María Herrera has entered the MotoE as the only female rider in the electric category. At the start of the season, the Spanish has had to overcome several obstacles such as a compartment syndrome operation on her right arm. However, she is not intimidated and was up to the task in the first two big prizes of the harvest.
In an interview with Trek, the American bicycle firm of which she is an ambassador, Herrera revealed how she faces the path of electric motorcycling in a world dominated by men.
“I have noticed that they did not see me so much as a pilot, but as a marketing hook for being a girl. I’m a good pilot and I’m showing it, but that has slowed me down a lot,” she said.
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“If they gave me more opportunity, like this year I think I have, I would still get better results. My professional dream is to be a world champion, and I will not go to my grave without being one. From whatever it is, whether it be bike or ski, where I have also won. But currently on a motorcycle, of course,” said the Spaniard.
She assures that the mental aspect has been key to staying at the highest sports level. It’s very important. I work with a sports psychologist, since there are many moments of ups and downs, injuries and the level is very even.”
“The little details are what make you be up or down. If you are mentally strong, you can stay much more regular, which is what the championship rewards. Mental strength and being accompanied by my family is essential for me. You have to surround yourself with people who support you also in bad times,” she added.
Obstacles on the way
In addition to the difficulties of being a woman trying to break into motorcycling, Herrera also recalled difficult moments in her career.
“The hardest was when she was winning in the Spanish Speed Championship (Campeonato de España de Velocidad, CEV) against Fabio Quartararo, who is now in MotoGP, and she was going to jump to the World Championship. Because I crashed in the last race, they did not make me a contract, even though they had promised me. And I was second in the championship. There I thought: ‘they never value me.’ I saw that women were held back and I had to fight with the fact that I had little material and it was difficult for me to get a good team to be able to win,” she said.
“It has cost me a lot. I have beaten riders who are at the top like Fabio Quartararo, Álex Márquez and Álex Rins, and I feel powerless because I know I have the weapons and the talent to be in MotoGP, but they haven’t let me show it,” she commented.
Despite the adversities, the Spanish does not stop on her way to achieve the goals that she has set for herself, and she undergoes a hard training that takes her to the top. “Currently I have hypertrophy to gain a little muscle mass, since I needed more weight for MotoE. We also do a lot of high intensity exercise in a very short time so that during the race the heart rate does not skyrocket.”
She explained that working on a bicycle has also been an important aspect in preparing for it. “I train cycling three times a week to define a little. Now we are doing series, both on the road with the Domane and in the mountains with the Top Fuel, to go from 120 to 180 beats per minute.”
“I like when they send me a bike training, because it clears me up and I enjoy with my friends in the group. They call me the queen of the horses, because I am always doing them in the mountains, combining balance and concentration,” said Herrera.
She stressed that perseverance and the desire to win are the virtues that characterize her to shine on the slopes. “I am very disciplined. I have always relied on discipline and work, which is what has given me the weapons to win and be at the best level.”
“I am very competitive and I always want to win, even if I go bowling. But in my daily life I take it a little less seriously, because I am already very focused on my career as a pilot and I need to clear my mind and put the pressure aside,” she concluded.
The 2021 MotoE season, sponsored by Enel, returns next weekend on June 26 with the Ducth Grand Prix in the Netherlands.
Written by I Jhonattan González