Jorge Martinez Interview
His riders continue to win and his team grows year by year. The admiration from his sponsors is mirrored in their support and he continues to do his own thing: dreaming up new projects, outlining future challenges, working towards a dream so that the Aspar Team riders can continue to put their colours on the top step of the podium and keep bringing new sponsors into the motorcycling world. Sat on his chair in his office, a long way from his natural habitat, Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’ talks passionately about his hopes for his team this season and opens up on a sporting, personal and human level. He talks about the dreams that provide the structure to his daily life and with that he reveals his most intimate side.
Terol unbeaten, Simón second at Estoril and Barberá sixth at Jerez… not a bad start!
In 125 Nico has been impressive. Simón has finally picked up his first podium of the season and I am sure many more will follow. Barberá has scored the best result so far for the MAPFRE Aspar Team in MotoGP. Hopefully we can continue in this way to make constant improvements.
The two crashes for Faubel have been a shame. . .
Yes, I think he was trying a bit too hard. I spoke with him in preseason and told him to take the start of the season carefully but it hasn’t happened. Overenthusiasm and an engine problem in Qatar have set him back initially.
What should the real targets be for Xavi Forés and Adrián Martín?
I hope to see Adrián up amongst the top five. It will take a lot of effort but he has to aim for it to continue his progression as a rider. For Forés I would like to see him firstly as a consistent points scorer and then he will have to focus on progressing from there. He has the potential to do it if he approaches it seriously. He knows he is in a winning team where results are the most important thing.
It seemed last year with riders in every category that you had reached the limit but this year you’ve added another one. . .
It is incredible that we have been able to carry this project forward in times such as these. In September we were considering the idea of cutting one of the three teams back but at the end of the year we were able to revive the entire project and that allowed us to sign another rider at the last minute. Luckily for us the results are helping and the sponsors are very happy. We are also pleased to have new partners on board this year such as Northgate, Exprivia, Vrooam. . . all of them with international interests.
What is the secret to keeping the faith of sponsors in times such as these?
You have to offer them a lot in terms of image, as a team, with your results, etcetera. You have to bring them a lot in terms of a business proposition. It is a mixture of a lot of different elements. I think the era of having just one faithful sponsor is over. One of the secrets nowadays is to differentiate. Sponsorship understood exclusively as advertising on bikes and on leathers is becoming an obselete concept. The dynamic panorama we are faced with currently, in sport and in other areas of business, means it is fundamental to be offering something different to the rest.
Given what we have seen so far, what are your targets for the current season?
The objectives have not changed since the winter. In both 125 and Moto2 our goal is to be World Champions. In 125 Nico has been untouchable so far whilst in Moto2 Julián has the talent and means to fight for the title until the end. In MotoGP the primary goal is to improve on last year’s results. At Jerez Héctor already bettered his highest finish from last season so the logical expectation is for him to continue to grow. I think our aspirations are realistic but we won’t get anything for free. We have to keep working around the clock at every single round that remains.
What does ‘Aspar’ lose sleep over?
Mainly keeping this whole structure together. It is really difficult to head up such a big project. We are only in May but we are already working on new sponsors for 2012. That is the thing that unsettles me the most – worrying that everything slots into place.
What do you say to your riders on the grid?
Have fun. There is not much more to say in the moments immediately before the race. Each rider should be aware of the importance of their results, for themselves and for the team. There might be a little detail to point out or some final advice to give but there is no time for chatting. When a rider is on the starting grid they are nervous and tense so I just tell them to enjoy the race and not think about anything else. Anything that needs to be discussed in more depth should have already been done, on a Saturday evening for example.
What piece of advice do you most often give to your riders?
Every rider is a whole different story. Some of them need a shove, others need to be held back. Also every race is different, there are never two races the same. For example with Nico at the moment I am telling him that he is racing himself, to try and improve on his performance from last year and not relax. His main rival right now is himself. He has to try and improve his lap times from last year and set a good pace throughout practice so that he has less to worry about in the race.
What is the best moment of a Grand Prix weekend?
There are all different kinds of moments during the course of a weekend – some fun, some not so fun. When things are going your way in practice it can be fascinating to watch. I love the tension of a Grand Prix even though it is draining and on a Sunday night or Monday morning I realise that I’m spaced out, digesting the madness of the weekend. Without doubt the best moment is when you win, when you hear the Spanish national anthem and it is an Aspar Team rider stood on the top step of the podium. That is just a sublime feeling.
What does Aspar always carry in his suitcase?
A dream. That is the key to rising to your daily challenges. Your suitcase can be empty – you could buy a new set of clothes or a washbag at any airport in the world – but you have to have a dream. My two main prayers are always related to my health and my dreams. As long as I still have dreams within racing and the desire to keep finding new challenges I will continue to fight.
Do you have any superstitions you can confess to?
I like to make the sign of the cross and during the races I like to have something in my hand. Sometimes the cork out of a bottle of champagne or sometimes I just rub my hands together. They are small but very personal details.
And your passion for standing on the pit wall? What are you trying to transmit to your riders?
Sometimes I want to try and tell them something very specific but it is difficult for them to understand. It is really hard for them to try and understand something when they are flying down the front straight but even so I can’t help trying to do it. For example at Jerez when Nico and Héctor were fighting for the lead I was pointing to my head to try and tell them to think about it. They were lapping really fast on a damp track and it would have been easy for either one of them to crash. You try to transmit things to them by gesticulating or using the pit board but it usually doesn’t work.
Which Grand Prix do you remember most fondly?
There isn’t one in particular. Luckily for me there are many, from the times when I was racing myself up to the present day. Double victories are special – when we win in two different categories on the same day.
Your favourite circuit on the calendar?
The most technical and most beautiful of the current circuits for me is Phillip Island. The place I suffer the most even though it is still my favourite because of the atmosphere and it is on my home soil is the Ricardo Tormo Circuit (Valencia).
The current golden era for Spanish motorcycling is evocative of the days of Nieto, Aspar and Crivillé. . .
It is no coincidence that Spanish motorcycling is enjoying such a brilliant period. Dorna has done a great job over the last twelve years or so and the Spanish circuits are World Championship class. In Valencia we have the ‘BANKIA Cuna de Campeones’ which has been producing top riders for eleven years now and luckily all of the current Aspar Team riders are products of the school. We have four Grands Prix in Spain at incredible circuits and some outstanding riders. With all these factors put together along with the exhaustive media coverage we get from the television and written press Spanish motorcycling is able to enjoy such a wonderful era.
Source: Aspar Media