Jorge Lorenzo, to inaugurate his new 99 Seconds program on YouTube, had promised an interview with a rider whose name is on everyone’s lips these days. He kept his word, giving us a long face-to-face (which you can see in the videos above) with Jorge Martin, the Ducati Pramac rookie who amazed everyone in Qatar by getting pole position and a podium in Qatar.
Here's what they said.
"They call me Martinator because I'm explosive, I touch the limit at every corner"
“Do they call me Rocketman? I prefer Martinator, a nickname that comes from my history. But in the end if they call you something, it means something. I know I am explosive on a single lap, it is one of my characteristics: My heart goes to 200 beats, I give my best in every corner, I always feel I am touching the limit ”.
“The first time on the Desmosedici was incredible. It was difficult because there was a very strong wind in Losail. My goal for the first lap was to open the throttle all the way and feel all the power: on the straight I hit 338 km/h and as soon as I braked I felt my helmet jump forward. It was tiring, the carbon brakes make an impression and the seamless gearbox is equally impressive. You always feel the full power. It was curious when in FP4 I no longer felt the pressure of the strong wind and it was the first time I thought: 'but this bike is not going'. Actually I had the wind blowing from behind and I did 354 km/h!. However, I was most impressed by the transition from Moto2 to MotoGP, without a doubt. All the changes are incredible, but MotoGP is another story. It is an incredible bike, the power is beastly both in acceleration and braking. It is very tiring from a physical point of view ”.
"Under the podium Dall'Igna told me: it's not the Ducati that is incredible but you"
"Dall'Igna was more surprised to see me on the podium than Zarco ahead of everyone in the world championship, because Johann is one of the best MotoGP riders. I remember that at the foot of the podium I told him 'the bike is incredible' and he replied 'no, you are incredible'. Gigi was very happy, I think we are working well and they are very happy ”.
"My first win? I might have a chance at Mugello and Barcelona"
“The first victory? How much pressure! I haven't thought about it, maybe one day it will come. I have to work a lot. I think there are tracks on which I could think of winning, for example Austria is a track where I know I go well and so does the Ducati. Mugello or Montmelò are also good tracks for Ducati and for me. I've always been strong there, but these races are less than two months away, so I'm putting some pressure on myself. I think that when we race on tracks where I will have to manage the tyres less than in Qatar, I could have more fun. This is a bit the 'bad' thing about this category: you mustn’t only think about going fast, but also about managing the situation. Now there will be difficult tracks for a rookie, like Portimao and Jerez. My goal will be to stay in the top ten. I still have to learn a lot, I know it well ”.
"I started riding a motorbike in a parking lot, my family made many sacrifices"
“My father gave me one of those Chinese minibikes and I started riding it in a parking lot. I was wearing knee pads, a kind of back protector and a light helmet. I started riding with my dad every week, then we signed up for a few races. I participated in the Madrid championship and I had an Italian minimoto. I gradually moved up the level, then there was a race in Valencia and it was essential to win there because it meant having the expenses paid to do the following season. This sport is difficult from an economic point of view, we all know. My father had become unemployed at that time, we had nothing. Everyone helped us a little, grandparents and uncles. They gave us around 500 euros a month to help us, I remember that in that period we never took any holidays. They spent no money on anything other than helping me. I just have to thank my family for all of this. If I had won the Rookies Cup, I could have entered the World Championship, otherwise we wouldn't have had the money to do it. Luckily I won and so I arrived in the world championship ”.
"My father, my manager Valera and Fausto Gresini: these are the most important people for me"
“My most important decision was to sign with the Gresini team in Moto3, I had many options, some would have paid me more, but I thought that would be the best one to win a World Championship. The second was choosing Ducati, I don't think I would have been able to do the same things right away with another bike. It is a bike that has allowed me not to change my riding style too much. In Moto2, on the other hand, I was wrong, I thought that a company like KTM had the potential to make a great bike, but it was a crazy year: I tried 8 different frames in 6 races, as a rookie. I remember that at Barcelona I even tried 4, one per session. It was really difficult. My father has been the most important person in my career, then I put Albert Valera, who arrived at a complicated time, and Fausto Gresini, who gave me a great opportunity ”.
"I would have liked to face Valentino in the best period of his career"
“Marquez has been the benchmark in recent years, when I see him for the first time on the track he will impress me, but only for a moment. It has already happened to me with Valentino, he soon becomes just another rider to beat and it will be the same with Marc, it is my goal to succeed, even if not this year. I will certainly be able to learn a lot from him. Only Marquez knows what his conditions are, but if he feels good he will be fast. My idol as a child was Valentino Rossi and it's nice to race against him, even if it would have been nice to face him in his best years. I don't think he will be able to win another race, maybe in the wet, it will be more difficult in the dry. "
"Who will win the title? I say Quartararo, but I hope Vinales"
“Who will win the World Championship? I would say Quartararo because his speed in Qatar impressed me, but we need to look at many things. Who would I like to win? Vinales, because he is very competitive. Who do I resemble as a rider? Like Stoner, when I brake I put my body inside because I need to feel the contact with the front wheel. Capirossi is like me short and massive, like Lorenzo I have my trajectories and I like to work alone ”.
"That time in an Austin motel when I was terrified!"
“An anecdote? My first year in Austin, with the Aspar team: we were in a not very nice motel, it looked like one of those where there is a murder in American films. We went up to the second floor, there was a huge black man, full of tattoos, and a Mexican who pulled out a gun, I was terrified! We changed hotels, but that night spent there was terrible ”.