We spoke to the Kiefer Racing manager Jochen Kiefer regarding the 2020 season, plans for the future and racing.
Kiefer Racing are an incredibly successful team, racing in the world championship for a number of years, winning the 2011 Moto2 World Championship with Stefan Bradl before backing this up with the 2015 Moto3 Championship with Danny Kent. Since these titles, the team have suffered some hardships and were forced to leave the Moto2 World Championship when Dorna decided to slim down the Moto2 grid.
They then decided to pursue the World Supersport Championship, signing Thomas Gradinger and Lukas Tulovic for the season, however, the team once again suffered monetary issues and were forced to withdraw from the championship, opting to run Tulovic in the CEV Moto2 European Championship aboard a 2016 Kalex chassis which he scored a podium in the opening round of the season at Estoril, since then he has taken 2 x DNF and 3 other top 10 finishes.
Tulovic was forced to withdraw from the Aragon round due to injuries sustained in the MotoE race at Misano.
EMR – Given the issues with money before the pandemic, how has the pandemic affected your team and your sponsors?
Our contractual partners are also feeling the effects of the pandemic, funds must definitely be reduced. However, our partners stayed by our side even during these difficult times. We are very grateful for that.
EMR – Do you hope to return to the Moto2 championship or do you feel you could achieve more success in World Supersport?
Anything would be conceivable, I would like very much to face the challenge of starting in WSSP with my team. However, it has been difficult to get a budget for a World Cup season in the past and because of the pandemic, it is to be expected that this will be even more difficult in 2021, so we have to be realistic.
EMR – Following from this question, what are the teams plans for 2021? Do you think you will stay in CEV Moto2 with Tulovic or are there other plans for Tulovic?
EMR – Apart from the obvious, what do you feel is the most rewarding part of managing a team and which part would you change if you could?
The most rewarding part of managing a team is for sure success. When the team sets goals and reaches them it is a great feeling.
Regarding what I could change, many decisions have to be made by outside influences. It is sometimes a challenge to make the best of the situation. I think there are always things that could be done differently. However, the background often leaves no other options.
EMR – What is your favourite thing to do when you are not focusing on racing?
To be honest, I haven’t had much time for private matters in recent years. I’ve been away from home for more than 25 weeks for racing events and tests in the World Cup Championship.
There was also always a lot to do in between races (repair parts, order parts…). In the winter break, we were preparing for the new season but this year it was different. Because of the pandemic and the associated restrictions I was able to spend a lot of time with my family. We did a lot of motorcycle tours.
Since we couldn’t travel, we spent a lot of time in our garden. I enjoyed it very much. We also to set up a motorcycle workshop in this time in my town Bad Kreuznach. The opening will be in a few weeks.
EMR – What is the key to running a successful racing team?
The basic requirement is certainly capital. Without good material it becomes difficult. Personally, the harmony in the team is very important to me, feeling comfortable in the team and having fun at work are the best requirements.
We have always guided Kiefer Racing in a family atmosphere. Today I can continue this with the help of my wife and my children Franzi and Katrin.
EMR – Tulovic currently sits in P7 in the standings with 1 podium, are you happy with how the season has gone so far considering how it started?
Of course, we are not satisfied with the result at the moment. Our aims were higher. We saw in Portugal that Lukas had to face a strong field at the top. We are very happy about the 3rd place. In Jerez, it didn’t go so well and we expected more there.