2012 was a big learning year for the young South African star Jordan Weaving. As well as contesting the highly competitive British Motostar Championship on a Steve Patrickson 125 Honda he also made his debut in the eight round MotoGP series for future Grand Prix stars, the Red Bull Rookies Cup.
|Photo: Jordan Weaving|
The ‘Rookies Cup’ is designed to showcase the talent of the best young riders from across the globe to unearth the next generation of Grand Prix talent, following in the footsteps of Luis Salom, Jacob Kornfeil, Arthur Sississ and Britains own Danny Kent in to Moto3. Jordan is also, at this moment in time, the youngest rider ever to progress through the prestigious California Superbike School.
How did your career begin back in South Africa?
In the very early days I began, like many road racers, in motocross and had some fantastic races with current Moto3 rider Brad Binder, who was my biggest rival at the time. We both then progressed to road racing and continued our battles which in turn lead us to where we are today.
It must have been a big decision to chase your dream in Europe, although obviously essential to your career progression. What’s been the biggest challenge in making that move?
Because I’ve been travelling throughout my career it really wasn’t a problem in that sense as it was the logical next step and something I was well prepared for. The biggest challenge was learning the tracks in the UK, places that a lot of the Motostar riders already knew from their time in Thundersport series, for example, leaving me at an obvious disadvantage at quite technical tracks such as Oulton and Cadwell Park.
My dad used to buy parts from Steve when we first started racing over here and they developed a really good relationship over the phone. He helped us out a lot with advice on how to set up and tune the bike, his knowledge is incredible.
You’re back with the Rookies in 2013, apart from the travelling do you prepare differently for those weekends or keep things as consistent as possible?
My first year in that series was pretty much the same as joining the British Superbike rounds, lots of new circuits and not much track time. I studied the circuits as best I could by watching DVDs and playing MotoGP on my XBox to at least get a good idea of the circuit layout before rolling out of pit lane for the first time. Other than that my training and diet are very much the same, I like that consistency as it’s one less part to think about over a race weekend. Also this season our opening race is at Circuit of the Americas in Texas so I’m massively excited to go there, it should be a pretty level playing field too as none of the Rookies have raced there yet.
Did you adjust easily from the Honda SP125 to the KTM 125?
The biggest problem was getting comfortable on the KTM 125, although I’m quite a light weight I am quite tall so getting comfortable was an issue. The only thing we can do on the KTM is fit longer foot peg hangers as we are restricted in what we can change on the bike, so it’s a little cramped at times but we’re all in the same boat in that respect. On my SP Honda, however, we’ve had special handle bar mounts made to move them forwards, a longer sub-frame which is also higher than standard and fitted longer foot peg hangers as on the KTM which makes it very comfortable to ride and allows me concentrate on the race 100%.
You showed your potential many times in 2012 and proved you have the pace to run at the very front of the pack, what was the biggest thing you learned last season?
Last season I began to think more about my race, trying to devise a plan of how to deal with my rivals and adjusting that as the race unfolds. It’s all about me maturing more as a rider with each race I contest, every race is different and race-craft counts for a large part of any successful race.
Did you achieve the goals you set yourself in 2012?
BSB was a good year, I really felt I should have taken a win, especially at Snetterton, but that’s all part of the process that I mentioned earlier and will try 100% to make sure that fact is remedied this coming season. The Rookies, however, was difficult and I don’t mind admitting that, I just couldn’t seem to get my head around it. I obviously gave it my best at every round but but I didn’t get the results I know I’m capable of. Trust me, I’m out to make that right this year!
Looking ahead to MotoStar this season, you’ve kept the continuity of the same team but what machinery are you going to be riding?
There won’t be a change in machinery for this season so it really is the ultimate in continuity. I’ll be riding the same SP Honda 125 non-power valve that I’ve been riding since August 2010 when I had a one-off ride at a Brands Hatch Thundersport round. Dad did look at putting me on a 250 Honda Moto3 bike for this year but the running costs are so high we decided against it, besides there isn’t a massive gulf between the machines so we’re not at a disadvantage in any way and I trust in my ability to make it work.
With the level of competition being so high in Motostar it is difficult to put a championship challenge together due to your Rookies commitments, whats the aim for 2013?
My ultimate goal is to win the Rookies Cup! Last year was a big learning curve and I’m ready to carry that forwards now and aim to finish consistently in the top three whilst taking as many podiums as possible in the MotoStar series, securing a win is number one priority for that series too.
How do you see the next three years developing for Jordan Racing?
Becoming a full time Moto3 GP rider is the plan we want to follow but it’s really difficult, like all levels of motorsport these days, to secure the financial backing for a competitive ride. I want to show my potential to the best of my ability this year and prove I have the talent to progress, which in turn will hopefully make people sit up and take notice.
Who inspires you at this stage of your career? Who do you look at and think ‘…yeah, one day…’?
My close friend Danny Kent is a big inspiration to me, I’d love to follow in his footsteps in having a successful Rookies Cup campaign and then progress to a factory Red Bull KTM ride. That’s my ultimate short-term dream.
What advice has Danny passed on to you?
Ha I can’t give away our secrets! Danny and his dad help us out a lot with various pieces of advice on all aspects of racing, they’re great guys and also I train a lot with Danny as he lives not too far from me.
We wish you the very best for 2013 Jordan and look forwards to following your progress through the season, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
Thanks guys, I’ll be giving it my very best as always.
It’s going to be a very interesting season for Jordan, his own high expectations will push him towards his goals and with the firm guidance of his dad Colin, Steve Patrickson, Danny Kent and his father not to mention the support of his brother Reece and the rest of the family, 2013 could well be the year Jordan Weaving really makes his mark on the national and international scene.