get the best result.”

What is your opinion on the issue of the 2015 Czech Republic GP?
“It’s a difficult situation. I don’t know what is happening but there are many different interests in this GP. I hope that the situation does not reach the limit. In the last 3 years we’ve seen more of an influx of fans and it is a spectacular circuit, so it would be a shame to lose it. This year will hopefully not be the last time here. As always, I will give everything to achieve the best possible result.”

Does this uncertainty worry you?
“Clearly, if we lose this round it would be sad. It’s a circuit I like and that is special since I live a few kilometres away. I know I can’t do a lot about it but this GP benefits me because it is my home round, I have the support of the fans and we believe we can have good races.”

Is this GP the one you are most looking forward to?
“Yes. Brno is one of the Grands Prix that I await most eagerly. Last year I was pretty fast during all the sessions and was always among the top eight riders. In the race I finished 1.8 seconds behind the winner, but eventually I ended up fifteenth, although the important thing is that we were fighting at the front. We must stick with the positives and use the experience to be faster this year.”

How do you see the Moto3 title fight?
“I think the leaders will break away by many points. In fact, Kent has a big advantage now and is very consistent, but this is racing and nothing is over yet. There are other fast riders who are also doing well and it will not be easy. We will try to ride amongst them and try to achieve the highest number of points possible.”

What do you think of the MotoGP season?
“I’m a fan of Valentino [Rossi] because he is an incredible rider. I did not expect at the beginning of the season that Marquez and Pedrosa would be in this situation, but they are all very close. I think that Valentino and Jorge [Lorenzo] will have good fights and are the two riders with more options of winning the title. Suzuki have also come through, which means the championship is more interesting. Although Marquez could win all the races that remain until the end of the season, I think the champion will be one of the two Yamaha riders. You never know what can happen but this year I think Valentino is the strongest rider. I hope he wins world title.”