“It Is A Long Term Goal – To Win”

Talk­ing to Dr. Markus Braun­sperger, CTO Hero Mo­toCorp Ltd and head of Hero Mo­toS­ports

Evo India - - MOTOR SPORT -

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. ⌧

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