The name ‘Maria Herrera’ generated a few headlines on 26th May. Unknown to the majority of fans, she surprised many by winning the CEV Moto3 race at MotorLand Aragon– becoming the first woman ever to achieve the feat.
This weekend, Maria Herrera Motorcycle Racer Takes Wild Card at MotoGP Spain making her début in the World Championship. The world of motorcycle racing has never been unfamiliar to Maria Herrera. At home in Talavera de la Reina, her childhood very much involved plenty of tyres and race fuel. Father Antonio was a rider himself and in fact continues to be as he competes in the Kawasaki Z Cup, allowing both father and daughter to share their passion. Furthermore, as he first ventured into racing, Antonio came across several names including no less than that of Alvaro Bautista.
“MotorLand is a circuit like any other, but it just suits my riding style. I’m a rider who very much enjoys fast corners; I have a lot of confidence with them and this circuit is long and really suits my style. I had a good rhythm there in testing and the race treated me well. Since taking that victory, I thought I could be up at the front more and fight to put in good times, work even harder and grow as a rider for the future” expressed Maria.
“I have always known Alvaro; he is a friend and a World Championship rider and he’s given me lots of advice and helps me a lot. Ever since I was born we had bikes at home. My father had always raced, so I ended up riding from a very young age and quickly found that I liked it. He never actually told me to ride – I was the one doing the riding and he never put pressure on me to do it – and that made me mature and enjoy even more what I was doing with the motorcycle.”
Maria’s progress in the current CEV Moto3 season would appear to be unstoppable. This past weekend she raised eyebrows once again thanks to a convincing victory in Navarra – a victory which did nothing but confirm that the Aragon win earlier in the season was not just a flash in the pan.
This weekend, Maria’s career takes another step up the ladder with her debut in the Moto3 World Championship as a wildcard. Nobody is under any illusions, though: it’s all about learning, improving race by race and garnering as much experience as early as possible – improving on the last race in Aragon, if you like. But, whatever happens, it is certainly set to be a memorable weekend in the life of Maria Herrera.
“It’s the World Championship. Obviously I am a bit nervous, but I intend to take it easy, learn from the others and gain experience. There is no real pressure, so you can just enjoy it and learn what you can from the quick riders if you get the chance. They are very fast and have already completed 12 races this year, so they’ve got plenty of mileage under their belts and have a good rhythm going. I am just going to turn up and take things calmly. I want to achieve the times I have done before or quicker if possible, as back in our CEV Moto3 race it went very well for me, so it would just be good if I’m able to improve on my best lap time from before”, she adds.
With both Maria and Ana Carrasco competing in Moto3 this weekend, two female riders will be on the grid – that’ll be the first time that’s happened since 1994.
*source MotoGP press release