Moto2: Dominique Aegerter - Q&A

"I just have good feeling for when a bike is about to crash" - Dominique Aegerter.
Aegerter, Moto2, Australian MotoGP 2013
Aegerter, Moto2, Australian MotoGP 2013
© Gold and Goose

An exclusive interview with Dominique Aegerter, who finished a career best fifth (and top Suter) in this year's Moto2 World Championship, riding for the Technomag carXpert team.

Aegerter has scored points in every race since round two of the 2012 season...
What was your route into racing?

Dominique Aegerter:
My parents own an engineering workshop for cars and bikes, they bought me a small bike when I was three years old and I started riding around the workshop on that. When I got to five years old I took part in my first Motocross race. It was my father who first suggested that I went racing and I was really happy to agree.

I raced Motocross until I was 13 and was Swiss champion when I was nine years old. It was at 13 that I changed to road racing on a 125 in Germany. For Swiss riders it's normal to continue our racing career in Germany because we don't have any racetracks in Switzerland and the closest ones are there. In terms of the level the best championship for getting into GPs is in Spain but the German series is close by and my first language is German.

Also we have some contacts with people racing in the German championship and they offered us the chance to test a 125 there. They were people that my father had worked for in his engineering business and one of them had a team that he was happy to give me a chance with. It was after that test went really well that I decided to move from Motocross to the German 125 series.
Was there ever a 'plan B'?

Dominique Aegerter:
When I was in Motocross I was sure I wanted to go into that world championship and when I started road racing I was totally focused on getting into GPs, I wasn't thinking of anything else.

My school was pushing me to have a training to fall back on if I didn't succeed and I was also training to be a motorcycle mechanic after school, but that only lasted for a few months because by then I had started in the world championship.

At that time I was missing a lot of school so I decided with my parents and manager that I would concentrate on the racing and that if there were any problems that I could continue my education later on but luckily I'm still here. In Switzerland that's possible because you can continue your education regardless of age and I was able to come to that arrangement with them.

Over the last two years my results have improved a lot and I'm now able to live from my earnings as a racer so I don't think I'll be going to school any more, and even if I finish racing I'd prefer to continue in some role there such as trainer or team manager.
On your website your racing looks like a family effort, is that true?

Dominique Aegerter:
Yeah, for sure. My family has been crucial to everything, they've brought me up, supported me and paid for everything until recently. The 125 bike was really expensive, over 100,000 Swiss Francs, and the three years in Germany probably cost 200,000 and they found a way to pay for it all. They trusted me and believed in me enough to make that kind of sacrifice, and I'm hoping they did the right thing.

It was very difficult to find sponsors because when you're in the German championship you don't get a lot of coverage. It's particularly difficult finding sponsors in Switzerland anyway. It's my seventh year in an international championship and only the second year when my family hasn't had to pay anything towards my racing and even now that I'm earning my father still finds something if needed to help me along.

In the other years I wasn't the worst rider or anything but just couldn't find any sponsors, luckily I've now found good sponsorship from carXpert and Olivier Metraux.

It was Olivier Metraux who first got me into the world championship with Technomag and carXpert and in Moto2 has been central in creating the team and I'm still with him. I think that without them I wouldn't be here.

Since I've been in Moto2 I've always had the same key team members such as crew chief and suspension engineer and that has been a great advantage because they know how I work and my riding style and that's an advantage because it makes working together so much easier. My team is now a very relaxed one, they can work fast when needed but it's all very calm and that comes from years working together.
Do you ride the Suter because it's Swiss or because it's the best bike?

Dominique Aegerter:
For sure I like riding a Swiss bike because of my nationality but it's the team that decides which bike I ride anyway. Regardless of that though, I do think that the Suter is one of the best.

I would like to try a Kalex just to test it and see the difference was between that and the Suter but Moto2 is so close and just because the Kalex has won a few more races you can't say that it's the best. The Suters have always been close to the Kalexes even if they didn't win.
Is Tom Luthi the number one Suter development rider?

Dominique Aegerter:
Not really. When they develop new parts Jordi Torres is the test rider and then they take opinions and results from the three or four best riders such as myself, Tom Luthi, Zarco, Terol and Torres and then work democratically. If three out of four riders want to go in one direction then they'll do that, they don't just listen to one rider. I feel I have good influence on development.

All year Suter try new parts with us but now it's difficult to find any dramatic gains in performance and it's really just fine tuning.
This year you beat Luthi by two points and were fifth in the world championship, is it particularly satisfying being the number one Swiss rider?

Dominique Aegerter:
Yes it is. My first goal of the season was to finish in the top five which I've achieved. On paper I'm the No1 Swiss rider but Tom actually got more podiums than me so from my point of view Tom's still a little faster than me. In the end though I was more consistent and got the ranking.
Looking at your record in the last three years you've only had one DNF and you started and finished all other races and in the last seven years you've only had seven retirements and again started and finished all other races, that's an incredible record isn't it?

Dominique Aegerter:
One thing which is unique about my style is that I have good bike feeling. It's that feeling that allows me to know when the bike is about to crash and I can then correct the bike, luckily I've also got good reaction speed.

Another thing is that I'm sufficiently fast and on a well prepared bike which means that I don't have to over ride the bike and that in combination with how well the team works means that I can always finish the race.

I think the team stability has also helped with this finishing record.

I think my riding style is a little bit different to everybody else and that's maybe because of my Motocross experience, I just have good feeling for when a bike is about to crash. All rider's styles are different though, if all riders in Moto2 looked the same I could still tell you which rider was which just by how they ride.
Do you like to battle or ride within your space?

Dominique Aegerter:
Obviously I like it best when I'm leading the race but I haven't done that so much. Apart from that I like to fight with other riders because it keeps you focused on the race. If you're five seconds ahead then the race can be a bit long and boring.
Did you feel that last season was a breakthrough year?

Dominique Aegerter:
In a way, but I'd already got my first podium and leading laps in 2011. Last year I was just a bit more consistent, I'm always pushing to the limits and going as fast as I can. The good thing though is that I'm always improving, right from 2010 my lap times and ranking has seen a consistent improvement. I hope I can continue to improve.

The bike is also improving steadily but having said that all the other bikes are also improving and I think that the element which is bringing the most improvement is me. I need to work on my qualifying though because at the moment I'm often starting somewhere in the top 16 and that really isn't good enough to be competitive.
What are the plans for next season?

Dominique Aegerter:
At the moment I've just had a shoulder operation and am current recuperating and after that I'll be in training and should be able to start at 100% next season. I actually dislocated my shoulder three years ago but the doctors said that the shoulder is now so damaged that I needed this operation to sort it out. I've never really had a bad accident and this is probably the worst I've had. The fact that I'm always fit for the race probably also helps with my finishing record.

The operation went fine and the prognosis is good. At the moment I've got to rest and two or three months without any bike action is really difficult for me. Next season I'll be with the same team, with the same crew riding the latest Suter development.
Will your team-mate be Randy Krummenacher or Robin Mulhauser?

Dominique Aegerter:
No that will be Robin Mulhauser. Randy Krummenacher had an injury but that wasn't the only problem because his results weren't so good and he was having sponsorship difficulties.
Do you ever consider riding in Superbikes?

Dominique Aegerter:
My dream and ambition is to win the MotoGP championship and even if I had a good offer in WSBK I would still want to stay on in MotoGP because once you go to WSBK it can be difficult to come back.
Have you had any offers to ride in MotoGP?

Dominique Aegerter:
Yes, this year I had an offer from a team running a CRT bike but I felt that it wasn't such a good opportunity. I feel that it's easier getting a good ride in MotoGP from Moto2 than it is from a CRT ride.
Are you looking forward to the off season as a holiday?

Dominique Aegerter:
This year was little different because of the injury, but no, I'm already looking forward to next season!

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