An exclusive interview with Marcel Schrotter, who took his long-awaited first grand prix podium with third at last weekend's Misano Moto2 race...

You started racing in the world championships in 2008 and after steady improvement you’ve finally got your first podium!

Marcel Schrötter:

I actually started racing way before that when I was only 3-years-old. I was a tiny 3-year-old on a Yamaha PW50.

Everything started then. It came about because I’d been spending a lot of time on race tracks anyway because my father used to do some, let’s say, hobby racing and I was on the edge of that world.

My father also worked as an instructor at some track days so I had a lot of friends around tracks. He got to the stage of racing in the German Superbike championship and our summer breaks we often spent on Spanish race tracks – I spent a lot of time there.

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Did you go to Spain to compete in the higher level championships there?

Marcel Schrötter:

After I’d done the various pocket bike and mini bike championships in Germany I was gradually working my way through the levels and once I’d done the IDM 125 series in 2007 I went to the Dorna MotoGP academy. They contacted me and took me on as part of the team for the last three to four races.

When I arrived in Spain, you immediately noticed that the level was a lot higher. In Germany in my first 125 race I finished second behind a world championship rider – I finished top five in my first year. But in Spain you have more than 100 riders in two groups and you have to qualify from amongst them.

The level in Spain was quite a shock in that you have riders from the domestic championships but also from the world championships racing there. There were some people who’d already raced at world level there with good bikes and teams around them – those guys were not easy to beat!

You need that though because it’s fair to say I learned a lot there.

After that year the academy wanted to continue with me but all the people around me were saying that I should go back to Germany so that I could finish school. I went back to finish my middle school so that I could formally finish my education. It meant that I could then do what I wanted and wouldn’t be limited by education commitments.

Was there ever a plan B to your racing?

Marcel Schrötter:

To be honest, for me it was bikes or bust. I wanted to get my education so that if something did happen I wouldn’t have nowhere to go, but in my heart it was all bikes.

Racing teaches you so much, you get to travel the world, see so many things and also learn practical things. For example I think my English isn’t too bad. I also felt that I had the ability to go far in the sport.

Unfortunately it’s taken a lot of time because of these complications, I always felt that if we’d gone with the academy in 2008 I could have got here faster, but now we’re just about there. It’s just that it was a little harder.

How were you financing your career, did you have good sponsors?

Marcel Schrötter:

No never, that’s why it was so hard. 2007 was my first year in German championship and it was through knowing some people at HRC that I was able to get the bike to compete there and I had some small local sponsors and also input from my family. Up to that time it had all been family sponsored and we never had enough to get what we wanted.

Later we had some smaller sponsors, 2000 Euros here, 3000 Euros there but it was in 2007 when I started working with Anton Mang that we managed to get the contacts and resources to allow me to get into higher level racing.

Can you make a living racing at your current level?

Marcel Schrötter:

Now, more or less, yes. I can’t buy what I want or live extravagantly but just about, yes.

In 2010 for example I just had to go from one team to another riding whatever I was given because we didn’t have sufficient funding and I think it was that that resulted in it taking such a long time to get to where we are now.

In 2012/13 there was a pretty competitive team that wanted to let me ride in Moto2 but I had to bring some money and also buy the bike so I couldn’t take opportunities like that.

It was when I met my manager Michael Koreies who was a sponsor from the Interwetten team that things like this started to go better. He organized my test with that team in Valencia in 2013.

It must be a terrible balance to strike if you are having funding problems as to how hard to ride the bike because crashing could result in damage that can’t be paid for but you still need to show what you can do...

Marcel Schrötter:

You’re not actually thinking ‘Don’t crash, don’t crash’ as you ride along. But it’s always in the back of your mind. I actually destroyed the bike at that test, but Michael believed in me and helped me out there. He’s helped me so much including paying for my living expenses and I don’t think that I could be where I am now without him.

In the last couple of years things have finally got a bit easier.

Your story seems to be one of steady improvement and you’ve finally vindicated people’s belief in you by getting your first podium.

Marcel Schrötter:

Oh, that felt good.

But in 2014 I had my second season in Moto2 on a Tech 3 and got P10 in the championship so I think the results were also there then. The bike was the same one as the one that Danny and Louis only scored 8 points on and I think I got something like 85 points so that was already pretty good.

I did have some good results but it wasn’t consistent. Teams were always changing which made it so difficult but through this Michael has always supported me so it’s a pleasure now that I am finally making something so that something can go back to him.

Was there a family party for the podium on Sunday?

Marcel Schrötter:

A small party, yes. It’s something we’ve been waiting for, for such a long time. We had some beers in the box afterwards, finished the champagne had a team dinner and were in bed by 1. Early the next morning I was in the car on my way to Spain for training.

So not like the Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts days when they wouldn’t have even gone to bed?



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