WTCR racers reveal their two-wheeled memories
The WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup and FIM Endurance World Championship joined forces at the Sepang International Circuit for the inaugural Races of Malaysia last month.
During the event, WTCR drivers Thed Björk, Esteban Guerrieri, Norbert Michelisz and Yvan Muller were asked if they’d ever tried motorbike racing for size. This is what they had to say.
“When I was younger, I think the fastest motorbike I rode was a Simpson,” remembers BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse driver Michelisz, who left Malaysia as the King of the WTCR following his title triumph. “It was a bike from East Germany and it had 3.5hp and went 55kph but that was enough for me on two wheels as I’m really okay on four wheels.”
Björk showed far more ambition than Michelisz when it came to motorbikes. “I did a race in Sweden with a Supersport 600,” the 2017 FIA World Touring Car champion says. “I qualified quite well but crashed in the race and decided to stop. I was four seconds off the pace of the professionals but it was a lot of fun, a big adrenalin rush. You ride a bike with your body in a different way than a car. There is a lot of speed, a lot of air, but it’s in my contract now that I can’t race bikes so I won’t be doing it again!”
His Cyan Racing Lynk & Co team-mate, Yvan Muller, says: “I rode a Ducati once. The target was to touch the knee and as soon as I touched both knees I said ‘okay, enough’. I didn’t fall down and that was enough. I had brand new overalls and I couldn’t come back without brand new knees.”
“That was my goal too,” Björk adds. “It took some while [to touch my knee on the track] in the race but it felt good. Then I over-braked and hit another rider so it was time to stop.”
Guerrieri wouldn’t contemplate two-wheeled action unless he was able to practice extensively first. But even then a race would be out of the question for the Argentine.
The Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver, runner-up to Michelisz in the 2019 WTCR title chase, says: “It would be nice to try something for fun but not for racing because you ned a lot of practice. It’s more difficult to jump on a bike, tougher to get to the limit I guess, although to get the last second in cars you also have to be a specialist.”
While the quartet are happy to stick to racing on four wheels, they all welcomed the double-header format.
“For the fans it’s good you can look at both,” says Björk. “In Sweden a couple of years ago it was very popular to do both at the same weekend.”
Muller says: “It’s important to bring something new for the fans, it’s a good idea.”
“You need things that get the attention, the EWC is a nice championship and I liked the combined event,” says Michelisz.
“What you see with the bikes is very impressive, I have a lot of respect for those guys,” says Guerrieri. “It’s also good for the fans.”