How are the female athletes considered in your field?
We are respected in general.. at least I feel respected, and I think the girls in the top 10 can say the same. It’s not a sexist evironment. For sure men have a different level, but at the same time it’s not easy to find women in this sport at top levels, who are able to do what we do. In my category, from the first to the last the level completely changes, but I can say the first five women can be very near to men in terms of chronometer. In Loket for example last year my time was five seconds from Herlings’ best time. Many MX2 riders are slower then us.
There are many social posts congratulating you on your wins, people seem surprised that they have not heard more about the female world MX champion, why do you think that is?
Unfortunately women’s motocross in Italy is not considered much, also because the best way to communicate it is TV broadcasting, and our races are never on TV. But in the end, I knew from the beginning that this was the situation and I chose this sport anyways. It’s my passion.
Last time we met you was at the MotoGP Mugello, you were supporting your boyfriend Maverick Vinales..
How did you and Vinales meet each other?
Well.. we met on twitter. I knew he was following me and when last year he scored the second time and was sixth in the quali I said to myself “wow, this guy is so young and talented, reaching this result in MotoGP at the first year is something really special”. For this reason I felt I had to congratulate him without any other intention. Then he answered and we started chatting, probably because we share two very similar passions and it was good to chat together. Then everything started!
You are an athlete too and you know how it feels when you are nervous before a race. When it comes to a MotoGP race do you manage to step into the role of a reassuring figure?
I think I fit that role and I am a reassuring figure as much as he is for me when I compete, especially cause we both know what it means to do what we do. We support each other.
Also, I know a bit of his sport and in some cases I can give him advice, and viceversa he knows a lot about motocross and he can help, but I can say that we both know very well what we have to do during our races and there is not much help needed, just a little support to release tension and keep calm.
How does it feel to be on “the other side”?
I am used to racing and I know what it means, I always joked about my mother who says that she needs to take some Lexotan before watching me competing, and I couldn’t believe it was so tough for her! Now that I am in a similar situation I understand, it’s tough to be on this side, even more for me because I know the difficulties and all the emotions.. When you have to take the best lap and you see the red lights you know you got it, and I can really feel the hype and the adrenaline rush, like it was me racing on that bike!
Obviously you cheer for Maverick.. but you are Italian, and what happens when it comes to Valentino Rossi?
Well, I cheer Maverik of course and this is not arguable.. but Valentino is my idol since I was a little child, and he will always be. At the moment it’s difficult for me to think about who I would cheer if they would be fighting each other, this happened only once in Argentina when Maverick tried to overtake Vale a couple of times and I was almost having a heart attack! I couldn’t believe he nearly managed to pass him. I think I need to get used to this, I am pretty sure they will deliver an amazing fight. Vale has already win a lot, Maverick is my boyfriend, if he does better than Vale I would be very happy!
Well, next year they will share a box..
Yes, I think this is very cool for everyone, for Yamaha, Maverick and also for Vale, I am really happy about this.
If you would accept suggestions for your sport, would you choose Maverick, who knows you best, or Valentino for his experience and personality?
Maverick is very good in motocross, we have nearly the same level, Valentino doesn’t ride much on motocross. In general I don’t like to receive suggestions, and it’s difficult for me to trust other people, but if I have to listen to someone for sure that person would be Maverick.
Have you ever ridden a bike from MotoGP?
Not a motoGP one, but a Yamaha R6, a couple of times... not easy at all!
Completly different speeds, and different lines, yes you are on a bike but it’s totally different..