With fifth place in the French Moto3 Grand Prix, young Australian rider Arthur Sissis confirmed his outstanding talent by scoring another great result in extremely tough conditions.
The 16-year-old, who kicked off his debut campaign in the World Championship with a head-turning seventh place in Qatar and also scored points in Portugal, managed to succeed where 18 others – many of them vastly more experienced – failed on Sunday at Le Mans just by finishing the race.
Sissis rode a one-off 125cc race at Sepang last year in recognition of his achievement in finishing runner-up in the 2011 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, and has been impressing with his form in the opening rounds of the 2012 Moto3 season. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider spoke to redbull.com at Le Mans...
Arthur, how has your introduction to the Moto3 World Championship gone so far?
It's been my dream since I was a kid to be here, so it has been amazing! When I was riding in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup at the World Championship circuits I would always watch the 125cc races, and the times we did in the Rookies Cup were not that far off the GP times. Then when I did that Malaysia race I knew it was going to be hard! But this year, in Moto3, I have a very good bike in the KTM and it's all going well so far.
Your background is quite interesting, as you were a late starter in road racing...
Yeah, I was racing speedway in Australia before. The first time I rode a road bike was in 2009, and that was my first year in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. In fact, my first race was in the Rookies Cup! The speedway definitely gave me some good experience and a solid grounding.
What was your experience in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup like?
It was really good. I didn't think it was going to be so hard, the first year I was in there, and it was great. To learn Grand Prix tracks and to get three years in the Rookies Cup was excellent, I learned so much about the circuits we went to and now there are only a few on the Moto3 calendar I haven't been to yet.
How have you found the Moto3 bikes?
Not that bad to adjust to, because in speedway I was racing on four-stroke bikes. Anyway, this is new for everybody so it has been quite a level playing field so far.
Were you expecting such good results so early on?
Probably not, especially in Qatar because I didn't know that track. I was expecting 15th, or something around that spot, but that first race went really well. I'm not going to complain about the race in Portugal (Sissis finished 13th) but I had a little bit of pain in my neck from the crash I had the week before at Jerez. At the start of the race I was going really well until the pain started to kick, then it was really sore. I think I can go with the front guys, for sure.
You're in a team which has won two titles in the past four seasons, and have two more experienced team-mates in Sandro Cortese and Danny Kent in the same garage. How has that all helped?
It's great because they're all so experienced, they can teach me a lot. If I'm at a new track I can look at their data and they're completely fine with that. Everyone helps out in the team and it's really good. Sometimes I'll say [to Cortese or Kent] 'Take me out for a few laps!' and they'll say 'No problem', so that's helped with learning some of the new tracks.
And finally, what do you think about life in the paddock?
I love it here! When I go back home, that's when it gets boring!