We’re headed out to the championship with high hopes of winning the gold. This year, we’ve finally got the plane that, in my opinion, is the best we’ve had to date. I’ve always wanted to have something of this calibre, and now we finally do. As of this month, as we prepare for the competition, I will be fully devoted to the championship—and we also have Repsol’s support.
We’re expecting the best for both classic and freestyle flight. We usually prioritise classic flight, as it’s the most prestigious, the most difficult, and the most technical part of the competition. We all want to be World Champions in classic flight, but once you’ve got that title in your hand, that’s the best moment to go freestyle.
The new plane
We were all expecting great things last year. We wanted to win the European Championship again, but we were forced to use a plane that wasn’t prepared for the competition. For instance, at MotoGP, you have an entire preseason to adjust the bike, while we only get a single test to fine-tune the plane. Ultimately, I see it as an investment we made last year that’s going to pay off this year.
The plane has a lot more power, a lot more traction. We’ve worked hard to trim (adjust) the controls. I wish we could shed a few pounds, but it’s been lightened so much already that it weighs less than my previous plane.
How might the weather affect your flight in South Africa?
All flight programmes vary depending on the weather. It’s like skating and having someone move the rink. You continue to skate, but everything is moving around you. That’s what the wind does and you can’t leave your area even if the rink is moving. You have to stay in the space assigned to you by the judges. In case you were wondering, we can’t fly if it’s raining. It’s not like the MotoGP races, where they change the tires and head out. When I see the guys out racing on wet tracks, my hair stands on end!
Speaking of motorcycles, I’ve never driven a MotoGP bike and I don’t think I could. What these people do on those bikes, at that speed, is incredible. It’s clear to me. Had they asked me 30 years ago, I would have answered differently, but now I see it as something beyond my capabilities. What they do is exceptional.
It’s true that you face tough conditions both in aerobatics and MotoGP, but we’ve got a bit more protection. They’re very close to the ground and, despite safety measures, an impact against the ground at high speed is powerful. We always work with a 150-meter buffer area we never use, so it’s something completely different.
Evolving as a team
Ever since coming into contact with Repsol, their work philosophy and “racing team” approach to competitions have been of great help. We’ve had access to tools we didn’t have before. Being part of an organization that’s so big, so solid, and so heavily involved in the world of engines is very reassuring.
Before working with Repsol, we would do everything ourselves, so we spent more time tuning things than piloting. Now, we have more time and we can focus on what’s important: to fly and strive for new achievements. If you take a look and what we’ve achieved over these past few years, you’ll see that Repsol has made the difference.
Now we have to prepare for South Africa…I’m going to fly there, but not on my plane! If you ever ask Dani or Marc to go a track like Mugello on their bikes, they’ll probably look at you funny, ha, ha, ha! It’s the same with us.
I’d like to thank all of the Box Repsol fans for their support. I hope to be able to bring home the gold this year, wish me the best!