Maria Herrera is currently the only female rider in MotoGP paddock. Even though MotoE does not travel to Thailand, we still take the opportunity to sit down with Angel Nieto Team’s Sportive Manager Gino Borsoi on the Friday before Thai GP to talk about MotoE and their choice of having Maria on the team.
All photos (including featured cover) © Christian Bourget unless otherwise noted
Paddock Sorority: Can you please talk a little bit about why the team decided to join MotoE?
Gino Borsoi: It’s especially because MotoE is the future. we know that in maybe more than 10 years it’ll be the future of MotoGP. There is also a chance it won’t be, but it’s something that the team must start working on. It’s also something nice to show our sponsors. It’s a new technology, and a cleaner technology. So it’s something good for us to have MotoE in our strategy group.
PS: Speaking of sponsors, OpenBank is a digital bank, is this the kind of sponsors MotoE brings?
GB: They call OpenBank bank of the future, and MotoE is the future too. So it’s a perfect combination for the sponsor and the bike. From the sponsor’s side, they like green, they like having women on the team, so from the beginning it was a great combination for them to join our program.
PS: Since MotoE is the future, how do you think it’s going to evolve in the next few years?
GB: It’s difficult to answer right now. We know the rules won’t change for the next few seasons. The bikes will be at the same level for everybody. It depends on the riders and the teams to fine-tune the detail for the race. This is great. When you have the same material, you can fight with all the teams, and you don’t need to be crazy to find something special or to spend a lot of money to find something different than the other teams. When the rules are like this, it’s much easier and nice because you can fight for the championship from the beginning without spending a lot of money.
PS: Formula E started 5 years ago, now it has many car manufacturers in it. How long do you think it would take MotoE to also have that?
BG: Honestly I’m not sure. But for the manufacturers, this is something interesting. I’m pretty sure in the future, maybe 5-10 years or even more, they will come. For sure they will become suppliers. For them this is an important project to be part of. I’m just not sure when.
PS: The fire obviously affected everyone, can you please talk us through how the team got through this difficulty, and what Dorna did to help the teams?
GB: As for every new project, the start is always difficult. We had the fire in Jerez, but they found the cause and they put in new systems to keep the category on. Step by step we also learned things in the first season. Similar to Formula E, it was difficult at the beginning. Even for us, the start of the season was difficult. We learn all the time, and the rules have been changed a few times. In the future, I’m pretty sure the (MotoE) World Cup will be different from now. From every race we learn something new. Now we’ve improved a lot on the safety side of the bike to keep the riders safe. I’m sure we will improve even more.
PS: At the beginning, some of the riders are talking about how without the sound it’s more difficult to control the bike. Can you talk about from the team’s perspective what’s the experience like working with the bike and the technology?
GB: For me It’s nice without the sound. It’s nice to be at a race track, to have a race without a lot of noises. I’ve been in the paddock since 1997. Being part of this new project, you can see the power of the bike. It’s not MotoGP kind of power yet but it’s really fast through the main straight. The bike is probably between Moto3 and Moto2, and the battery is already at the level of Moto2. It’s difficult to imagine at the beginning because for some people, without the noises it’s not competition. But that’s not true. Behind the bike, there is a lot of technologies and a lot of things that make the competition different from what we used to have. You have to learn a lot, change your mind, and change your approach to the races. It’s the same for technicians too. It’s something different, but it’s something nice without sound. At the beginning, people don’t know the bike, they are used to the noises, they think the noises are what make racing special. But in the future when people understand that these bikes are just as nice as MotoGP, for the young people who were born with MotoE, it’ll be something normal. For me it’s different as I was born with the noises being the norm, but the new generation will be born with these fast bikes without sound. With time, the new generation will understand that this is racing.
PS: How does the team communicate with Energica to work on the bike?
GB: The manufacturer gave us the instructions and the systems to take care of the bike. The relationship with them is really nice. We found Energica to be a good partner. Their bike is really nice. At the beginning I was worrying about how the bike can be fast and competitive for everyone without problems. But they did a really good job. They gave us really good material. Apart from the fire, we really didn’t have any problems.
PS: The bike is heavier than MotoGP, is that because of the battery?
GB: The bike is heavier now because of the battery. They are working to find a solution to reduce the weight of the battery. It’s a new category, they need to find the balance of equal material for everyone, cost efficiency, and also give the team something nice to have a race. It’s not easy to find the balance.
PS: What made the team decide to go with Maria Herrera as one of the MotoE riders?
GB: Maria raced with us two years ago when we were with Mahindra in Moto3. We selected her for MotoE because she’s a fast rider. It’s not because she’s a woman or other reason. For myself and for Jorge (Martinez), we know she’s been fast since the beginning of her career. It doesn’t matter whether she’s a girl. We need a good rider to race for us. When I talk about her, the emphasis is not on ‘SHE is a rider’. The emphasis is on rider.
PS: What do you think could be done to get more girls in minibikes and then professional racing, or in being engineers and technicians?
GB: In terms of engineers and technicians, now more and more women are being part of the teams in the paddock. Same thing for me and Jorge, it doesn’t matter whether someone is a man or a woman when we put together the team. The girls participate in motorsport because they start to learn about the sport and they like motorsport. I’m here because I like the bike, the technology, and the race. I think it’s the same thing for women working here too. They have to like this world. This is the about the mentality. In terms of the work, there is no difference between men and women.
On Sunday, the race day, Albert Arenas from Angel Nieto Team won the Moto3 race. It was his first win of the season and third win of his career. We were able to quickly catch up with Gino again in parc ferme. Here is what he said about this win: “What a wonderful race. Albert was strong from the beginning. He was really strong on the breaking point and overtook a lot of riders during the race. This is an amazing race. I’m really happy. The bike is one of the best bikes during the season. This is great for Albert.”
While the team is battling it out in Moto2 and Moto3 in Thailand, Maria Herrera participated in ESBK Navarra back in Spain. She won third place in SuperSport (SSP). It was a great weekend for her too.
We would like to congratulate the team and Maria on their amazing achievements, and we look forward to their performance the rest of the season.