Here we are with another round of ‘Have a seat, champ’ powered by JK Tyre, Castrol POWER1 RACING, OnePlus and autographix.com in which we talk to the racers who will be participating in the Final Round of JK Tyre National Racing Championship which will be held at the Buddh International Circuit from 16th to 18th November 2018. We have with us Pranav Malik, who belongs to Rohtak, Haryana. He’ll be racing aboard a BMW S1000RR in the 1000cc Class of the JK Tyre Championship. Here is the conversation that we had with him.
When and how did you come into motorcycle racing?
I got my first bike when I was about to pass school. It was a Pulsar 220 and predictably, I got into the stunting scene soon after. 5 years ago, I bought my first big bike, a Suzuki Hayabusa. Within one year, I was miffed with having to ride it on regular roads. It’s so frustrating to not be able to use around 200 horses that you have. Shakti Raj Singh, who is currently my team mate, was the one who took me to the track. My first day on the track and I was mesmerized. In that very moment I realized that this is where I belong. But a Hayabusa is not a track machine so soon after my first track day, I sold the Busa and got a GSXR-1000, a more track friendly. After that I started learning to ride on the track and figure out how t go faster. The process continues till date.
What has been your biggest achievement in racing so far?
The biggest achievement for me is actually being able to do something I considered impossible i.e. clocking fast lap times and being able to compete with people who I thought were out of my league some time ago. After years of riding, racing and training on the track in addition to the training I received from the racing school, I am not only able to keep up with those people, but be faster than them too. I still have a lot of potential for improvement and I am learning to tap into it and slow yet steady progress is going to take me where I want to be.
Where do you want to see yourself in the next 5 years as a motorcyclist?
5 years, that’s a long time. In that time I want to have a few podiums under my name. But more than that, I want to beat the national record of the fastest lap. If I am able to do that, who knows, maybe I can be the national champion someday.
How do you keep yourself fit, mentally and physically?
I don’t do the usual stuff like meditating or something. I just listen to music. Also, I am a big fan of video games and I can be called an avid gamer, so a whole lot of Playstation fun. Physically, I relish cycling in the morning. Apart from that, basic stretching and stuff. I am not a hardcore gym person. I like to have fun in workouts and exercises and cycling is plenty of fun for me.
How important do you think is the JK Tyre championship for motosports, particularly motorcycle racing in India?
It’s the biggest racing event of the country and the only Superbike championship in India. That is all there is to it. That is the reason why it is the most important event in the book of every racing enthusiasts of the country.
What do you think are the most important things to prepare as a racer that one should keep in mind?
As a racer the most important thing is to believe in yourself. There are times when nobody is going to believe in you and that is when you need yourself the most. Believe in your instincts, have those nerves of steel so that you are able to perform at the maximum of your potential in the most tense and scary situations.
Could you please tell us how are you preparing your bike for the JK Tyre championship?
I have installed basic upgrades for the coming race. Also, I am new to the bike that I will be riding this season so I am just tweaking the motorcycle to best suit my riding style. And so far, the results are satisfactory.
Which bike will you be riding in the JK Tyre championship and why?
I will be riding a BMW S1000RR and the reason for that is that it is one of the most complete and neatly packaged motorcycles out there and that stands true both on and off paper. It rides like a dream, has amazing handling characterisitics and is stupid fast on straights.
Have you had any crashes while riding and in particular racing? If yes, what did you learn out of it?
I had a crash on my GSXR-1000 in 2016. It happened two weeks before the JK Tyre Championship. I trail-braked too hard and too deep at Turn 4 and thus los the front. Even before hitting the gravel, I knew what I did wrong but by that time, there was nothing I could do to save it except to take it as a lesson. I have had a few gnarly crashes during my early years of stunting too.
What I have learned from all of them is that madness is also methodical. Being crazy is about techniques and one’s mastery of them. After all, what a rider does with skill and confidence, seems like madness to the spectators be it stunting or racing at the highest level.
Going crazy without knowing how to do it, is just nuts.
What do you think are two biggest issues that are hampering the growth of motorcycling racing in India?
Lack of tracks. Relatively less popularity of the sport. Less stringent traffic laws and the general condition of the roads, things like that.