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SBK, Carrasco: "Women's World Championship? A gym but we can race with the men."

INTERVIEW - "It will be an important championship for those who have never raced in a World Championship, and I think the fastest ones can then move to other championships. Moto3? I did not expect so many difficulties, but I have grown as a rider."

SBK: Carrasco:

It will be the Misano circuit that will host this weekend the historic first round of the new Women's World Championship, called the Women's Circuit Racing World Championship. A milestone in the history of motorcycle racing and a new chapter in the career of Ana Carrasco, who is eager to return to shine on a world stage after the difficulties she encountered on her return to the Moto3 World Championship. Two seasons short on results for the 2018 World Supersport 300 Champion, determined to take her revenge on the injuries and adversities encountered in recent years and become the first rider to beat both men and women in a World Championship. It is a mission that is more than possible for Carrasco, who is ready to make her mark with a Yamaha R7 fielded by the Evan Bros. team, with which she already put everyone in line during the two days of official testing held in Cremona.

"I came to the test impatient to see where I would be, whether I would be among the fastest or not, since this is a new class for everyone and I didn't know what to think. I felt pretty good with the bike, I had a lot of confidence and I felt fast, so I think I'm ready for this start of the season and to try to fight for the title," the 27-year-old from Murcia told us before the Riviera Romagnola event.

Ana, what impression did you get of the championship and your opponents?
"The first impression was positive. As I said, I did not know what to expect since it is a new championship, a new bike for me and I did not know many of the participants. It was hard to imagine what it would be like, but the first impression was goodIt's a good championship and the level is a little bit higher than I would have expected, and that's a good thing because I think it will be important for the seasons to come that the championship starts at the highest possible level."

What made you decide to compete in an all-female championship this year?
"The main reason is that I had to struggle a lot to find my place in this environment in the ten seasons I spent in the World Championship, and I thought it was important that the best female riders in the World come to this competition. This is the first time Dorna is doing something to help women grow in the motorcycle scene and it was important for me to be at the start of this inaugural season to try to help push the championship as far as possible."

You come from two difficult seasons in Moto3. Did you think it would be so complicated to readjust to the category?
"I knew it would be a complex change, because I was coming from five seasons in SSP300 and it had been seven or eight years since I had ridden a Moto3, but I certainly didn't expect this kind of difficulty. I thought I would adapt faster to the bike, but the level of the championship is very high and riders coming from FIM JuniorGP or Rookies Cup have four or five years of experience on this type of bike behind them, while for me it was complicated to change my riding style and adapt to the tyres and the bike itself. Everything was very different, plus the Moto3 I got on was totally different from the last one I rode in 2015. It was not easy to adapt to all those changes, but I was improving a lot with each race and I am happy because I think we did a good job. My level as a rider has grown a lot and it is a shame that I got injured and missed the last three races. It was hard to end the season like that, because I definitely wanted to end the year racing."

Do you think the injury played a role in your failure to be reconfirmed with the BOÉ Motorsports team?
"It was definitely a difficult situation, because at that time I didn't have any confirmation but I wasn't out of the team either. There was talk about continuing, but in the World Championship everything changes in an instant, so it's hard to say if that was the reason we didn't continue, because the results were also not what we expected. The team, however, was happy with me and I was also happy with the work we were doing, but when you are injured you don't know how long you will need to get back in shape, so it is normal that they chose another rider. They made a decision and I accepted it, also because, as I said, I didn't know if I would be able to finish the season and how much time I would need to recover."

You have gone through some particularly complex moments in your career, such as the Estoril back injury, but you have always shown that you have a fighting spirit. Where did you find the strength to overcome all these challenges on your path?
"These last three or four years have been very complicated for me. It was really difficult to overcome the back injury and get back to being competitive, and then there was also the tibia and fibula fracture last year. They were definitely not the best years of my life, but in the face of these kinds of injuries I was just thinking about getting back to being competitive and getting back to winning. I just wanted to get back in shape as soon as possible and come back stronger than before. Especially the two years after the back injury were not easy, because I didn't feel 100 percent physically and it's complicated to manage, because sometimes results don't come and people on the outside don't know what's going on. It was a tough time, but I was always ready to keep working, thinking that my time would come again. That's why I have full confidence to come back and win and become World Champion again."

You are one of the few women with World Championship experience and the first to win a title against men. How does being a role model and inspiration make you feel?
"Honestly, in my daily life I don't feel this kind of pressure, because I try to achieve my goals as a rider and my dreams, without thinking about being a role model for others. However, I know that this is an important thing and that everything we are accomplishing, such as this championship, will help other girls to come to this world more easily. We are changing a lot of things, and I feel proud to be one of the female riders who are helping women riders to have more of a presence in the World Championships and make it a little easier to get to the World Championship."

Do you think women's championships are the way to bring girls closer to motorcycle racing or should we find a way to incentivize mixed championships?
"I don't know, I think that depends a lot on each one. I see this championship as a series that can help you get to a World Championship and learn how to be a World Championship rider, because it's not just about riding a motorcycle, it's also about having a lot of things under control. I think this championship is important to learn, but in my opinion we women are capable of racing together with the men. So, I see this class more as a kind of let's say 'gym' for female riders coming from European or other competitions, who have never raced in a World Championship, and I suppose the fastest ones can then have the opportunity to move to other championships. This is what I think, but I don't know if the others think differently, whether they will then want to go to other categories or continue in this championship. That will depend on each of them."

 

Translated by Julian Thomas

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