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GP Week : Issue 176
5 MINUTES GPWEEK: You are probably the least- known World Champion, so tell us about yourself, and why you are a racer. SANDRO CORTESE: I first raced when I was three years old. It was my father's passion and he brought me into the sport - but since the first day I got on the bike, I rode it every day. I just loved it. My father didn't race, just rode on the street. I started with a PW50 Yamaha, rode motocross until I was eight, then raced pocket-bikes. When did you start thinking about world championship racing? It was my dream was since day one. I remember watching my first GP - it was Capirossi and Biaggi. They were my idols. Since the day Vale came it was Valentino. I did two years in the German Championship, then it was quite quick that I came into GPs. Some riders when they are 13 or 14 they get prepared to be world champions. I came to GPs after two years on a standard Honda. Nobody brought me to a high level GP bike. So for years I learned everything myself. I made my own mistakes, learned from my mistakes. I think this was a big part of winning the championship this year. I knew what I hadtodoandwhatnottodotogofast. You came to GPs in 2005, but it took six years before the first win. And from then you six more. Why so long? I was always quick. I could ride fast ... but I didn't bring it to the point. Sometimes I would be on pole position, and not win. For example a rider like Marquez has someone behind to tell them to do this or that. I was on my own, with my father, and we don't have that experience. We didn't have money behind us, so we had to take what we could get. Year by year I could improve, and finally last year I had a team that was very small, just made around me - I got two victories, six podiums. It was the start of a really good season. Since the Brno win until today I think I have been just four times not on the podium, so ... once you win, it's a special feeling. For example, when the pressure was gone at at Phillip Island, you are so relaxed. You don't know why it is so easy. You go so fast and you wonder why the others don't. Are you German, or Italian? My father came to Germany when he was 17; my mum was born in Germany, but all my grandpas and grandpas on both sides were Italian. At home we speak mostly German, but sometimes one sentence in Italian, and one in German. Do you ride like an Italian, or a German? On the bike I think like a German. I have my plans during the weekend, during qualifying and during the race. But in a battle I am Italian. I have my elbows, and I show them. Was the family short of money? No – a really normal, standard family. We are not poor, we are not rich. Just middle ... but it didn't allow us to for example race in the Spanish championship. Some families have a good bike, and make good results easily. We had only what we could get. I think this is what I learned. It makes me fast. The things I had, I had to learn how to use. What are your strong and weak points as a rider? The strong point is my thinking, my brain. In a race at the beginning I am quite calm, I let the others fight, and just look – who is strong in the race and who is not. I never lose contact, and then in the right moment, attack. The weak point? I have to be even more calm. I was quite calm this year, but in Japan I was over-reacting. This is sometimes it comes out. But I improved a lot. The success makes me more calm. But I need to learn more, to be even more calm, to have open eyes. In Japan you went crazy on the slow- down lap, blaming Danny Kent for your crash. How do you look at that now? It was a mistake, an over-reaction. But on the bike at that moment, it looked like it was Danny's fault. I was wondering why he did this to me. But when I saw the replay, I immediately appreciated it was not like that. This year the smallest class went from two-stroke to four-stroke. What was that like? It's hard to explain ... two completely different things. With the four-stroke engine braking you have to ride so much differently – the line, the braking points, how you open the gas. You have to learn again. I had my problems at the beginning – how to down-shift, how to use the clutch, a lot of special points where you have to change your riding style. At the beginning I was shocked to go on a four-stroke. You don't feel the power like on a 125. But now, with the development KTM did, it is so fun to ride this bike. The racing is so close that it looks dangerous, yet there are not many crashes in Moto3. Sometimes we are more organised than Moto2. If I watch Moto2 races, they look like they are rookies, sometimes. I think there are some riders who are clever. They look really aggressive, like Salom. Vinales is quite hard. Danny, and Fenati. Fahmi (Khairiddin) is a quite clear rider, and Jonas Folger. So we are quite strong in overtaking, but in the end we know it is better to give the space to don't crash. Next year, Moto2. How do you feel? Excited. For me it is the right moment to change. I never rode a 600 – next week will be the first time. Some riders struggle. Terol has big problems to change. And after that - MotoGP? Of course. I know it is a really long and difficult way, and to ride a CRT just to be in MotoGP, it doesn't make sense. So I want to have success in Moto2, so I can hope for a good team in MotoGP. Maybe in a couple of years there will be no CRT and it will be more equal. Do you ride a bike on the road? I have a big 350 scooter, and it's fun. But for 10-minute rides it doesn't make sense to have a big bike. Maybe when I am older I will have a Harley or something. If I go on the street I don't want to go fast. Better go in a car and enjoy the acceleration. I know if I got on the street with a big bike, I can't control myself. Finally, your favourite music, and film? And a favourite joke you can share with the readers? Music is Michael Jackson. I can listen to that every day. Film is Gladiator. Joke? I am not so good at jokes. (laughs). 5 MINUTES WITH SANDRO CORTESE Sandro Cortese won the inaugural Moto3 World Championship after a year of thrillingly close racing on the new 250 four-strokes. It took him many years to get there – but to the German with the Italian name and family, that was a good thing, as he tells MICHAEL SCOTT 19 GPWEEK.com // 19 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: