After the opening day of running in Qatar I caught up with Moto2 rider Gino Rea. The Londoner is racing for an all new team this year having seen his risky decision to wild card throughout 2013 pay off….
Stephen English: How was today?
Gino Rea: Today was pretty good to be honest. The position doesn’t really reflect the progress that we’ve made but in the first session we started off well and were in P15 before changing the tyre and the other tyre just didn’t work for us so we couldn’t go any faster. In the second session we just used the tyres from the first session and I did my best lap on them even though the tyre had done over a race distance, something like 30 laps. I’m pretty happy because we made a lot of progress in the second session and I think that if we had put in a new tyre we would have been a lot higher up.
How is the ankle holding up after a day of running?
The foot isn’t in the best of shapes, the bone was probably in too many shapes! It hurts everywhere I put pressure on it-every change of direction, every wheelie when you have to put your weight forward and then on the downshifts-so it’s hurting but you’ve got to push through it and make the bike better. We’re learning a lot because we only had three proper days of testing because of the broken foot so we’re learning and I’m starting to feel good on the bike. We need to carry that progress into tomorrow and we’ll be even higher up.
How long is it since you broke the foot?
It’s five weeks ago and unfortunately I’m on painkillers for it. I didn’t want to be and I didn’t use any in the first session but it hurt so in the second session I had to take some strong ones. It’s only tablets at the moment because I don’t to have injections because you get a bit of numbness and I’d rather ride through a bit of pain than have that.
Overall how is the team this year?
Everything is so new and so fresh. It’s the first time that we’ve all worked all together, I’ve got an English crew that I brought in, including my crew chief from last year. The management is all new and it’s our first race but surprisingly it’s going really well and everyone has gelled together. Everyone is sticking to their own jobs and concentrating on what they have to do. It’s been really good and positive for the first day of the season and the first day of a new team.
How did it come together with the US backers?
Basically when I was doing the wildcards last year a friend of ours invited an American guy to come to a race and he’s the owner of American Green Technology. We applied to do wildcards for the full season this year running my own team and basically I applied for the entry from Dorna and because of the efforts that we put in last year we were granted the entry. So we formed a new company and American Green Technology’s Dave Peterson owns 51% of the company, we own 40% and the guy that put us in contact owns the rest. So we’ve split the team and the team is effectively American run, with a headquarters in Austin, Texas, and we’ve gone from there.
Did you have to put up any of your own money for this?
No, not this year. It’s all coming from American Green Technology.
How much of a risk was last year and having to put your own money on the table to go racing?
It was huge, I was talking to James Toseland about it and he was saying that it was the same for him and his music. You never know at the time if the risk will pay off but you have to have the balls to do it. Fortunately we put in the hard work and it got us here and we’ve a pretty good situation. Sometimes you’ve got to risk it and see what happens. It was a scary time because I didn’t know if it would pay off or if we were just chucking money down the drain but it’s definitely relieving when it pays off.
It nearly went full circle for you from Supersports, to Gresini, to your own team and then there was a question mark about this year until this came up.
If this didn’t come about I think that I would have struggled for a ride here because there wasn’t very many left and the couple that were left were asking for big money and they’ve got other riders from the Far East paying big money so maybe I would have been back to Superbikes. But I’m happy to be here.
What do you think are your prospects for the season?
It’s difficult and everyone asks what my goals are. Obviously I want to win races and be on the podium and that’s what I’m here to prove but sometime you have to be a little bit realistic with a new team and the injuries but I want to start scoring points as soon as I can. Then I want us to make progress and in the middle and towards the end of the season I want to start moving forward and battling for podiums.