Features 8 Aug 2023

Conversation: Harrison Voight

European Moto2 contender on debut 2023 season and progress.

Making an instant impression stepping up from Moto3 machinery, former Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and JuniorGP World Championship contender Harrison Voight returned to Australia during the European off-season and dominated the domestic Supersport ranks at The Bend last year. He then backed that up with a new lap record at Phillip Island this season on his way to two more national race wins onboard the R6 before heading overseas to compete in the European Moto2 Championship with the Yamaha Philippines Stylobike Racing Team. After scoring a podium on debut in the first round at Estoril, Voight looks to continue to adapt, learn and build from a more challenging middle part of the championship. While back in Australia during his European season break, CycleOnline caught up with the determined 17-year-old for our latest Conversation.

Image: Supplied.

It’s good to see you back home while the European Moto2 Championship is on its break. How has it been and what have you been up to during that period? 

It’s been good to come back home, a bit of a reset and obviously try to keep training and stay fit during the break that we have got. I’ve just been pretty much same thing like usual, but I have been trying to do a few track days on the Superbike as well. The other week I was out at QR doing a track day and I just rode at Morgan Park today [Monday], been getting a little bit of seat time under my belt.

Yeah, we saw some footage of you riding the litre bike at QR! What can you take from that and apply to racing the Moto2 overseas? 

To ride the Superbike is another training tool, just to train wise it’s good. I can focus on the components I have to improve on, that I can take from the Superbike to the Moto2. There are some similarities in that kind of way, with the riding style. The set-up with the Superbike is a bit off, but for training it’s perfect, it’s the next step and I think for what I need to improve on it’s great to have the Superbike as a tool to work on that.

Looking at your season so far in the European Moto2 Championship, you really shot out of the gate strong in the first round with a podium in race one, then I guess throughout the middle part of the year some races have been more challenging. Can you talk us through that and the 2023 season so far? 

I started off the season pretty high really, it was a great feeling. I went into Valencia [round two] with a lot more confidence, and it showed, I had some good speed. Just from there it kind of went a bit downhill, going to newer tracks for me with the Moto2, of course in the past I have ridden Moto3. My riding style has had to change and it has been a bit of a slow process because I’ve had a lot of crashes, but at the same time there has been no result, although if you were there in person I was making improvements each time, it just hasn’t really been able to show until the last round at Catalunya. We are slowly climbing back up the ladder again. It’s just been more understanding how the chassis works and the construction of Dunlop tyre. That has been the biggest challenge this year, how the construction of the tyre works with how my riding style is. With the Moto3 it is all about corner speed, the Moto2 it is a little bit more like a Superbike in a way. For me I’m always learning, for example, to learn off Senna [Agius], I’ve learnt a few things off him and I’ve been trying to improve on that. It’s been great to pretty much have guys in front of me that I can try to improve off.

Image: Supplied.

With that as well, you’ve got a teammate within the Yamaha Philippines Stylobike Racing Team. How can you benefit from each other in terms of data and how a race weekend unfolds? Is there a lot you can bounce off each other there, or is it a bit more working independently but within the team? 

At the start, it was a bit of independence, because Marco [Tapia], my teammate, was a little bit behind compared in speed wise, but he wasn’t that far off. I was probably more helping him. But since the crashes and stuff probably knocked around my confidence and whatnot, so he got up to speed around the third round at Jerez and it showed. We’ve been starting to help each other because he is riding good and I can learn a thing or two off him as well. It’s been great to have a teammate that’s a friend, and not just always a rival, so we can both help each other get higher up.

Two rounds to go in the European Moto2 Championship this year, Aragon and Valencia. What is the plan of attack for those? It is to keep building, keep learning and then apply that to potentially returning to the series again next year?

Yeah for sure. I go back over a little bit earlier because we have a two-day test at Aragon. That will be great to get back into the swing of things with the Moto2 again, and obviously, it’s at Aragon, before the race. That will be great. Not a lot of expectation, just try to start from where we let off and keep climbing the ladder. Hopefully, we can keep chipping away and get some results at the end of the season.

Finally, is a return for the final round of ASBK this year at The Bend something you have thought about much yet, or is it too early to say? 

I will definitely return back to do The Bend. The past 18 months, I’ve enjoyed it so much to catch up with friends in the paddock. I don’t know, it’s just good fun, a little bit of pressure off and I enjoy the atmosphere, so I will definitely have a go at the last round at The Bend!