After being a race winner and podium finisher in Supersport 300 World Championship in end of 2017 to 2019, Galang Hendra Pratama started a new journey on the 600cc that proved to be more complicated than expected. After collecting few point-finishes in the Supersport World Championship in 2020 (with Yamaha MS Racing) and 2021 (with Ten Kate Racing), the Indonesian rider returned to Asia Road Racing Championship, also in Supersport, and so far he has collected several top-10 results.
This year, besides racing in Asia, Pratama suddenly got the opportunity to return to WorldSSP300. In fact, since the Barcelona round, the Sublime by MS Racing team gave to “GHP99” one of their Yamaha machines and therefore the Indonesian star returned to the series where he already shone bright in the past. The start was difficult and even a bit unfortunate (in Most, for example, he had to retire due to a technical problem while leading Race 2), but Pratama remains confident and motivated about his comeback to WorldSSP300 .
Palmen in Motorradsport had the opportunity to interview Galang Hendra Pratama to talk about this season and his goals for the future.
Galang, this year you returned to the Supersport 300 World Championship after a few years between WorldSSP and ARRC. How is it going?
It’s going fine. I am happy to be here again and first of all I want to thank the MS Racing team and Félix Garrido for the opportunity. Regarding the races, I was surprised, because while in 2019 I was comfortably in the top positions, this year the level is so high that I’m struggling much more. Already on my return to this championship in Barcelona, I saw how easily we can see a front group including up to 20 riders. Little by little we are improving our performance and my feeling with the bike and the slick tyres, so I am looking forward to the next races. I am still riding the 600cc in ARRC, but I’m really happy to compete in WorldSSP300 again.
How was your re-adaptation to Supersport 300 after a few seasons on a 600cc?
It wasn’t easy to change my riding style, but this year in Indonesia I raced with the AP250 (in Mandalika as a side event to WorldSBK, ed) and I was quite fast. That category is very similar to the 300, so I realized that the basics are still there and I haven’t completely forgotten how to ride the Yamaha R3.
What are your goals for the next races in this season?
I am thirsty for podiums. I had really difficult moments in the Supersport World Championship, since I was unable to get results despite the great efforts of myself and of the teams I raced for, so I’m eager to be fighting for top positions again. But that’s not enough: I want the podium both in the Supersport 300 World Championship and in Asia.
And for your future?
I want to become World Champion. Every night I dream of making it happen and I hope that this dream will come true, maybe already in 2024.
How is the season going instead in ARRC Supersport, where you’ve been racing since 2022?
At first I struggled, especially because I switched from Pirelli to Dunlop and the difference is huge. This year I’ve improved a lot compared to the first year and now I am regularly chasing top-5 finishes.
What are your plans for next year and for the future?
In 2024 I would like to stay in the Supersport 300 World Championship and in the WorldSBK paddock, where I have always felt like home. I hope to have good news in the upcoming months.
In conclusion, what do you tell about your relationship with your brother Aldi Satya Mahendra, who is doing well in the European Yamaha R3 Cup and also won Race 2 at Most?
We still live with our parents and this makes it natural that we train together every day. In the morning we go cycling and to the gym, while in the afternoon we train with the Yamaha R3. There is a strong relationship between me and my brother and I hope that we can be at the front together in WorldSSP300.
And what’s your main piece of advice for him, based on your experience?
Stay humble, without acting like a star. Having too much self-confidence can backfire, so I told him the best thing to do is focus on yourself and work hard towards your goals. I think this is the most important thing.
Palmen in Motorradsport thanks Galang Hendra Pratama for his availability and wishes him the best for the continuation of the season between the Supersport 300 World Championship and the ARRC Supersport 600.