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Kris rides with King Casey

Off and racing: Leongatha’s Kris McLaren in action during the qualifying sessions for the Australian MotoGP on Phillip Island on Saturday.

KRIS McLaren of Leongatha stepped onto the world stage at Phillip Island on the weekend racing with the newly crowned 2012 Australian MotoGP champion Casey Stoner.

Two time world champion Honda rider Stoner was joined on the Air-Asia Australian MotoGP grid by Kris McLaren who received a late call up.

McLaren made his MotoGP debut riding for the Avintia Blusens team on the CRT bike that is regularly ridden by Yonny Hernandez.

The injured Columbian dislocated his left collarbone at the Motegi recently, opening the door for McLaren to make an unexpected debut.

After receiving a wildcard entry in the Moto2 class last year, McLaren has spent 2012 in the Spanish CEV Moto2 class, scoring a podium finish at Jerez recently and last year rode in the Grand Prix of Australia as a wildcard in Moto2™.

McLaren had only been back home with his mum and dad Pam and Craig for two months after racing in Spain, and said it was “mind blowing” being called up the Tuesday before the weekend to race in the MotoGP.

He was thankful he had put in a good deal of training and had built up some muscle, going from 70 to 74 kilograms and felt in top form.

“I felt good and was right to go, racing in Spain has made all the difference,” McLaren said.

“I am comfortable with the Phillip Island track and really happy with the surface,” he said.

A huge step up for McLaren, he had his first ride on the powerful MotoGP bike on Friday for the practice sessions alongside the likes of Stoner, 2012 MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa  and Valentino Rossi.

Asked how he felt after his Friday stint on the track and McLaren said, “It was terrifying but it was just awesome to get the call up.”

It is a mega leap for me but it’s a great opportunity given to me by the Avintia Blusens team and I want to use it well,” he said.

“I know it will be very difficult to be at the level of such experienced riders and my first objective is to adapt to the bike and progress slowly.

“This bike has so much more power than the bikes I have been racing on in Spain, and hitting speeds of 316 kilometres at the end of the straight does take some getting used to.”

As for how he felt riding on the same track with the best in the world in front of record crowds with some 122,470 attending this annual three day event,  McLaren said he just wasn’t thinking about who he was on the track with.

“I actually got to meet some of the MotoGP riders and a few of them I got to speak with,” McLaren said.

“Colin Edwards (USA)  was just awesome and was very encouraging, in fact all the riders I got to speak to were just fabulous,” he said.

Talking to The Star on Saturday before qualifying sessions, McLaren said his dream would be to make the poll for Sunday’s AirAsia Australian MotoGP.

“I would be happy just to make the poll but would like to help the team all I can to develop their bike and get the best out of it,” he said.

“Everyone in the Avintia Blusens team has been fantastic, they are all very supportive.  I just have to get the bike to work right for me.”

It was a weekend of thrills and spills as McLaren experienced when he had a fall just prior to Stoner, leaving him battered and bruised and with some minor injuries. But like Stoner he jumped straight back on the bike.

The crowds cheered the newcomer back to the track on Saturday and there was a lot of commentary on McLaren, urging him on to just find the fractions of a second he needed to make the final Sunday cut.

McLaren improved markedly on his times and only failed to make the cut by a fraction of a second due to a mechanical hick-up on the final warm-up on Sunday before the main race.

To say he was absolutely devastated missing the main event is an understatement, but if guts and sheer determination is what it takes to make the cut, then McLaren has that in the bag.

Kris has proved he has what it takes and all he needs now is a team to take him on some major sponsorship.

He has been offered a ride with Ducati in Spain but he needs the backing to make this dream a reality.

With King Casey retiring, McLaren could well be snapped up, but in the meantime he will be back home in Leongatha training hard and working hard with his parents in their local body repairs shop.

The massive crowd roaring through South Gippsland to the Phillip Island track last week came to see Stoner win his sixth consecutive MotoGP at the Island circuit and he didn’t disappoint, winning convincingly and sealing his place as an Aussie sporting all-time great.

Stoner  dominated the race and finished almost 10 seconds clear of the newly crowned 2012 World MotoGP champion, Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo.

Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez was crowned Moto2™ World Champion at today’s AirAsia Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island, after coming third in an enthralling race won by Tuenti Movil HP 40’s Pol Espargaró, with Anthony West second.

In a thrilling Moto3™ race at the AirAsia Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island it was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s World Champion Sandro Cortese who took a strong victory ahead of Miguel Oliveira and local rider Arthur Sissis.

Check out The Star’s interview with Kris McLaren from the Phillip Island circuit last Saturday below.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=5353

Posted by on Oct 30 2012. Filed under Featured, Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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