INTERVIEW: Mike Di Meglio: “My qualities as a teacher and hairdresser have come to light”
Mike di Meglio’s time in lockdown is proving to be almost as intense as the regular racing season. Teacher, part-time athlete and full-time father, the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider is enjoying his time at home while preparing thoroughly for his long-awaited return to the circuit.
Di Meglio has not one, but two bikes temporarily parked. His MotoE Energica Ego Corse and his World Endurance Honda have barely been ridden so far in 2020. But the Frenchman, faithful to the DNA of a rider and love of competition, is eager to have adrenaline coursing through his veins again. However, far from losing his optimism, di Meglio is coping with lockdown with good humour and plenty of work to be completed at home.
We’ve been in lockdown for over a month now. How is your experience of this situation?
“It’s not an easy situation for anyone. I’m spending it in France with my wife and kids. You must be patient, positive and listen to the recommendations of the experts. Right now, the most important thing is to stay home and wait for the world to recover from this pandemic.”
How do you spend your time at home?
“I spend a lot of it in class.”
In class? Are you doing online courses or something like that?
“No, I’m the teacher! I have two kids aged eight and four and they can’t go to school. The older one, Matheo, has classes every day so, together with my wife, we try to replace the teachers as best we can. We’ve set up the di Meglio home school! With the little one there are classes too, although the activities are different. In the afternoon, once the classes are over, I start my extracurricular activities trying to train as much as I can to keep myself in shape physically.”
How is your day-to-day life?
“We start around 9am and until 12pm it’s time for classes. We eat and the children go to rest a little bit. When they rest, I try to train and play sports because when they wake up we organise activities with them like playing in the garden and we also play board games. We have dinner early, watch a movie sometimes and go to sleep.”
What would you say is the best thing to get out of these days and what is the most difficult thing you are finding?
“Without a doubt, the best thing is to have time with your family. This is something that we find difficult to find at times due to my work. The hardest thing to cope with is not knowing when we will be able to return to racing. The winter was long and with everything that is happening the wait is getting very long.”
Are you training?
“Yes, or at least I’m trying my best. I’m trying to get out and run. We can do it here if we respect the allowed safety distances. At home I also work, I ride static bikes and do different physical circuits to keep fit. The truth is that I am quite well equipped to be able to do good training at home.
Have you discovered any new skill during your time in lockdown?
“Yes! My skills as a teacher and a hairdresser that had been hidden until now have come to light! And I’m not bad at all! When I have the scissors in my hand you should see the look on the faces of the kids!”
Recommend to us for these days:
“I’m reading the book ‘An apartment in Paris’ by Guillaume Musso. I’ve just started it, but it looks good.”
“I’ve seen several, but right now I’m starting to see ‘Vikings’. It has action, a good plot and is incredibly well set.”
“The last one I’ve seen these days is The Hole. It’s quite peculiar and at some points a bit gruesome but the underlying message makes you think.’
“I love to change musical styles according to my mood and state of mind. My playlist can go from rock to pop, hip hop, great classics and even some reggaeton.”
Something to do in a very boring moment:
“To be honest, with kids it’s almost impossible to get bored or have time for rest so, if that time came, I would take advantage of it to get some sleep.”
Do you find it difficult to stay focused when preparing for a season that you don’t know when it will start?
“Yes and no. We are professionals and we have a habit of always keeping fit and alert. Competing in the World Endurance Championship I think helps me because in that series things can turn 360 degrees very quickly. That has helped me to always be prepared for when it’s needed.”
How do you manage it mentally?
“I try to find and bring out the positive side of the situation, to make the most of the time at home and with the family and to prepare as much as possible physically for when the time comes, whenever it is.”
What conclusions did you draw from the first MotoE test?
“I would be lying if I said I was very satisfied with my result because I wasn’t. However, it was a very positive test to make contact with the bike again and get the feelings to ride again. It was three days of intense work during which we tested a lot of things that will certainly help us for the future.”
What would you say are the differences between the 2019 and 2020 bike?
“The main changes are in the tyres, the chassis and the power unit. Michelin brought new tyres to the test with interesting changes, although it is probably not the definitive version as they are planning to continue working on a new and improved option. Energica, on the other hand, has evolved the chassis and power unit from the 2019 version, evolutions that have gone in the right direction.”
After this first test, what would you say is your strong point for the 2020 season?
“The experience. Apart from the fact that this will be the second year I will be riding and competing with an electric bike, I learned a lot last year. I learned how to win, lose, come back and be clear that, if in motorcycling there is almost no room for mistakes, in MotoE, the ‘almost’ disappears completely.”
And the points to improve?
“The fast lap and learning to risk a little more at specific moments. In any case, it was just a first test to draw some very definite conclusions. Although you always should give your best in testing, I am a rider who changes a lot during the race weekend.”
With only one test to draw conclusions and many fast riders, who do you see as your main rivals?
“This season we have new riders who have been fast from the beginning. Although this increases the number of rivals, it is a great thing for the championship. It’s still early days for names and real candidates, but I’m looking forward to finding out when the season starts.”