Alicante’s WorldSSP300 rider delves into some key aspects of his life
Born in Altea (Alicante), a racer, 2016 EJC Champion, with two wins in WorldSSP300, he is thoughtful, with a clear vision. Perez turned 18 last week, and on track he knows how to combine strategy with tough racing, but off track you always see him with a big smile. WorldSBK.com catches up with Mika Perez (WILSport Racedays).
“Of course, I imagined WorldSSP300 would be like this. It was clear that with less powerful motorcycles there would be a fight until the last lap. It is a very competitive category and any detail can make the difference.
“In the race everyone gives it their all; it has nothing to do with practise or qualifying. It is very important to be very focused and aggressive because everyone here wants to win, the first and the last rider.”
“Do I have a serious pilot image? I do not know ... it may convey seriousness or hostility, but it is that when you are in a World Championship you know that you have it all to play for. You know that any good result can catapult you, and that any bad result has a big impact. Maybe I would like to be laughing and give my everything but I really appreciate the opportunity they have given me, and I have to take advantage of it.”
“Away from the track I have more fun and joke a lot more. Now, when the weekend begins, you change the mentality and you apply the serious attitude. When you are about to go out to compete, you are not thinking about the party or anything else, you are thinking that you have to put on your best performance. There are many people behind me including my team and sponsors, meaning there is a lot of pressure”
“I think everyone on the track with me is a rival. Until the chequered flag, everyone is a rival. You cannot give anything to anyone.”
“I do not consider myself particularly temperamental, but sometimes the adrenaline makes you behave out of character, it's the power adrenaline has.”
“When I race, I look for a compromise between the risk and using my head, it is a big calculation. In the first laps you have to risk because you have to break the group a bit, because if you run in a group of 20 riders until the end, then you will have to risk much more.”
“You also can not go crazy trying to break away from the pack. You have to think that if you are too aggressive, you could crash. It is complicated, and the races are complicated because the rivals that are fighting with you are those who are normally fighting for the title. In the final laps, yes you have to forget what your head is saying a bit and be aggressive, but remember that you cannot crash, because in the title chase, zero points hinders you a lot.”
“Since my childhood my favourite rider has been Dani Pedrosa. He was the one who was winning in the 125cc and 250cc World Championships when I started to watch racing. People said, 'bah, today you cannot win, it's impossible', and in the end he won, he surprised you on every race weekend. And right now it's Marc Márquez, a spectacular driver. What he did in Misano is incredible, risking so much when racing for the championship is amazing. They are two very clear idols for me, one more of my childhood and another more current.”
“It’s not only racing the bike that I enjoy. Throughout the weekend you have to compete on the track, work through the technical parts with the team, give the feedback from the track ... but I enjoy it all, for me, it is all part of it. What can be hard over a race weekend is that it takes away time for your studies, because later you are behind compared to your peers.”
“I just started college, studying a degree of mechanical engineering. I think it's going to cost me a lot, because I will not have much time to study between races and training ... it will be quite difficult to manage. But I think having a university degree is very important. In the racing world, your professional career can collapse very easily; from an injury, a set of bad results or lack of budget ... so it is good to have other support.”
“I find physical training very hard, I prefer to give 500 laps on my motorbike to going out cycling or running, although I do both.”
“Last year was a great season for me and winning the European Junior Cup was amazing. All the bikes were the same and the rider was the one who made the difference. My goal is to race in World Supersport in 2018. I think my physical condition is better for a 600 than for a 300, but there is still nothing decided. I hope there is a good offer, even in the European Supersport and not for the whole World Championship. I think I deserve a place there for everything I have shown, but we will have to wait. I am prepared for everything.”