Eight-time overall FIS World Cup ski champion Marcel Hirscher switched two skis for two wheels to make his motorcycle debut at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
Riding a 300-brake horsepower KTM RC 16 factory machine, the slalom king mastered the machinery on tarmac rather than the snow surface he is most accustomed to.
Gustl Auinnger, former world championship motor bike racer turned instructor, gave Marcel Hirscher the idea to ride Moto2 machine into the Red Bull Ring. Audinger said: “These are two completely different worlds. Marcel has never made a turn with his knee on the asphalt. No one can just sit on a MotoGP bike and ride a bit.” He also added, “He is gifted, ambitious and very intelligent. That’s a good mix. The most important thing is mutual trust and the knowledge that you can rely on each other.”
For Marcel Hirscher, the ride out was the realisation of a long dream. He says: “Others have the desire to sit in a Formula 1 car but, for me, that was definitely MotoGP.I am one of the few on the planet who are allowed to ride such a motorcycle.”
The Austrian, who has won a record eight overall World Cup titles since 2012, was given the bike of Johann Zarco, 2015 and 2016 Moto2 World Champion, and admitted the pair were looking into a sporting swap in the winter months. Zarco said: “We talked about showing me skiing. I think I’m better at skiing than he is on the bike but we’ll have to find out next winter! We’re looking forward to the result.”