An interview with Steven Odendaal: “I hope to win races in WorldSSP!”

Steven Odendaal
From the left: Gerrit Ten Kate (Ten Kate Racing Team Owner), Steven Odendaal, Ferry Schoenmakers (EAB Racing) and Kervin Bos (en Kate Racing Team Manager).

For 2020 season World Supersport will welcome many new riders on its field. One of them is Steven Odendaal, who’s ready to get back in the game after some hard times.

After a tough season and a half in Moto2 World Championship with NTS RW Racing GP (from which he parted ways after Silverstone GP), Odendaal will switch to WorldSSP thanks to EAB Ten Kate Racing. The 26-year-old from Johannesburg will represent the famous squad based in the Netherlands and, furthermore, he will ride a Yamaha R6, the strongest bike on the field since 2017. Together with the speed of Steven, who was Moto2 European Champion in 2016, all this should help the South African in rising again and coming back to the front positions.

Of course Steven Odendaal is very motivated for this new adventure and you can see it also in the interview done with Palmen in Motorradsport and MemasGP. Read his thoughts.

 

 

Steven, what do you expect from your move to World Supersport?

The move to World Supersport will be a very interesting one. I believe that I can be very competitive and my goal will be to win races in the 2020 season. The category has very strong competitors and to add to that, five new Moto2 riders will be on the grid next year. To win Supersport races will be a big challenge, but I believe I can do it.

 

How does it feel to be part of such an important, historic team like Ten Kate Racing?

It’s a fantastic feeling to be a part of such a prestigious team. They know how to win championships and so do I. I think it will be a match made in heaven and I feel honoured that they have chosen me to represent them.

Back to your recent past, how do you evaluate your 2019 season?

It has been a very difficult season. I believe I was in good shape, but unfortunately between myself and the team they couldn’t find a setting to give me confidence on my machinery, in order to achieve better results.

 

Steven Odendaal
Steven during 2019 season. Credit: Racesport.nl.

 

For sure, one of the most spectacular moments from the last few years is the save you performed in Brno. Can you tell about how you felt in that moment?

It felt amazing…Normally when you are in a position like I was, you know that when you hit the ground it will be very painful. However, at one point I noticed that I could save this highside and it was such a relief to me and my body. The media exposure was incredible. Getting interviewed by CNN sports  and being on the news across the world was also cool. A total of 54 million people saw the save on Facebook.

 

How did you feel when you became Moto2 European Champion in 2016? Can you tell about that season?

The feeling of winning the Moto2 European championship was unbelievable. It was one of the best feelings I have ever felt. The season was a difficult one, but everything seemed to work in my favor. I felt extremely comfortable on the bike and the team gave me a winning package. it wasn’t all easy sailing, as in the 3rd round I had a DNF due to a flat tyre. We kept our heads up strong and followed though, which helped me claim the title.

 

Before this year, had you ever considered a move to World Supersport or Superbike? How close did you follow these series?

Yes, I was very interested in moving to the World Supersport before, but instead I decided to keep following the MotoGP track and trying to make a breakthrough. When I was younger, I used to watch the SBK more than the MotoGP. I follow motorcycle racing, as it is my dream, and I watch every single race throughout all the classes.

 

Who is your favourite rider? Why?

Valentino Rossi, as he is such a legend with so many incredible achievements behind his name. I love how sympathetic, spontaneous and approachable he is and also what he has done for the sport.  Marc Márquez is also one of my favorite riders, as he makes the impossible seem possible.

 

When, where and how did you fall in love with motorcycle racing?

My father was practicing at a circuit called Midvaal, in South Africa, where they had bikes to test for young kids. From the moment I tried my very first bike, at the age of 10 years old, I fell in love with it.

 

How important is motorcycle racing in South Africa?

It is not a very big sport in South Africa, which is really sad as we have produced some of the best talented riders. I believe that if we had more support in developing young riders, we could grow this sport.

 

You boast three seasons in Moto2 World Championship (2013, 2018 and 2019) and an European title. If you look back at what you have achieved so far, did you expect to reach such a high level?

It is very impressive but with that comes a lot of hard work. Countless days at the circuit, endless amounts of training sessions and a lot of physical/core training off the bike. I haven’t reached my goal yet, so I will keep pushing on. Strong mind plus strong will equals success. Effort equals reward!!

 

Steven Odendaal
Steven in 2016. Credit: HJC Helmet.

 

In conclusion, what’s your goal for 2020?

My ultimate goal for 2020 would be to win the World Supersport championship. All I can say is I’m ready to give it my best. With a good team and support, this could become a reality.

 

Palmen in Motorradsport and MemasGP are thankful to Steven Odendaal for his kindness and they wish him the real best for this new adventure.

Precedente Parla Steven Odendaal: "Pronto per la Supersport. Punto a vincere gare!" Successivo Leonardo Carnevali: "Felicissimo di debuttare nel WorldSSP300"