Andy Verdoïa is not yet making the headlines in the newspapers but the Niçois, who is not yet 20 years old, has shown an unfailing determination since a very young age which could well allow him to achieve his goal of racing in Grand Prix one day. Price…
For this, the current teammate of Jules Cluzel within the GMT94 did not hesitate to move very young to Spain, then later to Italy, in order to gain experience which also includes a full season in the 300 world championship and a first year in World Supersport marked by a first victory.
The Yamaha rider explains his somewhat atypical journey to us…
Andy Verdoia “I wanted to start motorcycling at the age of four and a half when I saw the races my parents watched on television. I’ve always been hyperactive but it was the only time when I was a bit calm and held my ground (laughs). So I started on a PW, and inThen, at the age of eight, I did my first French championship in 50cc. I was able to do the whole championship, and at the same time, the Spanish championship in parallel. Then I did all the categories in Spain in 70cc, 80cc, Spanish champion in Moto4… »
Did you move every time you lived there?
” I was going to Spain at first, until I was 13, then I asked my parents if I could go and live in Spain. So I went to live in Valence because there is a flight school in which I could train properly. So I stayed there full time for two years to do the pre-Moto3 and then the Junior World Championship in Moto3. Then, unfortunately, I had to come back because the person I was staying with could no longer take care of me. So I found myself on foot but thanks to Éric de Seynes I was able to make three wildcards in the 300 world championship. I was 15 but that went pretty well. The following year, through the bLU cRU, I was selected to take part in the 300 world championship: I finished fourth, first bLU cRU and first Yamaha. So it was rather a good season and that’s what led to going up to 600. There, it was quite complicated because it’s not at all the same riding and I was only 17 years old. With Éric de Seynes, we therefore decided to go to Italy to do the national championship which had a very high level and Pirelli tires like in the world championship. Despite a few glitches that shouldn’t have happened, I finished sixth in the championship and I had the chance to make a wild card in the world championship at Magny-Cours with the GMT94. It went rather well and, with Christophe Guyot, we decided to also race in Barcelona. Unfortunately, that ended very quickly and with a few fractures, because a pilot found himself without brakes in race 1 and hit me at 200 km/h. So I couldn’t do the third wild card planned for Jerez, but in 2022 I’m doing the full season with Christophe Guyot’s GMT94. »
Can you give an initial assessment of the start of the season?
” The regulations don’t help us and it’s not the easiest season. So, we give ourselves to the maximum, whether it’s the team or me. We are constantly handicapped with this weight story, since light riders have to put ballast on the bike, and in terms of settings, steering and tire wear, that changes everything. We are very handicapped against the larger displacement motorcycles but we will see how the rest of the season goes. What is certain is that the results at the start of the season were not what we had hoped for, whether for the team or the drivers. But we work hard to get there (laughs). »
Only Yamaha wins…
” Sure. Right now, it’s Dominique Aegerter. He weighs almost 10 kg more than us, and even more, because we gained weight on purpose to try to overcome this problem. But at some point, we have templates that are made like that and you can’t gain 10 kilos from one season to another: it’s not possible and in my opinion it’s not a natural template for pilot to be 70 kg. If we do them, that’s how it is, but in general a pilot weighs between 60 and 65 kilos, no more. The riders therefore have lighter motorcycles than us, and we end up with a motorcycle that weighs as much as a Superbike, but not with the same power. Heavy riders can play a lot with their body in all riding phases, while for us the weight is more concentrated on the bike. Suddenly, they use the weight, for example in acceleration where they put all their weight back and have less tire wear and more grip. »
How do you see the future?
” We are already going to concentrate on the races to come, because we have to improve all that. I hope the rules will help us, but in any case we give it our all. The important thing is not to give up and to stay mentally strong.
Then, why not go to Moto2, and we talked about it with Éric de Seynes, especially since Yamaha now has a team there, but you have to get results in Supersport first. So we focus on the championship, race by race. »
We know that your relationship with Éric de Seynes is very good: Do you know what attracted him to you?
” Honestly, I do not know. We have always had an exceptional agreement from the start, but that has never been made explicit. It’s great that someone like Eric de Seynes can help a young driver like me and it’s really thanks to him, and thanks to my parents, that I’m where I am. Now he has taken over and he is helping me as much as possible so that I can achieve my goal, which is to go to MotoGP. But for the moment, we are in Supersport and the important thing is to get results there, so I thank him very much for allowing me to get where I am. »
Since this interview, Andy Verdoia got his best result of the season with an eighth place finish at Donington Park.
Photo credit: GMT94/WJ/Gee Bee Images