How did you become a bLU cRU ambassador for Yamaha?
“I moved to Yamaha later in my career when Kallio Racing approached me to see if I wanted to ride in their WorldSSP team. After a couple of tests, I knew it was the right path for me. I won the championship in 2018 and moved up to WorldSBK with the GRT Yamaha Team, and had a strong first season. I moved to a different team for 2020, but sadly, an accident at Portimao effectively ended my riding career. When this happened, Yamaha Germany got in touch and asked if I would be interested in helping to coach the young riders in the R3 Cup. I immediately said, “Yes!” It has always been my dream to help develop the next generation of German riders.”
What was your first year like as a bLU cRU ambassador?
“It was a real challenge to go from a rider to a teacher! I had been racing at the top level, and suddenly I was working with riders who were right at the start of their career. I found the best method was to start from scratch and try and work out what works best with every rider. One of the critical things I learned is that you have to be very calm and patient as a teacher. Younger riders need time to understand what it means to be fast.”
In 2022, you will continue as a bLU cRU ambassador, but you also have a new project with Yamaha & Keifer Racing?
“One of my biggest frustrations last year was watching talented riders from the R3 Cup, who did not make it into the European Cup, move to different manufacturers to race in the IDM. So we wanted to create a platform for young riders to continue racing with Yamaha in the German championship.
The idea this year, with Yamaha support, is that Kiefer Racing will now have a team in the IDM Supersport 600 and Supersport 300 categories to allow riders that impress us in the German R3 bLU cRU Cup the chance to progress to the next step at the national level in Germany. Honestly, it is incredible what Kiefer and Yamaha are doing; they are giving young, talented, German riders the chance to move up to the SSP330 class in the IDM with the full support of a World Championship level team.
A great example of how this new project with Kiefer can succeed is that Michel-Caspar Wieth, who came fourth in the German R3 Cup last year, will now ride for the Kiefer Team in the Supersport 300 category in the IDM. I think it is crucial to have this intermediate step before the riders move up to the R3 European Cup or the world stage because it gives them the extra time it takes for them to learn everything they need to be successful.”