Joint interview - Roby Rolfo & Robin Mulhauser, Moto Ain
After two FIM Superstock World Cup wins with Roberto Rolfo and Robin Mulhauser, Moto Ain are heading into EWC to compete with the factory teams.
You are the mainstays of Moto Ain and have clinched two wins in the Superstock World Cup. What are your goals in EWC?
Roby – Since 2018, I have been riding for the Moto Ain team. We started in the Superstock category and stayed there for three years with the aim of doing the jump to the EWC class when it was possible. Now is the time! We will start in this new category from Le Mans and the goal is to get close to the podium as soon as possible.
Robin – I think we still have a huge amount to learn in EWC, both as a team and as riders. With his experience, Randy will allow us to skip a few steps and best face up to the new challenge that awaits us. I hope we can end up on the EWC podium right from our first year.
Is a podium possible in this first season?
Roby – Yes, because the team is great and they work very well. With a good job in the pits, it is possible to be constant and have a good pace in the race to achieve the podium.
Robin – I hope so, I really want it, but in Endurance it’s not that easy. We have to have everything going our way and the stars aligning in our favour. But we definitely have the potential and we’ll do our utmost to make it happen.
Randy de Puniet will be with you in 2021. Is that a major advantage to get off to a strong start in EWC?
Roby – Randy is a very fast rider for sure. I think he can make the difference in qualifying, and that will be good to start from further up the grid. For the race, I think we will all be competitive, and in my opinion we are one of the most balanced teams.
Robin – There’s no doubt that thanks to his huge experience, we will fine-tune our knowledge and, like sponges, soak up the most we can in order to improve. He’s a very fast and amazingly talented rider and I think we have everything to gain.
What are the strong points and weaknesses of your new teammate?
Roby – As I said, Randy is a very fast rider in qualifying and also in the race. He has a lot of experience on the 1000 machines, so he can help a lot for the bike set up. The only point he must be careful about is to not crash too much.
Robin – I don’t know him well enough to be aware of his weaknesses, ha, ha. His strong points are his speed, his determination, his desire to win despite his track record (he could easily rest on his laurels), his experience and his innate talent as a rider. Even though he’s so special, he’s a very friendly, simple guy. His weakness is maybe one of his strong points, i.e. sometimes wanting to do too much.
Which of the two of you is better at fine-tuning the bike’s settings?
Roby – I think the new bike has a very good base. The settings have changed from the past so we can be faster. I don’t have many problems to set up the bike because my teammates are similar in riding style, even though Robin’s use of throttle for example is different and more aggressive than mine. But for the race, we try to find a good tuning for everybody.
Robin – I think because of his experience and because he’s a perfectionist, Roberto is better at fine-tuning than me. Whereas I on the other hand adapt quite easily to small differences.
Which of the two of you is faster on the track?
Roby – I think we are very close on lap times, both in practice and the race.
Robin – Although these past two seasons I was the fastest rider of the team (by a whisker), I think it’s our strength. Roberto and I are very complementary on the track; we make up for each other’s weaknesses. And I’d say we are almost perfectly consistent in terms of speed in the course of a season.
What are your motorcycle-related activities outside of the FIM EWC?
Roby – I work every day with my school in Switzerland and Italy, with pit bikes and normal bikes. Many people who follow the Endurance world championship come to try a one-day school and track experience.
Robin – I’ve a very busy schedule! I’m a marketing specialist for Yamaha Motor Switzerland 80% of the time. I’m also a MotoGP consultant for Swiss TV, a coach on the track for the Yamaha Riding Academy and of course a rider in the Endurance World Championship. What with my training, my different jobs and my private life with my girlfriend and my family, I have very little free time. But though it’s a fast-paced life, which can sometimes be very hard to manage and organize, I love it!
Besides motorcycling, what are your other activities and hobbies?
Roby – My main activities are the riding school and being a TV commentator for DAZN for the MotoGP world championship. My main hobby and training method is cycling because I really love it, and it makes me stronger for the races!
Robin – I’ve lots of hobbies but very little time to devote to them. The sports I enjoy include race and mountain biking, basketball, karting and squash. I also enjoy video production and technology, so whenever I have time I try to make short films for myself or for some of the companies I know. I also enjoy videogames, specially Warzone. And if I have any time left over, I return to the love of my first job: mechanics. I’m currently converting a 1991 (the year I was born) Yamaha XJ600 into a café racer, but I’ve a while to go before it’s finished.