Italian version here.
Behind the previews, interviews and social media contents of Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup (single-brand series promoted by KTM and Red Bull, joining MotoGP World Championship in a number of European rounds), we find a young girl from Slovakia, who has managed to combine her passion for motorcycles and her passion for communication in an intense, but fulfilling job in one of the main motorsport series all over the world.
Her name is Dominika Grnova, and Palmen in Motorradsport decided to interview her to know more about her story.
Hi Dominika! First of all, would you briefly describe your role?
I am Dominika Grnova, or Dominika Rides on social media, and I’m a TV host, reporter and content creator for Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. I’m also a brand ambassador of HJC Helmets, Quad Lock, Cardo Systems Intercom and Ducati Scrambler.
When did you manage to join the MotoGP paddock?
My first season working for Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup was in 2020. I’m proudly into my fourth season working in the MotoGP paddock.
What are your memories about the very beginning of this journey?
For sure it wasn’t easy, as I was coming from a different background and it was a completely new environment for me. I had many things to learn in a short amount of time but with lots of passion, excitement and curiosity, I managed to be welcome to the MotoGP world. I felt instantly comfortable and I never stopped learning and improving.
My first important interview was with Johann Zarco, ex-Rookie & current MotoGP racer. I had no idea about who he was, so the night before the morning interview I was on my PC until like 3AM to learn all about him, so I could prepare the correct questions for the interview. The next morning, I was practicing the questions in the car with my producer and I was super nervous. But, actually, during the interview, I ended up chatting so much with Zarco that we got a fantastic interview and I became friends with him.
What was my conclusion? Preparation is the key and don’t get stressed. But that’s something you learn with practice and time.
Going further back in time, could you share how you got to fall in love with motorcycle racing?
Well, I always dreamed of riding motorcycles, but unfortunately in my family it was forbidden specifically because I am a girl. My parents wouldn’t allow me to ride a motorcycle or take me to a riding school. Then, my love for two wheels felt like a dream that would never become reality. However, I learnt that you should never say never, because at the age of 27, living in London and being fed up with public transport, I finally decided to make my dream reality. I did my driving license, bought my Ducati Scrambler and started to ride to work, ride for fun, ride 24/7. After few months I got invited by ITV4 to participate in a flat track race/event called Dirtquake. I managed to finish second with basically zero experience in flat track or riding in the dirt. That’s how my racing journey and my love and appreciation for racing started.
So you managed to become a motorcycle rider.
I use my motorcycle for commuting, for fun and for creating breathtaking adventures and unforgettable memories. Motorcycles are a huge part of my life and, actually, the real joy in my life. I can’t imagine myself not being able to ride, and it was demanding when during the last five months I wasn’t able to ride, following a full reconstruction surgery on my right shoulder after an unfortunate enduro crash. Those five months were probably the most miserable months of my life. Luckily, I’ve recovered well and I’m finally back, riding motorcycles.
Your background is quite rich in variety, mixing Slovakia, Greece and the UK. Could you tell us more about it?
I was born in Slovakia, my parents are Slovakian and when I was 6 years old my family decided to move to Greece, so I do feel Greek in my heart and soul. From 2004 I’ve been travelling all around the world for my job as model and I lived one year in New York, two years in Tokyo, a few months in the most famous European cities such as Milan, Paris, Madrid etc. and in the last seven years I lived in London. Now I’m based back in Athens, in Greece, but still travel a lot for work.
Going back to your job in MotoGP, what are the aspects that you enjoy the most?
I enjoy so much working with our Red Bull Rookies Team because we are a family. It’s a real dream team, our mechanics have been there since the beginning and they are so passionate and dedicated to this project, like the whole Red Bull Crew. Every race weekend, besides working together, they are also teaching me something new. For example, with them I recently learned how to change the rear tyre on our race bike, the KTM RC250R, and we have such an amazing relationship all together.
Working with our athletes is also something special. They are the fastest teenagers on the planet, but they are also the funniest and most incredible boys I know, also teaching me something new in every race weekend. Everyone has a unique character and I love to see them progressing and performing so well in their future steps. Like Pedro Acosta, who was 2020 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion and after that he moved into Moto3 to immediately become World Champion, and now he is doing well also in Moto2. He always comes to the Rookies tent to say hi, like most of our ex-riders, and that makes it so special.
We are a family in the paddock. Even though it’s a race and competition, when not racing we are all together having fun, playing games, filming and creating fun projects. Before our winter break, in our last race weekend, everyone knows me so well and they always say to me “Dom, don’t cry!”. I do get very emotional and grateful for the incredible season we all had together and I am always looking forward to the next one.
Is there any funny episode you would like to share?
Yes! In my second season, at the first race weekend, I was filming a fun outfit transition video with Dani Holgado (now racing in Moto3 World Championship, ed) and the idea was that he would jump on his chair wearing normal clothes and then magically, when he landed on the chair, the outfit would change into his race leathers.
Well, we managed to film it but when Dani jumped on the KTM chair, he broke it with a huge noise and all the other Rookies were watching us. You can imagine what happened in the tent…We couldn’t stop laughing! Then, I had to go and tell my boss that we broke the chair while filming an Instagram video! Luckily we had a spare chair for Dani, so it ended well.
At the beginning, did you expect to make it to where you are?
Yes and no. Don’t we all say “Dream big” and “Work hard”? Well, I did dream big, but I guess I would never imagine to become so established and well-known in the paddock. When your passion becomes your job, that’s a dream come true and I’m extremely grateful and happy to have a job I adore.
In conclusion, what is your ultimate goal regarding your career as motorsport reporter?
Ultimate goal? Difficult to say, as I’m always taking it step by step and I’m open to new opportunities.
For example, I would love in the future to have my own TV show, inspired by the series “Top Gear”, but of course about motorcycles. I would then have racers and people from the motorcycle community as guests, play games and share moto-adventures, activities and of course interviews. It’s so interesting to get to know them, their passion, their sacrifices, the failures they had to experience and their hard work and dedication to become so successful.
I love communicating with people and talking about two wheels. To have my own show where I talk and ride motorcycles seems to be something I would enjoy so much. On the other side, I also enjoy so much to be a content creator, so I can travel around the world and ride motorcycles in different occasions.
A combination of me working as a reporter and as a content creator is something that I am very happy with at the moment, so who knows where will it take me! Meanwhile, I will just continue to follow my heart and take opportunities that make me feel creative and excited, while sharing the insights from our race weekends with my audience and spreading the love for two wheels.
Palmen in Motorradsport ringrazia Dominika per la grande gentilezza e disponibilità e le augura il meglio per i suoi impegni professionali e non solo.