Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team has set very high goals for the new season of Supersport World Championship, as 2017 Champion Lucas Mahias has been joined by strong German rider Philipp Öttl (plus Can Öncü, in collaboration with Orelac Racing VerdNatura Team).
Born in 1996, Philipp Öttl experienced tough 2019 season in Moto2, a class where he couldn’t go further than an 18th place with Red Bull KTM Tech 3 Team. However, the young German rider had proven his good skills previously, first in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and then in Moto3 World Championship. Öttl spent six seasons in Moto3 and during the last one, in 2018, he scored an amazing victory at Jerez. Now, the rider from Bad Reichenhall has got a huge opportunity by Puccetti Racing Team, with whom he’ll try to come back to the front positions.
Last January, Philipp Öttl (son of former World Championship rider Peter) was at Motor Bike Expo for the Italian team’s launch. There, Palmen in Motorradsport had the chance to interview him about 2020, his time in the MotoGP paddock and his win at 2018 Jerez GP.
Philipp, a new chapter of your career is starting. How does it feel?
It feels great. It’s always a huge boost for motivation to join a different paddock and a different championship. Everything is new for me and the tests have been very positive so far. I’m feeling good on the bike and the team is working very hard to be in the front. We have a great package. I think we can score great results.
What’s your goal for 2020?
It’s quite hard to set one now. There are many strong riders, including people coming from Moto2 like me, and the level of the championship is even higher than in the past few years. Moreover, there are several venues I will see for the first time, like Imola and Donington, and I don’t know how good I will perform on those circuits. Anyway, I hope to be in the highest part of the classification.
What are the main differences between Moto2 and Supersport?
First of all, the Pirelli tyres are softer and easier to understand than Dunlop tyres. Secondly, the braking of a Moto2 bike is very strong and the chassis is stiffer, compared to Supersport. More specifically, the Kawasaki I’m riding now turns much better than the KTM I used last year. I’ve immediately felt very good and in Jerez I was a bit faster than in Moto2. It’s incredible how a 600cc bike, which has 10 years of age, can be as competitive as a Moto2…
Can you talk about 2019?
It was a very difficult year. We struggled a lot with the bike and it was very hard to understand a tight class like Moto2. For me, one season is not enough. In any case, although 2019 season was one to forget, I’ve learnt a lot. Right in that moment it hurts to have a negative season, but then you realize that the lessons you have learnt can be very useful for the future.
And what about the last seasons you spent in Moto3?
Unfortunately I had two injuries, that pushed me behind in the field. In 2018 I scored my first World Championship win in Jerez and I was feeling very good with the bike. However, since then everything stopped working, because of some mistakes made by me and also by the team. Things were not right and so I couldn’t achieve the results I aimed for (after Jerez, he ended 8th twice and scored few more point finishes, ed). Everything must be perfect in a world championship: if you’re 100% you can fight to win, otherwise it’s impossible, even if you’re 99%…
Had you ever thought of moving to World Supersport, before being called by Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team?
Halfway through 2019 season, I thought that switching to World Supersport was the best solution for me. I needed to change: the results were bad and the MotoGP paddock is kind of “strange”. It’s not about pressure, since you can feel it everywhere…I just needed to change!
For what I’ve seen so far, the World Superbike environment is much different from MotoGP and I really like my new team and all the rest.
In conclusion, let’s talk about your win at 2018 Jerez GP.
It was fantastic. I had already scored some victories in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup (where he raced from 2010 to 2012, ed), but nothing compares to winning a world championship race. It was very hard, but during the race I had the feeling that no one could beat me. Since the beginning, I pushed very hard and I wanted to be in first position, because I knew that few riders could keep my pace. During the last few laps, it was a fight between just me and another rider (Marco Bezzecchi, ed) and in the end I managed to win. As I said, the first World Championship victory is something fantastic…I hope to live this kind of moments again soon!
Palmen in Motorradsport is grateful to Philipp Öttl for his kindness and wishes him and Kawasaki Puccetti Racing Team a successful season.