MotoGP stars including Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo have welcomed the news that two female riders will be competing in the Moto3 World Championship event at Aragon this weekend.
Full time Moto3 competitor Ana Carrasco, 16, will be joined by 17-year-old fellow Spaniard Maria Herrera, who is racing as a wild-card.
It will be the first time that two female riders have taken part in a grand prix since 1994, when Daniela Tognoli and Tomoko Igata started the 125cc Spanish race.
Rookie Carrasco, who rides alongside title contender Maverick Vinales at Calvo KTM, has a best finish of 17th so far this year. Herrera, who will ride for the Estrella Galicia KTM team, currently lies third in the Spanish Championship and clinched her second victory of the season last weekend.
“It is good news,” said MotoGP title leader Marquez. “I was in my home last Sunday watching the Spanish Championship race and when I saw Maria win... Already she had won a race, but you never know if it was just one time. But then she won again [last weekend] at Navarra.
“It will be important for motorcycles and MotoGP because it looks like a men's world, but a girl can be fast.”
“I think it is a really good thing for the sport to have two girls,” added reigning double MotoGP champion Lorenzo. “It is not normal and maybe next year it can happen [full time]. Ana's team told me she is really brave and also in the Spanish Championship [last year] she did a really good season. Now in the world championship it is more difficult so she needs a little bit more time.
“And Maria - everybody says she is really strong. Winning races in the Spanish Championship is very difficult. So both have a really promising career ahead of them.”
Seven time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi thinks the added competition between Carrasco and Herrera will spur them both on - as well as their male rivals.
“I think it is good for our sport, because it is mainly a men's sport, but also in the past, four or five girls were very, very fast,” said the Italian. “It is especially interesting to understand and follow Maria after she won two races in the Spanish Championship, where the level is good.