Moto2 GP Q&A: Steven Odendaal
Steven Odendaal will be the first South African to enter the world of Moto2 GP World championship racing - one stop from MotoGP itself.
Odendaal (20), born in Johannesburg, has been registered with Motorsport SA since he was six and began his career racing off-road bikes before advancing to Regional racing 50cc at the age of 10 (the youngest SA rider at the time).
He will race for the Arginano-Gines Racing team in the 2013 Moto2 World championship category and is looking for more sponsors.
THEY CALL ME 'POCKET ROCKET'
Wheels24 motorcycle correspondent DAVE FALL caught up with Odendaal ahead of a test session in Spain before the season-opening race in Qatar on April 7 2013.
We managed to fire seven questions at him, here goes:
Q: Tell us more about how you got the chance to compete in Moto2 GP. What has been your inspiration?
A: Racing has been a lifetime dream of mine from the moment my parents put me on a motorbike at the age of five. I’ve always wanted to compete in the world series of Moto GP, with hard work and training I progressed up the ranks earning the nickname “Pocket Rocket.”
Last year whilst I was racing in the Spanish Championship I was offered two wildcard rides in the 2012 Moto2 GP world championship with Team Argiñano-Ginés Racing. I’m pretty sure I must have impressed them because in December they offered me a full ride with their team for the 2013 championship.
Q: April 7, Qatar opening race awaits … give us some background to Argiñano-Ginés Racing Racing and any past successes?
A: My experience with Team Argiñano-Ginés in my two wildcard rides, has been that of great professionalism, dedication and support to their riders. Argiñano-Ginés is a Spanish-owned team, It is a relatively new team in the Moto GP, but have shown great motivation and intuition.
The AGR team has approval from the teams' association to have a second in Moto2 in 2013. The popular Basque chef and restaurateur, along with technician Ginés Guirado, have joined forces in a project that intends to carve out a long-term spot in the World Championship.
INSPIRED BY DANI PEDROSA
Q: Do you have a really competitive bike going forward … and the brand?
A: Yes I do, absolutely so. Spanish Argiñano-Ginés Racing team has announced it will contest the 2013 Moto2 season with Italian Speed-Up machinery, the bike will use a Honda engine, Dunlop tyres and 2D Electronics. It's an exceptional package.*
While testing at the Almeria circuit at the end of 2012 proved the determining factor for the team to select that particular chassis, stating it produced the best times. The outfit felt throughout 2012 that it was a bike with significant potential. Argiñano-Ginés Racing will take its first official outing with the new bike at the first Moto2 test in Valencia from 12th - 14th February 2013. *
Q: Which bike rider – if any – do you model your style on?
A: I would like to think I have a style of my own, however, if I were to choose someone right now that inspires me I would have to say Dani Pedrosa. To me he is an exceptionally good starter and he has almost won the world championship two years in a row, he has a particular style which I like, and find it amazing to watch him on the track.
Q: Do you have a favourite circuit in mind and why?
A: Yes, Valencia – Spain. This is a left hand circuit very much like Kylami (one of my favourites) in South Africa. The track has been built within an arena giving the audience great spectator potential. It has a capacity for 120 000 spectators and seating for 60 000. The area is also knows for its milder temperatures in winter.
Q: South African companies still have the chance to offer sponsorship help, how would they go about this?
A: For Sure. Anyone that could help with sponsorship should contact Derick Odendaal.
Q: What number bike should South African TV followers look out for and cheer in Moto2 GP this season?
A: No.44 – the same number I've been using for the last six years in South Africa.
Dave Fall reckons every South African motorsport fan will be following Moto2 GP racing this year: go No.44, go!
*Information courtesy Argiñano-Ginés Racing.
OTHER SA RIDERS IN MOTORSPORT
We'd like to extend a hat-tip to Wheels24 reader Andre Maritz who asks us to give support to other South Africans making us proud in the world on motorsport in 2013. It's a pleasure, Andre...
AJ Venter - Honda Superbike and Superstock 1000) Isle of Man
Sheridan Morias - Honda World Supersport 600 class
Mathew Scholtz - Suzuki World Supersport 600 class
Greg Gildenhuis - BMW World Superstock 1000
Dave McFadden - Honda World Superstock 1000
Darryn Binder - KTM 125cc Red Bull Rookies Cup
Brad Binder - Honda Moto3
2013 MotoGP and Moto2 GP World championship calendar:
April 7 - Qatar, Qatar
April 21 - Austin, USA
May 5 - Jerez, Spain
May 19 - Le mans, France
June 2 - Mugello, Italy
June 16 - Catalunya, Spain
June 29 - Assen, Netherlands
July 14 - Sachsen ring, Germany
August 18 - Indianapolis, USA
August 25 - Bruno, Czech Republic
September 1 - Silverstone, UK
September 15 - Misano, Italy
September 29 - Aragon, Spain
October 13 - Sepang, Malaysia
October 20 - Phillip Island, Australia
October 27 - Motegi, Japan
November 10 - Valencia, Spain