We sat down with Max Flinders to catch up on his 2021 season.
MotoAmerica superbike Rider Max Flinders has seen a lot during his MotoAmerica racing career. Being one of the smallest, if not the smallest, racing team in the paddock poses a myriad of challenges many other teams don’t need to address. After finishing in the 13th spot overall for the 2020 MotoAmerica superbike season and in the top ten at the 2021 Daytona 200, optimism was high for Flinders and the Thrashed Bike Racing team coming into 2021. Unfortunately, things didn’t always go as planned with Max and the team finishing a disappointing 21st. What does 2022 hold for Flinders and the team?
First things first, you finished in the top 10 last year in the Daytona 200. Will you be racing there again this year?
So unfortunately, we will not be racing at the Daytona 200. Looking at the new rules, our 2013 Yamaha R6 wouldn’t be competitive this year against the new Ducatis and Triumphs. It’s unfortunate because I’ve competed in the Daytona 200 the last 6 years, and I am really going to miss it.
Looking back at the 2021 MotoAmerica season, are you happy with how things went?
Last year’s season was a blast even though we didn’t achieve the goals we had set for ourselves. So, I’m not really happy with last year’s season. We just couldn’t make the bike work the way we wanted to, and there’s a lot of new motorbikes that were really quick out of the box on track. We were consistently the fastest non-factory Yamaha team on track but to make this bike competitive takes a lot of time and money.
What’s been your biggest frustration this past year?
My biggest frustration last year was the lack of power in the motorcycle. Getting left on almost all straight aways, and trying all sorts of solutions with electronics to no prevail, was really disheartening.
Pretty hard to miss the bright yellow machine.
What’s it going to take to find consistency for 2022?
To find a more consistent path in 2022 we need to do more testing before the season to find a good setup for all the rounds this year. The only other part would be to give my superbike some superbike power.
Will you be sticking with Yamaha for 2022 or is there another manufacturer possible?
This season we are still set with the big yellow Yamaha. I’d love to look into another manufacturer for this next season, but unfortunately we are so invested in Yamaha that it would be extremely difficult to make the switch.
Anything new coming in 2022 you want to share?
The only new thing this season is my attitude. I know my bike’s not the best, but I know I can be and I’m throwing everything I have into my racing and leaving it all on track.
It looks like MotoAmerica will be back at COTA in 2022, are you excited to race there again and what is it like sharing the spotlight with the MotoGP boys?
Cota is a strange track which I have mixed feelings about. The atmosphere is amazing and the fans that turn up are some of my favorites. The track itself on the other hand is very difficult and is quite hard to be consistently fast due to it having no flow. Sharing the light with MotoGP guys is amazing though! I wish we could mix a little more rather than being completely separated.
Down the iconic corkscrew.
Obviously, you’re up against some pretty well-financed teams again in 2022. What do you need to do to compete and find success against those teams?
The teams we compete against have very deep pockets and lots of time for testing and making their riders and bikes almost one. We just need a financial hand to be able to go out and get the testing we need to make me and my Yamaha more in unison. With some new parts and an expert to help us set them up at a track day I have no doubt we could make a move further up the field in the future.
You’re one of the more popular riders with the fans, why do you think that is?
I’d have to say because we are the true David and Goliath team in the pits, we aren’t scared to get our hands dirty and work harder than everyone to be at the top. We truly appreciate our fans and try to treat them like family, answering any questions and letting kids sit on the bike. We want to give them a sense that they’re on our team with us and I’m not sure if they can get that from any other team.
For any rider or team, money is the biggest obstacle to success. How can someone help you and the team out if they wanted to?
What our team needs to succeed is expertise, track time, or money for upgrades to the bike. I know one of the hardest parts of racing is to get the backing from sponsorships to continue racing or be to more competitive. But being at the highest stage of motorcycle racing in America I hope a business can see the marketing value of our presence on tv, social media, and track events.
Featured images – Brian J Nelson