Xabi Zurutuza: “We are becoming more consistent and the results will come”


The Spanish rider is competing in his first season in the Moto3 World Championship. After scoring points in his debut race in Austin, Zurutuza has had a mixed campaign. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider analyses the aspects to improve in the future.

What has this opportunity meant to you and how are you approaching it?
“Competing in the World Championship is the dream for every rider and it is the goal we have chased since we were little. I am facing it in the best way possible, fighting every weekend, gaining kilometres and experience race by race -which is the most important thing. The first year is for learning and finding out what the most important factors are to be as competitive as possible in the future.”

You missed the first two races due to the minimum age limit, but on your debut you managed to get into the points. Did it help you become more motivated?
“I was quite upset to miss the first two races due to the minimum age limit, but it is something we cannot fight against. Austin was a great circuit to debut at; I really liked the place and the circuit and, to top it off, I scored points in my first Grand Prix. It helped me a lot to motivate me to achieve good results, and that is what we are currently doing.”

What is the most difficult thing for you this season and what points do you think you can improve for the second part of the campaign?
“I’m having a little trouble catching up with the rest of the riders. I didn’t compete in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, and last season I only competed in Junior GP, so the pace of racing and the number of race weekends was not the same. I don’t know many circuits and there is very little time to adapt each weekend. I adapt well to the different tracks, and that is very positive for me. Also, in the race I always do a little better. As for the aspects to improve, perhaps the pace of the World Championship has been a little harder for me, so the objective is to try to work better from Friday to prepare well for the race, to fight for better positions.”

What assessment do you make of these Grands Prix working with the team so far?
“We have been working hard and improving many aspects, although unfortunately that has not been reflected in the results. In these last 3-4 races, the feeling with the team and the bike has been very good, without having to make hardly any changes, but we have not had the best of luck. At Mugello I had a bad crash in which I was injured, although fortunately I was able to recover afterwards for Assen and Sachsenring. I have had ups and downs, with circuits at which I have done better and others worse. We have been more consistent, and we hope to do better in the coming races.”

“Aki is a person that tells you both the good and the bad, and that helps you to learn a lot.”

What is it like working with Aki Ajo and how is he helping you?
“It’s amazing to be able to work with someone with so much experience. He is a person with clear ideas, who tells you both the good and the bad. That’s important because, in the end, everyone tells you the good things, but not everyone tells you the bad things. Aki tells you everything and that helps you to learn a lot. Because of his experience, with all the riders who have been on the team and all the titles he has achieved, it helps you a lot to improve.”

You work a lot with your teammate during the weekend, especially on Saturdays. How is Rueda helping you during the Grands Prix?
“Sharing a box with a rider as fast as Rueda helps a lot for a rookie. You have a teammate from whom you can learn a lot from, since you ride the same bike. He teaches me how to go fast and I follow his lines, and at the same time I try to help him as much as I can.”

The second part of the season is going to be very intense, with many races and many new circuits. What goals do you have and what do you expect from the remainder of the season?
“The flyaways will be very intense, with consecutive races. I think it will help us, because this way we won’t lose so much feeling with the bike. It’s about learning race after race and starting with the same feeling with which you finished the previous weekend. It won’t be easy, because the conditions are very different, although I have already watched several races to familiarise myself with the circuits -which are wider in general. I look forward to getting there and trying them.”

What are your plans for these three weeks off in the summer break?
“I want to rest for a few days to disconnect and recharge, although I will also be training to prepare for the coming races.”