KTM Superbike riders prepare for IDM 20102009-12-01 23:16
After an impressive debut in the International German Superbike championship (IDM), the KTM Germany factory -supported team headed by Konrad Hefele is already working at full speed to be perfectly prepared for the IDM challenge in 2010.
KTM Racing News spoke to both riders just before the team left for Valencia in Spain for the final tests in 2009 and asked them about their expectations and feelings about the coming 2010 season onboard KTM RC8R racing bike.
KTM Racing News: 2009 was an extremely successful year for you. You finished the season as IDM vice champion in your first year with the team - have you managed to digest that by now?
The success we had was, for sure, the result of some luck and a lot of hard work so even though we didn't expect to do as well as we did, I have to say the team deserved it. Actually even at the last race at Hockenheim I was already thinking about the next season and we considered that race to be the first test for 2010. Of course it was great to do so well in 2009 but it's going to be hard to top that and this means there's a lot of pressure on us. Also, the competition is going to be very tough next year. But I know we all will take it as always and push as hard as we can to be on the top.
What do you feel that the team managed to learn from the 2009 season?
The whole team learned a lot and every member was engaged with a real passion. It goes far beyond being just a job. They really worked day and night to make sure everything was the best it could be. They are all completely focused on racing and there is a very strong team spirit. That means if we do have a weekend when things don't really go according to plan, then we can get together, analyse it and quickly move on to the next goal.
Do you have a favourite circuit?
Well I know them all and I am happy racing on any of them. I just have to sit on a motorbike and I'm happy! I always try to give 100% and sometimes a bit more. But if I had to pick out a couple of real favourites, the first would be NÃ¼rburgring because it's near where I grew up and where my dad used to race. I grew up in and around the paddock at NÃ¼rburgring so it has always been important for me. I was a "paddock kid"! Also I like the Salzburgring very much. It's a lot of fun to ride there. It's a high speed circuit. It's very decisive and it's interesting. It was great to ride there last year because there were so many of the KTM family came out to watch us. That was really a lot of fun.
Now you are a father. How has that changed your life?
Yes our son Maximilian was born a year ago and of course being a parent means your life perspectives change. I'm very lucky that my wife supports me so well and manages our family life so that it fits into my training program. She understands my job and she gives me the space to be able to do what I have to do. Maximilian has already been introduced to the racing scene and was in the paddock with us last season. He's already got his KTM outfits and he's also going to grow up around racing!
You have just come away from tests this week. Did everything go according to plan?
Yes we were at the Cartagena circuit in Spain and everything went very well. The bike was very fast, astoundingly fast and that's a good sign. Also we had a good rhythm and we're running according to our timetable. Until now a lot of the work we've done was on paper but now its time to try it out. We tested a new electronic package and this is going to give us a lot of valuable information. I had some slight problems because I've dislocated my right thumb on a trial bike - but it's almost better now. I'm used to dealing with small injuries and I've got a good physiotherapist.
And the team is testing again in December in Valencia?
Yes, we're going to Valencia but this time Martin (Bauer - Stefan's new team colleague for 2010) will be riding the RC 8R. He was sick this week so he wasn't able to test with us. Of course I'll be there to work with the team and follow the progress.
What is your personal goal for the coming season?
Well any rider will tell you it's to go out and win the title and that's what I hope to do!
Thanks and good luck for the rest of your pre-season preparations
Austrian racer Martin Bauer is to join Stefan Nebel in the KTM Superbike Team Germany to race the RC8R in the IDM (International German Superbike Championship) for the 2010 season. With two titles already in his pocket, Bauer has proven more than once his great Superbike skills. KTM Racing News called Martin at his home near Vienna to ask him about his impressions of his new team:
You are the newest member of the team. How do you feel in Orange?
I feel really good with the KTM team. It's the first time in my racing career that I've raced for a team of an Austrian brand and that's naturally very exciting. It's great to be racing for KTM, a company from Austria and it's also great to have the whole weight of the KTM factory team behind me. That makes a big difference when you compare it to racing for a private team.
Why did you decide to make the switch to KTM? What were the most important reasons?
It was the challenge of joining a new team and racing a new type of bike. I had been racing for Honda in the IDM, we had an excellent time and partnership, and I had pretty much won everything there was to win. I won two titles and if things had gone differently this season I could have won again. I've already had a long contact with KTM right from the time they started to develop the RC8 R. This is a completely new concept and of course that's exciting to work with. Also I've been riding in the IDM for a number of years and I would like to have a shot at riding in the Superbike World Championship before I finish my racing career. I know that this won't happen for KTM in the next couple of years but I also know it's their medium to longer term goal to race in the world championship and I would like to be around when they give it a try. I'm 33 now and I still have some good years racing left in my career.
How do you feel in the team with your teammate Stefan Nebel?
We get along well. Stefan and I have known each other and raced against each other for a long time so I feel very comfortable with him in the KTM team.
You missed the tests this week because of illness, but you already spent some time on the KTM in Spain?
Yes, luckily I was able to ride the IDM RC8R for two days in Almeria right after our agreement - and it was a 100 percent positive experience. I already thought that the bike must have a good potential, as I raced against it in 2009. The bike feels and sounds very special, like a real race bike and I want to be on it again as soon as possible!
When are the next tests planned?
We will go to Valencia on December 10-12. It's a long time since I've ridden there but I like it a lot and I'm looking forward to the tests.
What are your favourite IDM circuits?
I like the Sachsenring very much and I also like Schleiz (Schleizer Dreieck). That's a street circuit that they close off for the race. The layout is great and it's very curvy, quite technical and tight.
On what circuits would you like to test before the IDM season begins?
I think it would be important for the team to test on circuits where it didn't do so well last season. We should get to know those circuits because it's going to be important that we ride the RC8 R to be consistently up with the fastest in 2010.
What do you think will be the team's biggest challenges in the 2010 season?
The season will be tight next year. It won't be easy because there will be more teams that are more competitive. We're every bit as good as all the rest but we have to aim to be up in the top three in every race. That shouldn't be a problem. The bike and the concept are quite new. We just have to keep working to find that bit of extra hp wherever we can and go for it!
And finally, you own personal goal for 2010?
That's easy: I want to win the title!
Good luck and we look forward to some great results for you and the team!
Source: KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG
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