When all the riders take their bikes to the starting grid to start the 2017 FIM MotoGP World Championship later this month in Qatar, one will actually stand out above the others in terms of the statement the rider is making in the motorcycling world.
A rose among the thorns, beautiful Maria Herrera of the AGR Team is the only lady rider at this season’s MotoGP paddock. She may not be the first; but for this upcoming season, Maria will be flying the flag high for women riders all over the world. Competing in Moto3, under her helmet and racing leather; on board the powerful 250cc KTM machine, the young Spanish rider is set to be as fierce as her male counterparts.
Maria penned history in May 2013 when she became the first female competitor to win a race in the FIM CEV Repsol series. Unfortunately, she has not been able to carry that winning performance at Moto3. At least just yet.
Maria is, by no means, short in talent.
She did not only score that historical victory on May 26 at Motorland Aragon; but did it in style by dominating the race on her road to that sensational feat. When she first qualified for a front row start, she was the first female rider to do so in any CEV round.
In her first full season in 2015, Maria finished 29th overall with a total haul of 29 points on her Husqvarna bike.
Last year was even more difficult for the Girl from Toledo as she could only manage seven points on her KTM machine to finish 31st overall in the championship standings. To be fair, Maria suffered a broken wrist at the start of the year before breaking her collarbone after a crash in Sepang and was forced to miss the season finale in Valencia.
Now, for season 2017, based on her performance at pre-season testing, Maria is set for another challenging year; and at best is likely to be competing just for championship points, rather than podium finishes.
Yet, Maria Herrera will remain an important figure in the world championship.
Now 21 years old, Maria is the message of hope for a bigger participation in the world of motorsports particularly the MotoGP world championship.
Through her efforts and persistence, Maria is constantly sending messages to organisers to consider a Ladies Cup in a near future within the world championship, and perhaps one day, even a full world championship of lady riders.
Now that would be something to look forward to.
*Photo credit MotoGP