What’s in a number?

What’s in a number?

The most frequent question we get asked on social media is about the numbers our riders use on their bikes.

A lot of people want to know why Tito has switched from the number 80 he ran last season to the number 53 he’s using now, but even more popular is the question “why does Mika have -36° on the front of his bike?”

Rather than trying to squeeze the answer to these questions into just 140 characters on Twitter, we thought we’d let the riders explain, starting with Mika.

“I’ve used the number 36 for a long time, but it wasn’t until I moved up to MotoGP that the minus and degree signs were added.

“When I was riding for Pramac Ducati I took all my mechanics on a trip to Lapland in the winter. It gets pretty cold there and you can imagine what my mainly Italian teammates thought about that!

“When I arrived for preseason testing that year the mechanics, who’d almost thawed out by then, had added the minus and degree signs on the front of the bike. I liked it, so I’ve kept them on my number ever since.” 

When he moved up to the Pons team in 2012 Tito Rabat ran the number 80 on his bike, as the team were sponsored by M80 Radio, a Spanish radio station. The team retained the number 80 when Tito made the move to Marc VDS at the end of 2013 (although Luis Salom doesn’t use it), so the 24-year-old Spaniard made the decision to run the number 53 on his bike instead.

“I couldn’t use the number 80 this year, so I had to decide on a new number to run on the front of the bike. Originally I wanted to use number 3, as this was the position I finished in the championship last year, but that number was already allocated to Simone Corsi. 

“In the end I decided to go with number 53, because this was the number I had when I started racing in the Copa Rieju back in 2002.”