It’s difficult to predict who the next Australian GP champion will be, but the last decade and a half has belonged to riders who did their time in the small-bore GP classes, graduating through to the premier class rides – Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa are all examples of this.
So while many are lamenting no obvious replacement for the retiring Casey Stoner, we shouldn’t forget we have two teenagers in Moto3…
Adelaide native Arthur Sissis began his racing days like his compatriot Casey Stoner, riding speedway and dirt track as a youngster.
“My sister, she taught me how to ride a motorbike when I was little”, admits Sissis. “Then I was just riding speedway but I always wanted to race road bikes.”
The dirt was his method of honing his skills in preparation for a road racing career that would hit the international stage in 2009 – competing in the prestigious Red Bull Rookies Cup. The family bought a van in Europe and lived in that for seven months or so.
In a show of real commitment, during this time Sissis was also carving a solid reputation on the domestic road racing scene, claiming the South Australian and national 125cc titles in 2008 and the 250cc category in 2009.
In 2010, with more experience under his belt, Sissis raced again in the Rookies Cup, this time finishing an encouraging thirteenth.
However it would be the breakthrough year of 2011 and a runner up finish in the Rookies cup that would earn him his first call up to Grand Prix, riding in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Shortly after that he was confirmed for his first full time ride in Grand Prix, riding in the Moto3 category for the Red Bull KTM team.
During his first stints overseas Sissis says he missed home a lot.
“I’ve been doing this now for the last four years, and this year has been the longest I think, ten months. But you have to do what you have to do.”
As for his results this year, Sissis was surprised at how competitive he was at the beginning of the 2012 season, starting in the unknown category of Moto3.
“At the start of the season I thought, maybe top fifteen. Then when I got that good result in Qatar I thought I could challenge for the top ten in every race. Some races I’ve been in the top ten and some races I’ve been close, but it’s been pretty hard.
As far as machinery goes, Sissis believes he is on a machine capable of winning – but there are some differences to his rivals.
He explained that while he has the same bike as his teammates, some of them have lighter fairings while his own are heavier, simply because he would not make the minimum weight limit otherwise.
Learning new tracks has been the biggest challenge for Sissis this year. Even though he has raced in Europe for several seasons in the Rookies Cup, he is still visiting tracks for the first time.
“When they are so much faster in the first session and you’re a few seconds back it makes it hard trying to catch up. So by qualifying you’re starting at the back and then in the race you try to catch up with the front guys and it makes it hard.
Next year Sissis hopes to be challenging for the top five, when the experience gained this year should pay off.
“It’s really good to be team-mates with Sandro and Danny because they are so experienced. They help me a lot as well. We share data and when I’m on the track they will give me a few laps to learn the track or something, they’re really good.”
Sissis seems to know where his immediate future is headed.
Joking, but at the same time not joking, he finishes by telling us, “I have another year in this team, I’ve got one year to learn, and one year to win.”