Thanks to the amability of the CIP Team’s press officer and the rider himself, our editor had the chance to talk with one of the most promising rookies of the upcoming Moto3 season. We are talking about Makar Yurchenko, who is set to become the first ever Kazakhstani rider to compete in a Grand Prix.
Wheelies: Hello Makar, first of all congratulations for the good results you achieved last season in the FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship. How would you rate your 2017 season? Are you happy with what you achieved or do you think you could have done better?
MY#76: Overall I am quite happy with 2017, we achieved 2 podiums and 1 pole position and we were battling most of the times in the front groups. This is an important step for me. In the middle of the season it was not easy – we were struggling to find a good setting, but it is all experience.
Wheelies: Since your international debut, you have raced two seasons in the Red Bull Rookies Cup and two seasons in the FIM CEV Repsol. Can you tell us a few words about your experience in these 2 competitions? Which one did you enjoy more?
MY#76: Both competitions are very competitive. The level is very high and my first season in Rookies Cup opened doors for me into the world motorcycle sport in general. Rookies Cup is a very good competition, because young riders travel all over European tracks and they gain lots of experience close to MotoGP riders. FIM CEV Repsol is good because it is very close to the level of the Moto3 World Championship class. You have your team, your personal mechanics, crew chief, etc.
Wheelies: Since your international debut, you have always raced with number #76. Does it have any special meaning for you?
MY#76: My older brother Pavel Yurchenko was racing with number “6”, and when I started to compete in competitions, I decided to keep that “6” and add a number close to it. Since those times I have my “76”.
Wheelies: Do you prefer wet or dry conditions?
MY#76: It doesn’t matter for me. I really enjoy both weather conditions, even it is snowing it is fine for me (laughing). It is true that in both dry and wet conditions I have a good feeling with the bike and I work hard to have that feelings – I train in dry, I train in wet asphalt. You never know what surprises some races can bring you!
Wheelies: What’s your favourite circuit?
MY#76: I would say that two of my favorites are Circuito de Jerez and TT Circuit Assen. But actually I don’t really have my perfect circuit. I like all of them, I enjoy travelling around the world and trying different tracks, taking maximum from this experience.
Wheelies: Any MotoGP idol?
MY#76: Without a doubt, Marc Marquez. He is making a new era of MotoGP now, he is always riding on the limit. Just seeing that crazy amount of his saves last year it is enough to understand that he is at the Top!
Wheelies: Who is the person that had the biggest influence on your career?
MY#76: In the beginning of the career it was my brother, who was racing and competing in local scooter championships. Thanks to him I started to be fond of motorcycle sport. And then it was my father who helped me to achieve some level, who was always going with me to trainings, who was there when I got my first podiums. And now I am grateful to my personal team, my manager Xavi Bernat especially. Thanks to him I made a huge progress in the world motorcycle sport as a rider, physically, mentally.
Wheelies: Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions?
MY#76: Not really. But I believe that in future I will have some (laughing). Everyone has rituals in result.
Wheelies: Apart from racing, do you have any other hobbies?
MY#76: Yes, but mostly they are connected with engines and wheels. I ride everything that has wheels – that is my main problem (laughing). I like quads, karting, bicycles, I am also very fond of motorbikes on water but with an exception – I really don’t like boats (laughing). I am also skiing since I am 3 years old. These are the hobbies that I like the most.
Wheelies: If you had not been a motorcyclist, what job do you think you would have had?
MY#76: I am so much fond of engines and the feeling of being on the track, so I think probably I would have been a professional racing driver.
Wheelies: This season you will be racing for the CIP Team in the Moto3 World Championship. What are your first impressions of the team and the bike?
MY#76: I like a lot the team and our boss Alain Bronec. He is very open, very nice to us, the riders. He is an amazing tutor, he has lots of experience! And I believe we can work out good results this year. I will be riding a KTM, the bike that I know already from the past 2 years from FIM CEV Repsol. And for sure I will enjoy it!
Wheelies: You will be sharing the garage in 2018 with John McPhee, a rider with a lot of experience in the class. Do you think that having a previous GP winner as your teammate will help you develop yourself more?
MY#76: Of course we are teammates and we will always help each other – there is no doubt in this, this is rule number one. Team job is extremely important inside of box. But anyway, both of us have their own paces in career and our own results. We will help each other, but the winner is only one on podium. This world is like that, let’s be honest.
Wheelies: Since your international debut in 2014, you have always raced on KTM bikes. You will also ride a KTM in 2018. Are you satisfied by the performances of the Austrian manufacturer?
MY#76: It is not the easiest bike to ride but it is one of the best. Now I have good experience with KTM and I hope it will help me to go faster this year. It is very important, but sometimes not easy, to find a good setting. But KTM can race you to the podium and that is enough. How and when it will be, depends mostly on the rider.
Wheelies: You will become the first ever Kazakh rider to race in the World Championship. Does this detail put any additional pressure on you?
MY#76: No, I don’t feel any extra pressure from this. When you are on the track, you don’t think about nationality. You just want to go faster than the others.
Wheelies: Kazakhstan is a country without really much tradition in motorsports. Did this thing affect your career’s path? Did it make it harder for you to step on the international stage?
MY#76: Well, from the beginning of my career I knew that fact. There are no great tracks in Kazakhstan yet. Sokol Racetrack that supports me will be the first track for road racing, build on a proper level. Since I have started my road racing career, I was always competing in the best country in the world for racing, in Spain – that was in Rookies Cup, then on FIM CEV Repsol. It was a really lucky coincidence in my life that changed my career totally – before, I actually was a professional motocross rider. But once, a representative from Sokol Racetrack came to me during some motocross competition and said: “Look, you are fast in motocross, try yourself in Rookies Cup”. Well, these are totally different disciplines but I said why not. It was not easy to change my riding style after motocross, but I did it. I was training crazy on asphalt, almost every day. I passed the selection in Rookies Cup, so it all began!
Wheelies: What is your objective for the 2018 season?
MY#76: Moto3 is a very competitive class. I plan to learn as fast as possible because I have never been on half of circuits in MotoGP calendar. But Top-15 is quite possible. I plan to work hard!
Wheelies: Do you see yourself racing in the premier class in the future?
MY#76: Definitely. I came to road racing with this goal and I plan to continue my career.
Wheelies: A message for the Romanian fans, please.
Follow MotoGP and support Makar Yurchenko!!! (Laughing)
Wheelies: Thank you very much for your time, Makar, and good luck in the new season!
credit foto – motogp.com