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Woman Spotlight Wednesday: María Herrera Munõz

Written by Ramiza Donlic, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Women have played an influential role throughout the history of motor racing. Many have taken to the wheels of motorsport machines, while numerous figures have worked tirelessly on the sidelines in various roles, shaping the racing world to the present day. Woman Spotlight Wednesday aims to take a look at the tales of these superwomen, who have surpassed various hurdles to reach where they are today.

In the world of motorsport, amid the roar of engines and the scent of gasoline, María Herrera Munõz has emerged as a remarkable figure, breaking barriers and redefining expectations. With a passion for speed, and a determination to succeed, her journey through the male-dominated realm of motorcycle racing stands as a testament to her prowess and perseverance.

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Breaking Barriers in Motorsport

María Herrera Munõz's impact on motorsport extends far beyond her impressive achievements on the track. Born in Oropesa, Spain, in 1996, she grew up with a deep love for motorcycles, and an unquenchable thirst for competition. Her early days of racing were a mixture of thrill and challenge, as she navigated the demanding world of professional racing.

One of the most significant aspects of Herrera Munõz's journey is her ability to break down gender barriers. In a sport where women are often underrepresented, she fearlessly carved her path. Her unmistakable presence on the circuit challenged preconceived notions, and inspired a new generation of female riders to pursue their dreams relentlessly. Through her tenacity, Herrera Munõz showed that the racetrack is a place where skill and determination matter most, irrespective of gender.

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A Trailblazing Career

Herrera Munõz's career boasts a series of remarkable achievements, solidifying her status as a force to be reckoned with in motorsport. She first gained recognition in the world of motorcycle racing in the Spanish Championship (CEV) and quickly rose through the ranks. Her dedication and exceptional skills caught the attention of the Moto3 World Championship, the lower rungs of the motorcycle racing ladder.

Herrera was the first female competitor to win a race in the FIM CEV Repsol series, winning the Moto3 race at Motorland Aragón for the Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 squad in 2013. She added a second victory at Circuito de Navarra, and led the championship into the final round at Jerez. She retired from the final race, and slid down to fourth in the championship, thirteen points behind eventual champion, and current Yamaha MotoGP racer Fabio Quartararo.

Herrera made four guest appearances in the Moto3 World Championship as a wildcard with the Junior Estrella Galicia 0,0 team, dabbling in Moto3 appearances while competing in Spanish championships. She obtained full-time-participation in the Moto3 World Championship with the support of Repsol in 2015, the fuel company becoming her new sponsor. Riding alongside compatriot Isaac Viñales in the Husqvarna Factory Laglisse team, Herrera's best result was 11th-place.

One of her most memorable achievements was becoming the first female rider to compete full-time in the Moto3 World Championship. This groundbreaking feat showcased her ability to thrive in a highly competitive environment, racing against some of the best riders in the world. With every twist of the throttle, Herrera Munõz not only battled for victory, but also for representation and inclusivity in a sport traditionally dominated by men.

Herrera is only the fifth rider to score points in the World Championship, after Finland's Taru Rinne, Japan's Tomoko Igata, Germany's Katja Poensgen, and compatriot Ana Carrasco. Herrera achieved 17 points across three seasons in Moto3. In March 2016, Herrera announced her intention to compete in the series, riding a sole KTM entry; including taking over operations of Team Laglisse, and becoming an owner-rider for 2016.

She was included in the provisional entry list for the 2016 Moto3 season, partnering Lorenzo Dalla Porta at Team Laglisse on KTM bikes. Unfortunately, the team withdrew from the championship due to financial issues.

María Herrera was the sole female rider in the MotoGP paddock for 2017 with Team AGR, who ran a single bike in both Moto3 and Moto2 series. She raced in the same Moto3 class the previous year as Owner-Rider on a KTM, with team MH6.

In 2018, Herrera rode for BCD Yamaha MS Racing on a Yamaha YZF-R3 in the FIM Supersport 300 World Championship. She finished 13th in the 2018 World Supersport 300 standings with 45 points, taking one fastest lap along the way, alongside many top-ten finishes.

Herrera returned to the paddock in 2019, competing in the MotoE Championship for the Ángel Nieto Team, alongside 2011 125cc World Champion Nicolás Terol.

Herrera joining the MTA Racing Team in early 2022; Credits: MTA Racing Team

As part of the Aragon Grand Prix, the MTA Racing Team announced their intention to enter an all-female team - a first in the 73-year history of the motorcycle world championship. The whole thing was made possible by a wild card use by the Spaniard.

The Angeluss Women Sport Management, around CEO Aurora Angelucci, and the MTA Racing Moto3 team started a cooperation at the beginning of the 2022 season, which should improve the presence of women in motorcycling.

Pushing Boundaries and Inspiring Change

María Herrera Munõz's influence reaches beyond the racetrack. Her determination to succeed has inspired countless individuals, especially young women, to pursue their passion with unwavering resolve. She stands as a role model, proving that passion, skill, and perseverance can shatter glass ceilings, and open doors previously closed.

As we shine the spotlight on María Herrera Munõz this Woman Spotlight Wednesday, we celebrate her impact on motorsport and her dedication to challenging norms. Her journey serves as a reminder that diversity in sports enriches the field, pushing boundaries and fostering innovation. Herrera Munõz's achievements on the track, her pioneering spirit, and her commitment to empowering future generations make her a true icon in the world of motorsport.


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