Italian version here.
2023 Supersport 300 World Championship started with high expectations for several riders and one of them is Lennox Lehmann. The German rider, who was national champion in both 2020 and 2021, had lived a rather positive first year in WorldSSP300 with three podiums, several top 10 finishes and a ninth place finish, so the current season was likely to bring him to the top of the standings.
However, 2023 has instead proved to be more difficult than expected for Lehmann. In the first four rounds of the season in Assen, Barcelona, Misano and Imola, the 17-year-old from Dresden had to deal with several crashes, caused either by his own mistake or by other riders, and several issues and this kept him further and further away from the fight for the title. There was already a small fresh start at Imola, as he finished Race 2 in fifth position, but Lehmann definitively redeemed himself at Most by taking his first victory in the Supersport 300 World Championship in Race 1, after making no mistakes with slick tires on a half dry and half wet track. It doesn’t matter that in Race 2 he struggled in the wet: for sure, he is back…
Palmen in Motorradsport had the opportunity to interview Lennox Lehmann to talk about the 2023 season so far and also about his future.
Lennox, after your victory in Race 1, can we say that you are back?
Yes, and now I hope to continue on this path. The weekend was positive overall, because I was fast right from free practice on the dry track and then in Race 1 I won after running for most of the laps on a half dry and half wet track with slick tyres, without changing tyres (as many other riders did, ed). Right now I feel great with the bike in dry conditions and we are working to improve the feeling in the wet, since before Race 2 at Most (finished in 22nd position, ed) I had never ridden in those conditions with the KTM. In any case, I’m delighted with my victory, because I redeemed myself after a complicated start.
Could you explain the difficulties you faced in the first part of the season?
For this year we have a harder tyre compound on the rear and at the beginning I had no good feeling with it. I didn’t feel any grip and this led me to several high-sides during the season, and if we count also some technical problems and crashes caused by other riders, I lost many opportunities to score important points. However, the Freudenberg KTM-Paligo Racing Team has always done a great job to help me and step by step we are seeing the results.
After starting with the aim of becoming World Champion, how did you deal with the disappointment you experienced in the first rounds of the season?
I’ve always believed I am fast, because I was often among the fastest guys in the practice sessions. We just had a lot of bad luck, but I never lost motivation and kept giving my best on the track and in training to regain my confidence.
At this point, what is your goal for the next races?
To be honest, I don’t have high expectations, because the goal was to fight for the title and clearly, that’s no longer possible. In the remaining races I want to be always in the leading group, in top 10 and maybe even in the top 5, and I would like to score some more podium finishes. In general, I want to have fun and be competitive.
In addition to the Supersport 300 World Championship, you continue to race in the IDM. How is it going there?
The season is going quite well. My main goal in the IDM is simply to ride and try new solutions for the WorldSSP300 races. Also, I’m happy to help my teammates who run there regularly, so that they collect as many points as possible.
In conclusion, what’s your goal for the future?
I want to move to either the Supersport World Championship or the Moto2, also in the European Championship, and I hope to be strong there as well. One of the reasons is the weight: in a category like Supersport 300, it’s important to be as light as possible and this implies enormous sacrifices especially for the diet you follow during the year. On the other hand, with bigger and more powerful motorbikes, you don’t have to care too much about it. So yes, I want to move to step up and show my talent also in higher categories.
So you are also open to a future in the MotoGP paddock.
Exactly. Just look at Manuel González: he arrived in Moto2 after a great 2021 campaign in World Supersport and after some races, he adapted to the category and started to score great result there as well. This confirms that it’s possible, and I want to make it too.
Palmen in Motorradsport thanks Lennox Lehmann for his availability and wishes him the best for the upcoming races of the IDM and WorldSSP300 championships, as well as for his future.