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Turul Virtual al magazinului


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Folosind mouse-ul, puteti sa vedeti imagini 3D din interiorul magazinului.

Pentru a putea naviga, faceti click pe imaginea rotativa de mai jos si trageti de ea in stanga sau dreapta. De asemenea, apare o iconita a unui aparat de fotografiat care va poate duce in incaperea service-ului respectiv inapoi in magazin.




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    • De Dementor
      Malagrotta: The house of Cairoli
      Take a trip to the ‘source’ of nine FIM Motocross World Championships and where Tony Cairoli was able to become an MXGP legend.
      “I first rode this track at the end of 2003 and since then a lot of laps every year; I never counted … but it must be so many thousands …” Tony Cairoli takes a wistful look out and towards the peak of the small hill where the bulk of the Malagrotta hard-pack is sprawled.
      Malagrotta (ITA) © Marco Campelli/Sebas Romero
      The 32-year-old MXGP star has opened the gates to his test track and a facility he co-runs with Red Bull KTM Team Manager Claudio De Carli for the 2019 KTM SX launch. The circuit is located west of the center of Rome “just five minutes away” he optimistically says, forgetting about the Italian capital’s traffic.
      Malagrotta welcomes not only two large groups of journalists and testers but also AMA ace Ryan Dungey, who enthusiastically takes to the course on several of the new SX-Fs (450, 350 & 250) and SXs (250, 150 & 125). The hard ground at the top that houses various turns and jumps (an ‘orange-painted’ bar sits next to the start straight that has been taken over by KTM’s technical and hospitality setup for the event) before a dramatic slope plunges downhill and into a rough sandy section. The split means that Cairoli and his Italian team effectively have two tracks in one.
      Ryan Dungey (USA) © Marco Campelli/Sebas Romero
      Although temporary residence in Belgium at the start of his career was necessary for training and to master the characteristics of sandy terrain, Malagrotta has been a home base for virtually all of his Grand Prix career; fifteen years, 223 Grands Prix, over 80 wins and 101 podiums.
      “It hasn’t changed too much over the years to be honest and a special part of the track was always that sand at the bottom which means the ground varies and you get different kinds of bumps. It’s really nice for testing and training.”
      “The place is big so it needs quite a bit of maintenance,” he adds. “The track is hard on the top section and you need to work a lot to make it loose and more towards a GP-style with ruts and bumps. It is a lot of work to keep the moisture inside. Some of the track is pretty rocky and then requires more work to keep it loose. It’s cool that it’s a good mix.”
      Malagrotta might have some diversity but there is little doubt that #222 knows every knuckle and bump. “For sure it is boring sometimes because I’ve done so many laps here but it is important for me to be able to come, train and then leave,” he says. “I’m also a co-owner here so I like to make sure the track is in good condition for people that want to turn up, ride and train. We’ve made some investment over the years and keeping the track maintained is probably the biggest. We don’t have too many amateurs in this area of Italy, especially compared with the north and places like Ottobiano and Dorno that also attracts foreign riders from France, Germany and Austria. But there is a lot of potential with this track and when I stop racing then I will work to bring more people here from around Europe because it is close to Rome and just over five minutes to the city and twenty from the airport. It’s in a good location and the weather is good normally. It is never frozen in the winter.”
      Tony Cairoli (ITA) © Ray Archer
      Cairoli is not slowing with his usage of Malagrotta. In fact, the stiff challenge from Red Bull KTM teammate Jeffrey Herlings in this year’s MXGP title fight means he has to keep focused and keep looking for improvements to somehow dent the Dutchman’s form. The track is also the platform for winter tests and where De Carli and his crew honed the KTM 450 SX-F last season to enable Tony to grasp another world crown. “I have been riding here more than ever because I am in Belgium less these days,” Cairoli reveals. “We always decide our setup for the year when we test here. We know the dirt very well so this is ideal for comparison tests and the mixture of bumps means we have an important variety.”
      Considering his familiarity with Malagrotta (something that De Carli’s latest protégé Jorge Prado is learning; the MX2 GP winner was also circulating with his KTM 250 SX-F) Cairoli was quick to provide his evaluation. “The hardest part is the bottom section; the sand and the ruts combined with the downhill and the bumps. It is also my favorite!”
      What about a ‘neutral’ view? Cairoli might have a love-sometimes-hate relationship with Malagrotta but how does a debutant see it? “I thought the track was awesome,” grins tester and former British Championship racer Dave Willet. “Inclines are always a winner, cambers, sand … the only criticism is that some of the down ramps need to be made bigger. It needs to be the minimum of a length of a bike and they weren’t! But I’d take that track all day, it was a lot of fun and nice to put a lot of laps in.”
      [embedded content]
      Photos: Marco Campelli | Sebas Romero | Ray Archer
      Video: Luca Piffaretti
    • De Dementor
      Ultimate Race: The KTM ADVENTURE RALLY challenge awaits
      Stony ridges, sandy landscapes and challenging dunes; that’s what competitors of the recently announced Ultimate Race will relish in at next year’s Merzouga Rally. A concept that gives the fastest amateurs from the KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES around the globe the chance to compete in a world-renowned event in a dedicated class, with full support from KTM and aboard the brand new, hotly anticipated KTM 790 ADVENTURE R, the Ultimate Race is certainly a special opportunity.
      KTM 790 ADVENTURE R Prototype © Marcin Kin
      The Merzouga Rally, which is part of the Dakar series, is a five-day event plus a prolog that races through the desert of Morocco and is a great challenge for both professional and amateur riders. Navigation is key, as is the ability to adapt to the changing terrain and racing environment. Not for the faint hearted, but riders will be greeted with incredible landscapes and the READY TO RACE feeling in his or her soul.
      Each of the six KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES, which take place around the world this year, will host a qualifying stage and the top two from each qualifier aboard a twin cylinder KTM ADVENTURE bike will be given the opportunity to compete Merzouga in the Ultimate Race. Fully supported with flights, accommodation, entry, bike, race service and more by KTM, the winners will not be disappointed. They will also enjoy coaching from some of the world’s finest and fastest bike athletes, with Quinn Cody and Chris Birch already announced, to assist in their quest to race the terrain of Merzouga. A nice step up from the organized tours of the KTM ADVENTURE RALLIES, where riders enjoy epic dirt roads and more with like-minded riders. In addition, the winner of the Ultimate Race will be awarded with an incredible prize. There’s a lot to play for.
      Ahead of the big announcement we got to take the prototype KTM 790 ADVENTURE R out to the Merzouga Rally this year, to check-out some of the incredible terrain, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. More details about the Ultimate Race in its official launch video …
      [embedded content]
      And of course, check out these cool images.
      KTM 790 ADVENTURE R Prototype © Marcin Kin
      Photos: Marcin Kin
      Video: Eros Girotti/Filmer Force Productions

    • De Dementor
      3 things you have to know about the 2019 KTM SX motocross bikes
      Somehow those orange motocrossers have taken another step in performance for 2019 so we asked the wizards in R&D what is in store for riders eying a new dirtbike.
      KTM SX MY2019 range © Sebas Romero
      Technicians and engineers are always pursuing ‘something better’. This is certainly the case within KTM’s relentless R&D Department. It would take a large slice of creativity and effort to improve the 2018 SX motocross range; don’t forget that the flagship KTM 450 SX-F grabbed titles in Supercross and finished 1-2 in MXGP last year (the KTM 250 SX-F also winning the MX2 World Championship) so the technical package was proven at the highest level of sport and KTM’s ‘mantra’ of READY TO RACE means it wouldn’t be any other way. In fact, Head of Engine Offroad & Motocross R&D, Michael Viertlmayr, says: “Without the approval of our racing athletes we do not make any major changes to our bikes. That is a clear statement from KTM.”
      So, if Ryan Dungey (still very active with KTM and also in the saddle), Tony Cairoli, Jeffrey Herlings, Glenn Coldenhoff, Pauls Jonass have provided some suggestions and tweaks then you can be sure they have been implemented on this new spectrum of SX machines. The line-up actually involves three 4-stroke SX-F models – 450, 350 and 250 – and three SX 2-strokes: 250, 150, 125. Practically every style, taste and preference is catered for.
      But what else have KTM discovered? A dirtbike is not a simple or cheap investment so the 2019 offerings have to warrant the cost and effort to produce as well as entice riders that the latest gains on the dyno and through copious test runs are worth it. KTM Product Manager Offroad Joachim Sauer hints at the general direction of the SXs: “When it comes to performance then our goal was not to drastically improve it but rather aim for more rideability and more efficiency.” How was that done …?
      KTM 125 SX MY2019 © Sebas Romero
      1) Whack on the gas and wipe that tear away: Rideability
      At the heart of KTM’s objective to make the SX models more rideable – almost more friendly with that fierce market-leading power-to-weight ratio – is a series of modifications, but perhaps the most significant is the new frame. Made from chromium molybdenum steel sections with a longer aluminum subframe and cast aluminum swingarm (with a longer chain adjustment slot) extra stiffness is the goal. “The frame has been drastically improved to get the agility on one side but still keep the straight-line stability and the combination of the longer swingarm means the riders can now shorten or lengthen the wheelbase to make the bike turn easier or make it more stable on the straight,” Sauer says.
      Does it work? British test rider and former racer Dave Willet was one of the first to take the SX and SX-Fs for a spin at the recent launch in Rome. “KTM talked about stiffening the frame so that it doesn’t twist and that’s the key,” he says. “Perhaps the flex in the last frame just took away some of that capability for the rider to be pinpoint-accurate in maneuvering the bike. Where they have made that strengthening and eradicated that twist means that it now glides across the track. And this is something that can be said for all the 4-strokes but even more so on the 450.”
      “With the KTM 450 SX-F being one of the fastest bikes on the market it was hard to move it in the past … but not any more: the frame, swingarm, linkage, suspension all compliments the engine force.”
      KTM 450 SX-F frame © KTM
      Add revised WP Suspension, items like a newly-formed stiffer triple clamp, a lighter clutch with steel components and Pankl engineering and it’s clear that these SXs will work and feel easier than ever before. This is essential for a motorcycle with the performance potential of the KTM 450 SX-F. Willet: “KTM have concentrated on letting the 450 move around the track with ease and it takes less physical strength to do that; you don’t have to manhandle it as much. It means the market for this motorcycle has now increased massively.”
      KTM 450 SX-F MY2019 © Sebas Romero
      2) Boy, you´re (not) gonna carry that weight: Power
      KTM have starved their SXs. More weight has been shed, and in the interests of rideability careful attention to engine internals and power delivery has been made to help the ‘loss’.
      “We worked on every single model in terms of improving power delivery in combination with cylinders and cylinder heads on the 4-strokes and exhaust systems, airbox and EMS and electronics,” Sauer says. “It is one entire package to make the efficiency of the engine better. It doesn’t make sense to improve the peak performance of a 450; we have 63 horses, so the secret is about bringing the power down to the ground and there we made a major step forward.”
      “Overall 550g was lost on the KTM 350 SX-F and 300g on the KTM 250 SX-F,” Viertlmayr says of the powerplants. “Weight dropped by 200g on the KTM 450 SX-F cylinder head alone.”
      KTM 450 SX-F engine © KTM
      DS clutches and clever use of steel components and the fantastic time-saving advantages of using 3D printing technology means that KTM have reacted quickly to ideas. “The clutch components are made of steel and we have a weight drop; this is the old story of smart engineering and it is the same with the steel chassis because steel can be lighter than aluminum if you do it right,” advocates Viertlmayr.
      Re-arrangement of elements such as the radiators, and engine position (higher crankshaft on the KTM 125/150 SX) helps towards more centralization. New exhaust silencers and headers across the range have assisted in the weight-performance battle.
      KTM 250 SX MY2019 © Sebas Romero
      3) Something in the way she moves: Ergonomics
      “We did not want to make something completely new because the previous bike was already pretty close to optimum,” Sauer claims of the freshly-sculpted SXs. “We got a lot of feedback from our factory riders about the edges where we could get better and we did not turn the bike upside-down.”
      The SXs have not been turned upside down but they have been greatly honed. Designers at KISKA have focused on the contact points between rider and motorcycle and Dave Willet was able to rubber-stamp their work. “Rider ‘friction’ sounds like another sales pitch but you really can feel it,” he offers. “There is less contact in certain areas and the way you now have to grip the bike and with the sub-frame being slimmer allows you to transfer your body weight more easily. When you come into a turn standing up then you can easily shift your weight forwards or backwards. It is key across the range but it is more apparent on the 450 because of the size of the bike and how fast it is.”
      Other examples of how KTM have thought of the rider include the new KTM 250 SX pipe. Vastly reduced in size (Viertlmayr: “Our test riders always used to complain that they had to change the pipes five times a year.”) but with oval cross sections in the bends means that performance has been maintained and even boosted. The SXs also have a new seat that is softer and more resistant: a feat that was achieved by careful analysis of every other option on the market and also comments by the pros athletes that are logging more bike time than most.
      KTM 450 SX-F MY2019 © Marco Campelli
      For more information about the 2019 SX range and for details about particular models visit
      Photos: Sebas Romero | Marco Campelli | KTM
    • De Dementor
      The perfect weekend for Luca Grünwald
      KTM has quickly become a common sight at the forefront of the extremely exciting World Supersport 300 championship, and among others Luca Grünwald has been one of the guys piloting the fast KTM RC 390 R. We shadowed the rider of Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team around the Assen circuit for the second round of the World Championship.
      Luca Grünwald (GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
      Wednesday, 8.41 pm
      In the Fiat Ducato he borrowed from his dad, 23-year-old Luca Grünwald arrives at the Dutch TT Circuit in Assen, he parks the van neatly between the motorhomes. After nine long hours on the road the German World Supersport 300 rider arrives at his destination where he’s set to compete in only his second race in the championship. “Last year I was on a Superbike in the IDM Championship, but it was unclear whether or not there would even be a German championship to race in this season. When the offer of joining the World Supersport 300 came up, I was in doubt for a while, but in the end I took the chance. This class is so competitive and if you can show what you’re worth here, you might just get a shot at taking a step up into the higher classes in the WorldSBK paddock.” Grünwald has seen quite a few race paddocks over the years. Even though he’s only 23 years old, he’s been involved in the racing world for some time now. He started to make a name in 2007 when he won the ADAC Junior Cup. He then strung together success after success, because in 2010 and 2012 he respectively won the German 125cc and Moto3 championship. Internationally he burst onto the scene in 2011 when he got a shot at the 125cc World Championship. “It’s kind of funny, but we’re seven years down the road and this weekend I’m pretty much back to where it all started for me with my first Grand Prix. I debuted on this Assen track on Freudenberg Racing Team’s KTM 125 GP machine.”
      Thursday, 3.32 pm
      So far it’s been a quiet affair for the three time German champ. It’s only until later on the Thursday afternoon the World Supersport 300 riders are called to action, for a scrutineering, mind you. Freudenberg Racing Team’s mechanics roll in the KTM RC 390 R, but it’s Grünwald’s own responsibility to deliver his gear up for scrutiny. He quickly grabs his race leathers and crash helmet from the team truck and gets in line. To kill time he chats with someone he knows from back when he used to race for Kiefer Racing. Dutchman Peter Bom was Grünwalds chief mechanic when he raced fulltime in the Grand Prix’. “Obviously it was a dream true for me, but unfortunately it was only short-lived. The bike wasn’t the easiest to get your head around, and it was very difficult to sort out the front-end feel. We never really made it out of there and in the GPs that means things can move very quickly. You only get one shot to show what you’re worth and that pressure adds up. It’s a shame when one year later you’re sidelined, but I can’t say I’m not glad I raced in the Grand Prix’, even if it was just the one season. You learn so much.”
      Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
      Just as the Waldkraiburg man passes inspection, the track is opened for track walks. Together with teammate Max Kappler he does a few laps on the Assen TT Circuit on a bicycle to get the right mindset for the coming days. “I believe things could get very exciting who comes out on top here, because Assen’s layout makes it very difficult to gap other riders. It’s going to be a close call, and I hope to be right there at the front,” Grünwald says.
      Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
      Friday, 11.35 am
      Twenty minutes left on the clock before Luca Grünwald gets his first outing on the Assen circuit aboard the KTM RC 390 R for the first thirty minute long free practice. He’s just donned his leathers and picks up a sheet with the track layout. “I close my eyes and imagine the track in front of me. I can then work on sections of track that I need to improve at. We don’t get much time to train on track in World Supersport 300, so it’s important to be in it from the word go. If you don’t manage to secure a good starting position, you’ll have your work cut out for you in the race,” the German claims. Because of the scarcity of track time for riders in the class, problems can spell serious trouble. “Say you run into a problem in FP2, that needs setup attention, you’re going to have to wait until Saturday to try it out. And on Saturday you only have a fifteen-minute Superpole session to make it work. And Superpole is such a crucial session in a racing weekend, making adjustments involves some serious risk.” Getting to know new tracks is also hampered by the limited track time they get. “Three of the eight tracks we go to I’ve never raced at, meaning Donington Park, Magny-Cours, and Portimão. I’m going to have to spend a lot of time figuring out the right lines. If you were to crash or get a technical problem, you’re in a world of pain for the rest of the weekend.”
      Grünwald is hardly content after the first free practice, posting the nineteenth fastest time. With 1´54.767 he’s a whopping 2.695 seconds slower than fastest man Koen Meuffels, who wrote history at Aragon two weeks before, granting KTM their first World Supersport 300 victory.
      Luca Grünwald (GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
      Friday, 6.07 pm
      Second practice sees some serious improvement for Grünwald with eleventh place, but the results he’s aiming for don’t come easy. To make it into Superpole 2 directly he’s going to have to get into the top ten. So the German rider is going to have to put in some effort tomorrow in order to get that starting position at the front. Right before dinner – a full team affair at the Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team tent – the 23-year-old is very open about his future. “You hope you get to race again every single year, but you can never take it for granted. There have been dozens of really fast riders who had to quit the sport, simply because they weren’t able to get the budget to go racing together. If you don’t have the right sponsor who will stick with you, it could all be over in the blink of an eye. I don’t have sponsors like that right now, so a few less than perfect seasons and I’m done for.”
      Only the lucky few bring home the bacon just from racing, so Luca Grünwald always keeps in mind there is a world outside the racing paddock. He was in school to become a car mechanic, but then he came across an interesting opportunity. “After finishing school last year, I was out looking for a job, when a friend of mine told me KTM’s R&D Department was looking for a development rider. That’s how I came to work for KTM.” Having him racing a KTM right now as well was purely coincidental. “When I first started working for KTM I was still racing a Suzuki. They didn’t mind, and I’m glad they didn’t. They felt my work for them shouldn’t affect my racing efforts.”
      Luca Grünwald (GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
      Saturday, 10.12 am
      The second day of racing dawns at the Assen track, but for the World Supersport 300 rider all is pretty easy going. If you make it through Superpole 1 – in which only to fastest two pass on through to Superpole 2 – and then partake in the second session along with ten fastest guys on track, you’re still out on track for a total of thirty minutes tops. And that’s only the two fastest riders, the other 37 only have a fifteen minute session to run on Saturday before they’re done for the day. “I would rather have had a third free practice; all we’re doing now is waiting. And we don’t really have time to try things out either, because there’s no way you are going try new thing in Superpole.” With about an hour before Grünwald suits up, he always goes for a run. “To keep my body up to temperature, that’s all that’s for. Get my heartrate up and warm up the muscles a bit. Focus comes automatically then, because when you just sit around your mind wanders off and you lose focus.”
      Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
      Apart from getting a workout in, the Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team rider also uses the Saturday to analyze data and to look back footage from previous sessions, learning from that as he does. “We don’t carry a lot of sensors on the bike but I get plenty of information from the ones we do have. That way we can figure out where there’s progress to be made.” Grünwald manages to make it through Superpole 1 in the end, setting the second fastest time of the session. With 1´51.681 he’s allowed into qualifying with the ten fastest riders in the class, but he doesn’t improve on the time set in Superpole 1, leaving him in P9. That means he’s on the third row for the race; his second in World Supersport 300.
      Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
      Sunday, 1.56 pm
      “Tension rises fast on Sunday, and it starts to build early, too. Our warm up session starts at 8.50 am,” Grünwald explains. “I try to focus as much as I can, channeling all I’ve got into getting off the line well. In this class those first few laps are outright war. Contacts a plenty and you’ll find another rider on every possible line through every single corner. After that things ease up a bit and you can start working on a plan,” explains Grünwald. At Assen round ‘making a plan’ didn’t quite worked out for anyone. Right after the start a large and very wild leading pack forms. Setting a strategy and following it has no use whatsoever. Because a lot of riders received grid penalties, Grünwald was allowed to take off from sixth place, allowing him to slot in with the leading pack. He manages to stay with the leading bunch right until the final lap, striking in the final chicane – the Geert Timmer-bocht. With a small sprint to the line, Grünwald manages to outdrive fellow competitors Glenn van Straalen and Scott Deroue to the line, taking his first World Championship race victory!
      Luca Grünwald (#43, GER) KTM RC 390 R Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
      A long lap of honor and few sips of champagne on the podium are to follow, after which the German gets dressed in absolute calm. The well-earnt cup is proudly displayed in the Freudenberg KTM WorldSSP Team awning. “What an insane race that was. It was complete chaos again out there,” a smiling Grünwald says. “I knew I’d fit in well in the class, but I did not expect to be taking victory at only my second race in the championship. It does feel really good to be back on the rostrum again. If feels like forever since I last managed that, with my last victory in 2016.”
      Podium Supersport 300 Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
      Sunday, 7.03 pm
      There isn’t a great deal of time to celebrate his victory, because the Fiat Ducato is already set to leave the track again. Luca Grünwald has quite a trip ahead of him back home to Waldkraiburg. “Tomorrow is my day off, so I’m going to make the most of that now. I have completely lost track of how many people congratulated me in the paddock. I haven’t even had time to watch the race back myself, apart from that final lap. Everyone in the team kept showing me that on their phones.” The weekend after Assen Grünwald isn’t racing so he’s made plans to enjoy the weekend with a few friends. “I’m going to be celebrating with them!”
      Winning the Assen round has moved Grünwald up to second place in the championship, boding well for a good season for the German KTM rider. “I believe I should be able to get on the rostrum on a regular basis this season, and if I can manage that I’ll automatically be in with a shot at the championship. I’m certainly not going to tell you, right here, right now, I’m taking home that trophy at the end of the season, because so much can happen. We all have a long way to go yet, but I want to assure myself I have fun racing. And believe me when I say I’m having fun right now.”
      Luca Grünwald (GER) Assen (NED) 2018 © Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
      Luca Grünwald – still second in the championship – will be racing at Brno this weekend (from June 8 to June 10). With no German round on the calendar in World Supersport 300, the German KTM rider will go into the Czech round as his home race. Feel like following him? Check out his own Facebook page or that of the team.
      Photos: Jarno van Osch/Shot Up Productions
    • De Dementor
      Cairoli to find new limits with forthcoming F1 test
      Posted in People, Riding “Difficult and nervous …”, the MXGP World Champion talks exclusively about another special motorsport outing thanks to a Red Bull Racing Formula One test on June 6.
      Tony Cairoli interrupted his post-wedding plans at the end of 2017 to circulate with the factory Red Bull KTM MotoGPTM machine at Valencia. Now, the Grand Prix winning Sicilian is anticipating his first laps in a Formula One car at the Red Bull Ring this week. #222 will join the Red Bull Racing test team to take a two-year old RB12 for some flying laps in Austria.
      “I’ve pushed Red Bull quite a bit for this as I know it’s nice for me but also some good visibility for our sport because not many motocrossers get this opportunity,” Cairoli admitted. “It’s exciting to have done MotoGPTM and now Formula One.”
      Throwback: Tony Cairoli (ITA) 2010 © Ray Archer
      Speaking exclusively about the event, the nine-times number one also revealed that a degree of preparation has already gone into his F1 ‘debut’. He recently travelled to the team’s HQ in England to have his seat individually molded and to also make an obligatory session with the crew’s simulator. “It’s like a PlayStation but you feel the movements of the car and the throttle control and clutch is very sensitive,” he revealed. “It was difficult in the beginning but then they were very surprised by my laps. My times were actually very close to the drivers’ and not far from Verstappen’s! I cannot wait to test a real one.”
      The 32-year-old is already an accomplished Rally car driver; a passion that he indulges once the MXGP season is complete. The F1 opportunity was a little more complicated in terms of scheduling for Tony to be able to try other methods of prep. “It would have been better to have done some karting but I haven’t had much time,” he says. “We’re fighting for the championship and that means we have to look to the day job first. This is just going to be for fun.”
      Cairoli has already been able to think about the technicalities of the ‘spin’ thanks to his observations and experience with the simulator. “What is crucial with those cars are the braking points. I was braking late in the simulator because nothing can happen … but of course with a real car it is different! The steering wheel was pretty complicated but the hardest thing for me was getting in the car and making the seat; it is a strange feeling to be almost lying down. The cockpit is also really tight and the knuckles of your fingers almost touch the sides when they are on the wheel. There is almost no room at all and it is very compact.”
      Throwback: Tony Cairoli (ITA) 2010 © Ray Archer
      The Red Bull KTM rider competes in arguably the most liberal motorsport for individual expression. One of the reasons that motocross is so tough is because of the demand and punishment on all major muscle groups as the rider fights to manhandle the bike through the terrain and the air. F1 is the complete opposite, and perhaps one of the most constrained performance environments for the athlete. It is a marked contrast for TC222.
      “Yes, and especially because I have asthma and I felt the claustrophobia when I had to sit there for 30 minutes with the helmet making the seat,” he half-jokes. “There is also another part with the seatbelts and top unit of the car pushing you down hard before you’ve even started the engine: this was the most difficult and nervous part of the whole process for me!”
      The days of racing legends like John Surtees and Mike Hailwood interchanging world championship wheels and disciplines have long gone but Cairoli aims to prove that a racer’s instinct might still be the most valuable asset when it comes to making speed. Aside from the pride, there is also the bill to consider if perhaps it does go wrong and the gravel trap gets a bit too close: “I hope they have insurance but I don’t want to think about it!”
      Throwback: Tony Cairoli (ITA) 2010 © Ray Archer
      Photos: Ray Archer