— Randy De Puniet’s 250th GP
When he crosses the line at Phillip Island, Randy De Puniet will have raced 250 GPs since his debut onboard a 125 in the 1998 French GP. The Frenchman has now joined the list of riders with the most races run and feels privileged to continue doing what he loves at the age of 32. Proud of his achievements over his long career, his face lights up when he remembers all that he has done. His best result was third in the 250cc championship in 2003. He has had the privilege to ride on many marques throughout his career. Respectful and reserved off the track, he has always been known for being a fast and feisty rider on it.
You have entered a list of riders who have amassed 250GPs, what an honour…
“Yes it’s an honour to arrive at 250GPs. When I started I didn’t think of how many races I would accumulate, only to race as much as I could and score podiums and bei world champion. I have achieved nearly all my dreams so I am very satisfied. It’s fantastic to arrive here, still competitive, and with the same motivation that I had sixteen years ago.”
Does reaching this figure signify that you are getting older or that you are still competitive and for that reason you are still here?
“I guess it’s not easy to reach this milestone. But the secret lies in the motivation, in the enthusiasm for doing this with my life and also in keeping a good physical condition. I am only 32, I’m not an old man (smiles). Colin Edwards is older than me and he is still soldiering on!”
This is your sixteenth season in the championship since you raced your first wild card in 125 in 1998..
“It doesn’t seem so long because I love my life. Obviously when the results don’t come, or you are injured, there are tough moments, but to be able to live your life doing what you love is a privilege. There are ups and downs but we must know how to deal with them.”
Tell us a story from when you started…
“I competed in the European Championship and one week before my debut in the world championship –the 1998 125cc French GP- I broke my left collarbone in England. For me it was a dream to ride in the French GP, at the age of 16. I had surgery the Monday before the race and I could race four days later.”
What’s left from Randy De Puniet?
“When we are doing good work and I have a good feeling I can be at the front, as we are seeing this weekend Phillip Island. I love being part of this world, the phrase most used and most sure is that you have to love being on the bike. I hope to continue more years competing at the highest level.”
Who has helped you in all these years?
“At the beginning my father, then, when my career turned professional, my manager, Eric. Now I have help from my wife Lauren.”
What was your best moment of these 250GPs?
“My first 250cc victory, in the 2003 Catalunya GP. I love the Catalunya circuit, I don’t know why but it’s always been easy for me to be fast there. That’s one of my favourites.”
You’ve been in MotoGP for 8 years, but your best success was in 250cc…
“In MotoGP I have always run satellite bikes and it’s harder to win on those, whereas In 250cc I had an factory bike. Perhaps I would have liked to have been able to have more options in MotoGP but I’m not complaining, I think I have had a positive experience.”
What’s your best memory from all these years?
“I have a lot, racing motorcycles makes me very happy! During my time here I have had the opportunity to meet my wife in this paddock.”