After his serious accident at the Italian Grand Prix at the end of May, local hero Max Kofler is all set for his comeback at his home race of the Michelin Grand Prix of Styria from 6 to 8 August 2021 at the Red Bull Ring. We spoke to the 20-year-old Austrian.
Moto3 is traditionally among the hardest-fought classes on the MotoGP programme. Racing in the smallest category is done on KTM and Honda 250cc single-cylinder bikes. The young drivers do not give one another a single inch in their battles to reach the bigger classes. If you want to make it to the elite series of motorcycle racing, you have to prove your ability in Moto3. There is huge pressure with wheel-to-wheel battles and slipping out of one another’s slipstream the norm. It’s not unusual to have ten drivers separated by a single second. For spectators, the smallest category is often the greatest treat in terms of action.
Amid the throng of 32 bikes is a sole Austrian racer. Max Kofler from Upper Austria is in his second season in the category and won his first World Championship points at the season opener in Qatar. After an injury break, our man with the start number 73 and a trademark red and white helmet will be giving his all again at the Red Bull Ring.
Let’s start with the most important question. How are you doing after your serious crash in Mugello?
I’m doing really well by now. They did a fantastic job at the Olympiazentrum Linz, where I did my rehabilitation work. I have to say thank you very much to them for that!
What injuries did you have?
I had fractures on four vertebrae of the chest, and three were displaced. It has all healed really well by now though.
What have you been able to train on in recent weeks?
I’ve been working on my basic fitness and trying to take the pressure off my vertebrae as much as possible, while I try to build up my muscles.
Have you analysed the crash by now?
I have watched it, but I still don’t know why I flew off. I went into the turn as I did in every previous lap. It doesn’t really matter though, it wouldn’t change what has happened if I knew why I went flying.
What’s the first thing you think of when it comes to your comeback at the Red Bull Ring?
Of the full grandstands, for the first time in so long. A home race and a party. I am hugely looking forward to it.
Does the circuit suit you?
I would say it does, yeah. Hard braking, hard accelerating, that’s what I like. The Red Bull Ring was actually always one of my favourite circuits. It really packs a punch, also because it only has ten curves. Every lap has to be perfect, especially in Moto3 with our slipstream battles. If you slip up, it’s tough to catch up again.
What targets do you have in both races at the Red Bull Ring?
At the Styrian Grand Prix on the first weekend I would like to get back into racing. I haven’t sat on a Moto3 motorcycle for two months, after all. My goals for the Austrian Grand Prix on the second weekend will depend on how things go on the first weekend.
How close are you to your team-mate Kaito Toba at CIP Greenpower?
We get on well. When he got on the podium at the Sachsenring while I was injured, I was there to cheer him on. We are always in contact between races too.
A question that every Moto3 rider has to be asked in 2021. What makes Pedro Acosta, who dominates the series, different to the rest of you?
No idea. Nobody understands it. It’s incredible to have to say it, but he just tears us all to pieces. We are all puzzled at how he can perform so magnificently. The positive thing is that thanks to his amazing riding, Moto3 is suddenly more in the limelight.
Will there be a fan club to support you at the Red Bull Ring?
There won’t be a fan club but a lot of fans and acquaintances will be there crossing their fingers for me.
Last but not least. Can we call you Max or Maximilian Kofler?
Either is fine. Just not Maxi, please.
Anyone who wants to see Max Kofler and all the other top athletes live at the Red Bull Ring still has the opportunity to secure tickets for the MICHELIN® GRAND PRIX OF STYRIA 2021 online or at the circuit’s ticket points.