Ten days is all that separates Aiden Wagner from turning his life-long dream of competing in a grand prix into a reality when the 2014 Tissot Australian Grand Prix explodes into life at Phillip Island on October 17-19.
Aiden is Australia’s sole “Wild Card” entrant in the Moto2 World Championship race, and recently returned from a very successful private test with the Marc VDS Racing Team at the Almeria circuit, in southern Spain
Naturally, Aiden is like a kid at Christmas as he awaits his chance to get on the Kalex machine at the Victorian track and battle with the world’s best.
“It was an amazing experience,” said a delighted Aiden on his return. “The team did everything to make us feel welcome and we were their guests at the Aragon GP as well. I could not ever wish to have a better team than Marc VDS supporting me in my first Grand Prix.
“The Kalex bike was nothing like I have experienced and so different to the Supersport machine I ride here. The grip levels of the Dunlop tyres are amazing, and the lean angles and the corner speeds are something else.
“It was so much of a benefit to me. If I had waited until Phillip Island to ride the bike it would be completely different but now I have had time on the bike and know its characteristics, I will be fully prepared from the first session at the Island to go hard.”
The test was interrupted by rain but, with the time available, Aiden impressed the team with how quick he adapted to the bike and the lap times he managed to achieve with only around 30 laps completed due to the weather.
One interested on-looker was Marc VDS rider and current Moto2 world championship leader, Esteve “Tito” Rabat who made the trip after finishing second in the Aragon Moto2 GP, the day previous to the test. Tito was on hand to provide some tips and insider knowledge on riding the bike and adapting to the intricacies of the GP bike’s characteristics.
“Tito was fantastic as he showed me a few things and also helped with my riding style as I changed that a little with the way the bike was set up,” the 20-year-old Queenslander explained. “The Kalex is so agile it is surprising. Tito also looked at me out on track and offered some help in corner speed and lines as it is the most critical part of riding the GP bike. They have a similar horsepower to my 600 but the lap times are so much faster due to the frame and electronics and much faster corner speed.”
Rabat, who has a very strong chance of appearing at Phillip Island as the newly crowned world champion needs only one point to secure the title at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, while his team mate Mika Kallio sits in second spot, 33 points behind.
Aiden could not have a more enthusiastic team to make his debut with, as the team has a long association with Australia riders that goes back to 2000 when Team Principal Michael Bartholemy signed the first of a trio of Aussies to ride in teams managed by him over the years.
Initially it was with Kevin Curtain in the Supersport World Championship from (2000-02) then soon after with Grand Prix winner, Garry McCoy and current Moto2 competitor, Anthony West in the MotoGP category.
With this history, it is a remarkable opportunity for Aiden to be associated with the Marc VDS Racing Team and if the racing gods are shining on him to provide a good result, there is a very real chance that this one-off ride could turn into a journey that every racer aspires to.
Additionally, the prospect of being in the same pit box as a newly-crowned world champion will be a major confidence boost for the talented youngster.
To assist him in his endeavours his crew has a wealth of grand prix experience, led by Pietro Caprara who has fettled for many including, Casey Stoner, Alex De Angelis, Jeremy McWilliams and Andrea Dovizioso.
Also in his corner is Stewart Winton who has been the man behind the scenes in Aiden’s impressive results in Australian domestic racing this year on the Oz Wildcard Racing bike.
Since his return to Australia, Aiden has been busy training and last weekend was out with Garry McCoy at his training facility inland from the Sunshine Coast. McCoy, who won three races in the MotoGP category was on hand to offers some tips regarding wheel-spinning and sliding as they are a major factor in lap times and race success.
“Spending time out there on the dirt and talking to Garry has been a massive help too,” said Aiden. “Truly, I have had an excellent preparation and I cannot wait to get down to Phillip Island.”
MCNEWS.COM.AU is a specialist on-line resource that provides motorcycle news for motorcyclists. MCNews covers all areas of interest for the motorcycling public including news, reviews and comprehensive racing coverage.