Jordi Torres Interview: “I want to keep growing and pushing hard”
Even though he prefers to ignore the plaudits, there is no denying that Jordi Torres has enjoyed a standout season alongside the MAPFRE Aspar Team in 2013. During his first full season in the Moto2 World Championship the Spaniard celebrated three podiums, including a maiden victory in Germany, and his consistency saw him cruise to the Rookie of the Year title at the end of a season that saw him sign off with second place and a new circuit record at Valencia. The MAPFRE Aspar man has firmly established himself on the international stage but he remains humble and fresh – qualities that have endeared him to the biking public thanks to stunts like the ‘kneeground’ phenomenon.
Did you think it was possible to finish the season in such a strong way?
No, it was a real pleasure for me to have been able to finish the season like that. Not just me but Nico too – it is a great privilege to be team-mates and friends with him. I think it was important for the whole MAPFRE Aspar Team. Even though we were both up there throughout practice at Valencia it is still rare in a category as close as Moto2 to have team-mates finish first and second, especially in their home race. But normally whenever Nico or myself are up at the front the other one is there too and that shows the intentions and the hard work of the team. It proves that we are doing a good job. From my point of view I went to Valencia with a question mark over my injured foot but luckily everything went perfectly.
What did you do in the week prior to the Grand Prix to speed up the recovery of your foot?
First of all I spent every day without my shoe on, just a sock. Secondly I was very careful to treat the injury every day to avoid infections or complications. As much as it was a grind to go to the surgery every day I was well looked after by Dr. Anna Carreras, who applied the necessary treatment and creams at every stage of the recovery process. Whenever it got too much I would take anti-inflammatories to reduce the swelling.
If you didn’t get held up at the start of the race at Valencia do you think you could have won?
It is easy to speculate in hindsight… I don’t know. Nico and I had a very similar pace and we were consistent all weekend. Our fastest laps in the race were virtually identical, just two thousandths of a second difference, but Nico took off like a rocket and I struggled to get away from Aegerter and Luthi. We can be very proud, I think we did a great job in terms of the performance and result. Also I don’t want to take anything away from Nico, who put together a perfect race from start to finish.
You mentioned the fastest lap – do you realise you are actually now the lap record holder at Valencia?
They had better give me a watch then [laughs]! In all seriousness it is nice, not just for the record but because we did a great job in Valencia and the lap record and second place were the reward for that. I think it says a lot about our intentions for Moto2 next season. We want to keep growing and pushing hard.
Victory in Germany, third place in Australia and second at Valencia. Three podiums in your first full season at this level…
I am very satisfied. I think we can still improve in certain areas but we have different strengths to our rivals, such as our corner speed, which is very high. On the other hand I need to learn when to take risks, when to be more decisive. This season was very important for us and as well as the podiums we gathered a lot of information that will allow us to be more flexible next season in terms of setting the bike up. This year every circuit was a new challenge, especially the ones I had never been to before, and we got a little lost in the three races after the summer break. In general it was an awesome season because I learnt a lot, I consolidated my relationship with the team and also my relationship with Nico, which is fabulous.
You were also Rookie of the Year by some margin…
A 26-year-old rookie [laughs]! Yeah it is good to be the best in your particular field but it is not something I am paying particular attention to. I suppose it looks nice on the CV but we have to keep working if we want to achieve bigger goals. I suppose the Rookie of the Year title shows that we have done our job. I know what I have been through to get here and I am going to do everything within my power to make the most of this new stage in my life.
What can people expect from Jordi Torres next season?
In such a closely contested category it is risky to go making predictions but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that our goal is to be fighting for the podium whenever we can and to be more consistent than we were in 2013. We will continue to work hard throughout the rest of the winter to make our bike as adaptable as possible and to establish a solid base that allows us to be a consistent presence at the front.
Your smile, character and of course ‘kneeground’ fever has helped propel you into the limelight this season. Are you aware of your fame?
People have stopped me in the paddock or in the street to congratulate me, to make the odd joke or to pose for a ‘kneeground’ photo, or even just to tell me not to change, and that makes me very happy. I am a humble kid, I consider us all to be equal and I treat everybody in the same way that I would like to be treated myself. I try to be polite and friendly always. If people want to talk to you or take a photo then it’s for a reason, a reason I can be proud of. To me it is nice and interesting to interact with the fans. I don’t consider myself to be famous at all. I am just a normal person, like any other kid who is into bikes.
Tell us how the whole ‘kneeground’ thing started…
This year was the first time I had been to Le Mans so on the Thursday I took one of the team scooters to do a couple of laps and learn the circuit, as I do on the Thursday of any Grand Prix. I bumped into Steven Odendaal and Alberto Moncayo doing the same thing and we stopped in turn six for a chat. I asked Steven to take a picture of me on the scooter, leaning it over with my knee on the kerb, pretending I was dragging it through the corner. That night when I got back to the hotel I put the photo out on Twitter and a few of my followers asked me if it was real, if I was really getting my knee down on the scooter. When I realised how popular it was I decided to do another photo the next morning with my mechanics getting their knees down using the chairs in the hotel corridor. The word ‘kneeground’ came later – I liked it, it was easy to remember and it kind of makes sense. Ever since then I have received thousands of photos, it has spiralled completely out of my control and it is great to see it trending on the RSS feeds. It has become an international symbol for bikers. At the end of the day that’s what I am – a biker. I like to have a ride out on a Sunday morning and go for lunch with my friends, so it is nice to see first hand how popular it is with people.
Define the 2013 season in just a few words.
Intense, tough but satisfying. It is good to know that regardless of the results we always gave our best.
Define your crew in just a few words.
Friendship, understanding… every member of the team is crucial.
Source: Aspar Media