“It Is A Long Term Goal – To Win”
Talking to Dr. Markus Braunsperger, CTO Hero MotoCorp Ltd and head of Hero MotoSports
Why the Dakar?
Dakar is the cherry on the cake, the flagship rally. We have done other two-wheeler rallies already. Rally racing is the most challenging according to us. Here, in Dakar, we do not talk about 2-3 days, but 2 weeks; 1000km in the toughest conditions. We get to focus a lot on the robustness, reliability and testing the technology. It also speaks a lot about the brand, Hero. And Dakar is the proving ground for R&D. It was always the first logical step.
For the rookie year, we have three events: Morocco Rally, another qualifier rally in Morocco and the Dakar next January. In 2017, Hero will participate in events globally as well as in India.
No circuit racing for Hero?
We are yet to take a decision. Currently our focus is only on rally racing. This is not a hasty journey that we decide about today and start tomorrow. It takes a lot of time and effort, so the concentration is on Dakar only. Also, it shall get the enthusiasts around the country excited about the sport, in India.
Your opinion on C S Santosh?
Firstly, we are extremely lucky to have him on board! It's a win-win situation for the team. As we all know, he's a sport icon in India. For the first time in his career he'll be getting full factory support. He finally has the opportunity to leverage his capabilities. It's not just a one year journey, but a long term plan.
If we did not have C S, we could've looked at other options, but it's good timing.
Will technical development happen in India at the new R&D facility?
The main facility is in Munich, where the team is based. The bike will be developed, engaged with the Indian team and depending on the evolution of the bike, we shall move forward. The base is good, the best combination we could've ever asked for.
The Indian R&D setup is still a startup and we are constantly hiring. The journey has just begun and we shall get more people on board soon.
Will there be similar road bikes?
For sure. That’s the purpose of the rally, to sell the vehicles. The sport is good for our profile. It will better the engineering facilities, it’s an overall engagement. It will contribute to the product, component development, testing and layout for future bikes.
Lot of sporty bikes from Hero expected then?
I have to disappoint you. For sure we do work in this direction, no doubt.
Will the Impulse get a new lease of life?
I personally appreciate the capability that the Impulse has. Frankly speaking as a company we could have further explored the bike, but the Impulse gives us a good basis from which we can develop further, no doubt about that.
Plans for Indian rallying this year?
No. Not possible. The schedule is packed for this year and the Raid-deHimalaya clashes with the Morocco qualifying rally in October. But we do look into next year’s calendar for participation in national events.
What is your long term goal?
As a racer if you get into professional motorsport as a factory team there is one goal and it is a long term goal – to win. No doubt about this. It is a long race. We need dedication, the right partnership and long term engagement and we do have it. ⌧