The Murcia rider is delighted with her WorldSSP300 debut
Step by step, Ana Carrasco has made a name for herself in the international motorcycle racing scene. It's been four years since she debuted in the Moto3 World Championship in 2013; now the racer from Cehegín (Murcia) moves to a new stage in her career, in the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship.
Carrasco will be the lone rider in the ETG Racing team, as the WorldSSP300 series begins its inaugural year in 2017. Receiving official confirmation on Monday, the rider and team partnership is initially a one year contract, with the option of a second season. Almost fully recovered from her operation in December - which saw the removal of a plate from her left shoulder - she spoke to WorldSBK.com ahead of her new venture.
What can you tell us about this jump to the WorldSBK paddock to race in the WorldSSP300 Championship?
"I'm very happy to be with this team. It is a good opportunity after these last few years, which have not been easy. I think the team can be very competitive and that the bikes are going to be too. In World Superbike Kawasaki is surely the strongest brand, and in the recent years they have been ahead, so I hope it is similar in this category. The team is new to the Championship and so am I, but at the same time both they and I have experience and I think we can all try to achieve our goals.”
What are the goals for 2017? Are they something that has already been discussed with those responsible for ETG Racing?
"They have wanted to count on me from the beginning because they are sure that together we can race at the front. Your goal and mine is to do your best. I think I have a good chance to finish in the top positions and try to fight for the Championship.”
What attitude are you coming into WorldSSP300 with?
"I think I have progressed over time. I'm more aggressive on the track, which is one of the things that I missed years ago, and it's a very important thing to fight in the races. I don’t think I have changed much, but I have improved in some things. For example in the braking, which at the beginning was one of the points where more time was lost. I think I corrected most things a long time ago, so I feel quite complete.”
WorldSSP300 is a feeder Championship, where there will be very young riders and you are a 'veteran' of almost 20 years. Can this give you an advantage?
"Yes, there will be many young people. I am also young, but I already have a lot of experience in racing and I think that can help me. The experience always helps and I guess it will be a plus.”
Do you think you are now on the verge of being able to fight for the Championship crown?
“Yes. When I first came to the world stage at 16 it was a bit weird for everyone. But it's been four years now and they've all got used to it, so to speak. I am sure that everything I have learned will serve me in WorldSSP300 to be able to be ahead. I have been fighting for the Championships all my life and I am looking forward to having the means to do it again.”
Has riding at times with slow machinery made you vary your focus on competition?
"I always ride for passion. I do it because it’s something I enjoy and because I want to dedicate myself to it. But with this passion I have had bad times; I have had many injuries from riding motorbikes that have not been competitive, meaning I have had to push than I could. I always try to go where I can have the best machinery and can fight with others. If your machinery is bad you have to always push a little more and go to the limit, as long as in the end it doesn’t brings falls and injuries. In the end, you see that if you do not have a good material, you cannot push.
You will have another female rival in the category, Avalon Biddle, who has a lot of experience and won the FIM European Women's Cup ...
"Yes, but right now I do not know which motorcycle she will ride. [The New Zealander will race with the same frame as Ana, a Kawasaki Ninja 300]. The important thing is that every year there are more women in all the Championships, and that there is someone who represents women.”
Do you think that one day women’s performance will be enough to make the slogan "a woman in mans world" obsolete?
"Women will never be a majority, this is clear. I think the number of women will increase, but in the end in the world championships there is a great level, which makes it complicated. I suppose there will be more women in the entry list, but ultimately what is hoped for is that we all have the same opportunities and that the world championships are the best. "