From time to time, the Repsol Media Service issues press releases containing interviews and other bits of background information on the riders in their stable. Today, Repsol issued another gem: a perspective on Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez, as seen through the eyes of their team. Though relatively brief, it gives a nice peek into the relationship between the rider and their team, and how riders are seen by the people they work with so closely throughout the season.
The press release appears below:
Pedrosa "is very precise and knows what he needs” and Marquez "absorbs information like a sponge"
Hours and hours spent together mean that Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez’ MotoGP crews know their riders inside out, and are able to give a detailed assessment of their strengths.
Repsol Media Service - Australia, Phillip Island Circuit - Wednesday 16/10/2013
The majority of the team working alongside Dani Pedrosa have spent numerous seasons with the Repsol Honda Team rider. In the case of Marc Marquez, many of his crew are working with the rookie star for the first time this season, but already know plenty about him.
Rider and person
Pedrosa > Mike Leitner, his race engineer, has shared a garage with him for ten seasons and notes that "when I started working with him he was just a boy, but now he is a man who makes his own decisions." Professionally, "Dani is very precise and always knows what he needs” says Emmanuelle Buchner, one of his mechanics. "And as a rider he is very strong. Sometimes he has to fight with the bike because he is not as tall as other riders, but he always finds a way to get around this difficulty."
Marquez > One of the technicians who has been with him since his debut in Moto2, and current race engineer, Santi Hernandez knows him well and says, "He is a great person. He is always happy and trying to look at the positive side of things. As a rider he is hard working, has a good time on the bike and is always eager to learn. He has an incredible ability to absorb all changes made, either to the bike or to his riding."
A special moment
Pedrosa > One of the standout memories for electronics engineer Jose Manuel Allende came during Pedrosa’s first year in MotoGP in 2006. "We were in Sepang , Dani had a crash and did a lot of damage to his knee. After testing it out in the warmup, it seemed that he would not race and we would be heading home, but eventually he participated in the race and managed to finish on the podium. That was awesome."
Marquez > Carlo Luzzi, his electronics engineer, acknowledges that he was impressed with Marquez’ ability to learn immediately. "He's like a sponge. He assimilates everything very quickly, especially when it comes to electronics ‒something that he had never worked with before. A MotoGP bike has many buttons and it is very complex to manage them all. I remember the first time I came into the box and gave him a piece of paper with explanations about each of the buttons. The next day he came back to me and said Quiz me! He knew them all by heart. Some riders take a year to be on top of it all, but he was able to memorise everything in a single day."
A strong point
Pedrosa > For chief mechanic Christophe Leonce, Pedrosa’s strength is "his determination to prepare the bike for the race –he has a special perception. Sometimes he feels things on the bike, explains them to us in the garage and we are surprised when after checking the telemetry data, we see that it is exactly what he said." Mike Leitner adds that "his strong point is that he is invincible when he's really focused and determined. We saw it in the Valencia race last year. Although Dani started from pitlane, he only had victory in mind at that race and got it. That really showed his potential, but it is obviously something you cannot do every day."
Marquez > Another of Marquez’ technicians from the intermediate category, Carlos Linan, emphasises his intelligence on the bike over other qualities. "All the riders are fast and are very similar, but he differs from the rest in how he manages the race and the practices. In short, what stands out most for me is how he thinks on the bike –which I think is the most difficult thing.” Bruno Leone, one of his mechanics, adds that his forte is that “he is young and still has plenty of time ahead. Now he is an amazing rider who doesn’t have experience but is going very fast."
Pedrosa > Besides observing that Pedrosa’s helmet and gloves are always laid out for him in the same way, some of his mechanics also undertake certain rituals. Cristophe Leonce reveals that "as I am the one who turns on the bike and pushes it out from the garage, I always give Dani a few little taps on his outer thigh for good luck." Leaving the garage, Jose Manuel Allende adds that," I’m in the habit of taking one of his tear-off visors away, which is something we always do."
Marquez > According Carlos Linan, "rather than rituals or superstitions, what we have are habits. Marc always gets on the bike from the left side and does little else the same every time. I worked with a Japanese rider who always did a ritual before getting on the bike and threw salt from above it. He had to be careful to not get the salt into the bike anywhere. Other riders are very particular about the position of the controls, but Marc is the opposite. In that sense, he has confirmed what I already thought: That all that stuff is superficial and you do not go fast just because a lever is a milimetre higher."