Interview with Bo Bendsneyder: “If you finish the race you learn a lot”03/08/2016
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider takes stock of his first half-season in the Moto3 World Championship.
Bo Bendsneyder has gone from strength to strength in the Moto3 World Championship, arriving at the halfway point of the year in great form after scoring points at three consecutive races. Currently 22nd in the overall standings with 18 points, the Dutch rider talks about his rookie season so far, his adaptation to the Red Bull KTM Ajo team, his relationship with Brad Binder and his objectives for the second half of the season.
How did you feel about your start to the World Championship season?
“It was a good first half of the season. The first race went very well, but then we struggled more at other circuits. We continued to work hard and after the first 3 or 4 Grands Prix we took another step forward, scoring points and even a Top 10.”
Would you have taken these results at the start of the season?
“I was more focused on taking one or two points, but now it seems that we can fight to get amongst the top ten. I think we are working in the right way. In short, I am very satisfied with the first 9 races.”
Is consistency the most important thing for a newcomer in the World Championship?
“Yes, because even if you finish in last place, if you finish the race you learn a lot. You can see how other riders do. Things are going well for me now and I have been able to finish all the races. The team have helped me, Aki [Ajo] has told me to finish races and to never stop learning. We are happy, I have scored points at the last three races and we have a positive dynamic.”
What has surprised you about the World Championship compared to other categories, such as the Red Bull Rookies Cup?
“Definitely the way in which the riders fight on the track. They are very aggressive -more so than I expected- and it’s hard to find a place for yourself.”
In what ways have you improved since the start of the season in Qatar?
“What I am most happy about is the step forward we have made in qualifying. We had good pace but couldn’t get a grid position that would allow us to have a good race. Now we have to continue improving our fighting with other riders, be more aggressive and aim for more Top 10s in the race.”
You’ve scored points at the last three races, and in Assen you got your best result in the World Championship. Do you feel more comfortable now?
“Yes, I feel very good with both the team and the bike. We are working hard and working well, going step by step, and with every race we grow a little more.”
“Brad [Binder] is a smart guy, and I hope he wins the title.”
You are teammates with the current leader of the Moto3 World Championship, Brad Binder. Have you learned anything from him?
“It’s not easy to keep up with him, because he is very fast, but I learn a lot from Brad and that is the most important thing in the end. We share data so I can see in what areas I am losing time, so it is easier to improve for the next session. In addition, the Red Bull KTM Ajo team are like a family; we are all very united, both my crew and Brad’s, and I like that a lot. We are also close with the Ajo Motorsport structure in Moto2; everything helps.”
The next round of the World Championship will be held at the Red Bull Ring. It will be a special race for Red Bull and KTM, and will also be the first race you ride there. Will it be a Grand Prix that is different from the rest?
“Yes, it will be special in way, because it will be a new circuit for everyone, but beforehand we have been able to have two positive days of testing there. For the team, Red Bull and KTM, I am really looking forward to this Grand Prix.”
The second part of the season will include some completely new circuits for you. What do you expect from these 9 races?
“I’m looking forward to it. We are going to visit countries where I’ve never been. At first it will be more difficult, but we must think that there are 10 to 12 riders rookies this season, and we all have to deal with the same situation. I think that we will know the circuit better after training and will be able to work well.”
What position would you like to see yourself in the overall standings after the Valencian Grand Prix?
“It would be great to be among the top fifteen, but now we must focus on improving and scoring points at every race. Then we’ll see what happens.”
How do you see the fight for the Moto3 title?
“I hope and believe that my partner Brad can win it, because he was very strong in the first half of the season and has scored points at each race -when other riders had difficulties. He’s a smart guy, and I hope he wins it.”
Has being a Moto3 World Championship rider changed your life in any way?
“Yes, a little bit. You’re not at home as much, and when you are, you need to train -for example in supermoto. Although things are different from before, I like this way of life.”