Rabat: “Despite the injury, I will not give up”
The reigning Moto2 World Champion left the German Grand Prix without picking up the points he deserved, as a last-corner crash ended his chances of a podium finish. However, the effort and perseverance that the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider showed reflected his motivation and desire to overcome adversity.
First of all, tell us how where you get the strength from to come back a few days after collarbone surgery.
I feel very good, the operation went perfectly and the doctors did a great job, so I came into this last race before the summer break in pretty good shape. Despite the injury, I will not give up. I'm second in the championship and I will fight hard in every race. The strength is there to begin with; I think what keeps me motivated is the desire and enthusiasm I have for doing what I really love, and that's what gives me extra motivation to face some difficult situations. But it’s not enough to be strong, you also have to be fast, so it is important to regain confidence and regain the feeling with the bike in order to ride at the front.
You had a difficult beginning to the season, but from Jerez onwards you seem to be on track again. What produced this change?
The early season pressure as the reigning World Champion and running the number 1 plate affected me more than I thought. People take it for granted that you will be winning races again, but this class is very tough. Maybe I lost my way earlier in the season, then I said to myself, “Hey, if you end up seventh, this is the Moto2 World Championship, it isn’t easy and it doesn’t matter.” Once I stopped worrying about my final position and just focused on being comfortable with the bike, I had less pressure and I could go back to enjoying myself. I think even with the number 1 plate, you can have problems – and what you need to do is focus on solving them and forget about what everyone else is doing. I think this is the way forward.
How do you assess the performance of your fellow Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders, Jorge Navarro and Fabio Quartararo, in their debut year in the World Championship?
I think both are having a spectacular year for a first season. They are doing very well, and you cannot ask for more from them: Fabio [Quartararo] has already taken two poles, led races, fought for the podium -and keep in mind that there are experienced rivals in that category and they are there fighting with them.
Do you give them any advice?
Yes, I have more contact with Jorge [Navarro] because we were in the same structure last season –him in Moto3 and me in Moto2- so whenever we meet we discuss some things about the circuits where we are. With Fabio [Quartararo] I also talk about training and racing. Although the Moto2 class is very different from Moto3 and I can’t advise them much, it is always good to talk about how things have gone at a Grand Prix. And when things have been more difficult, I like to give them encouragement.
“What keeps me motivated is my desire and enthusiasm for doing what I really like.”
Of the Grands Prix already contested, which was hardest for you?
At the moment the German Grand Prix, because it was just after my collarbone operation and obviously I did not arrive in as good shape as hoped at a physically demanding track.
Which have you enjoyed most?
Undoubtedly, Mugello. At the Italian GP it was where we finally got the victory and enjoyed ourselves throughout the weekend. I felt good with the bike and it was a very nice Grand Prix.
We now have a three-week break. What are your plans?
First I have to attend an event with sponsors, then I have to go to the hospital to check that the injury is recovering well, then above all take the opportunity to rest. I will try to go to the beach for a few days to unwind, relax and recharge with positive energy, and sure that will help me to recover completely.
Do you prefer to stay in Spain or go somewhere exotic?
In the winter I do like to go to the Caribbean or somewhere exotic, but in the summer I prefer to stay in Spain because we have very good beaches. Almería, for example, has beautiful beaches, where I can unwind and also spend time with good company, so I can’t think of a better place to spend a few days.
On the theme of food, do you also relax your diet a little?
Because of my build and the category in which I compete now, where weight is not as important as in the smaller categories, I don’t have a special diet. Eating healthily is already a habit after years in competition and also, with the amount of sport I do, I don’t need to deprive myself of many things. If one day for example, I want an ice cream, there’s no problem –but I only have it when I really want. Taking care with food goes with our lifestyle and it is effortless for me.
What would be a nice summer day for you?
I like to get up early, well rested and watch the sunrise on a beach. That is something that is very nice and enjoyable. Then I like a good workout on the bike at a circuit, while the temperature is still fresh, then go fishing in the afternoon, spend the night with friends and finish the night in good company. There are many things I like to do in summer that make a day special.