Four points after 14 races and World Championship rank 33 are not what Max Kofler had expected for this year. Everyone could have guessed that the switch from Moto3 to the Supersport World Championship would be difficult - 2022 was therefore regarded as a learning year.
Max Kofler scored his first two World Championship points in the last race of the previous year in Portimao, and for 2023 he signed a contract with Davide Giugliano's Ducati Team D34G. For financial reasons, the Austrian only rides the European races, 12th place in the second round in Imola is his best performance so far.
Since switching from the 250cc Moto3 bike to the Ducati 955, Kofler, like many other racers, has been plagued by arm-pump. After the races in Imola in mid-July he had surgery in San Marino, in Most, the Friday of practice was day 10 after the operation, on the last weekend in July the stitches had not even been removed. The following six weeks of summer break came in handy for Max.
"I had changed my training, did therapies and tried everything possible," the 23-year-old told SPEEDWEEK.com. "Surgery was my last option because when you cut into something, it's not the same as before. I delayed it as long as possible, but at some point it was no longer possible. In the meantime, everything has healed well."
Finally recovered from the surgery, Kofler had some bad luck in Magny-Cours and was cleared in Superpole by the cocky Can Öncü (Kawasaki Puccetti).
"He was behind me, wanted to get on the inside in turn 14 and I also gave him enough space," Kofler described the situation. "Why should I have fully countered him in a qualifying lap, that makes no sense. He then folded his front wheel at the apex, crashed and fell right on my right hand."
The Turk could not bring himself to make a proper apology. "He asked me why I went to the Clinica and had my arm treated," Kofler noted. "I told him because he shot me down. To which he just said that he was also shot down by Montella in Assen and racing would be like that. I could move the hand in France, but it hurt like hell, so I couldn't finish the second race. There are nasty bruises on the second and third metacarpals that I will feel for a few weeks. But that won't stop me from riding in Aragon."
Arm-pump, the operation, injuries, lost training time: there are a few reasons why Max Kofler is behind expectations this year - including his own.
"My goal was to ride consistently in the points," Max described. "I felt good after the first points in Portimao and I also feel very comfortable with my team. But the season is not going as I expected. A lot of outsiders don't get what's going on in the paddock and what's going on. People with more insight understand how it is. Criticism often comes from people who have little idea."