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6 days ago
By MotoGP™ Podcast

Catalonia: a motorcycle racer's haven?

Mamola, Syahrin, Remy Gardner, Booth-Amos, Pol Espargaro and more feature on Episode 23 of the MotoGP™ Podcast!

Tags MotoGP, 2019

The MotoGP™ paddock may be on their summer break, but the MotoGP™ Podcast doesn’t take a rest as hosts Matt Dunn and Fran Wyld do a little bit of investigating this week. Episode 23 sees them speak to riders such as MotoGP™ Legend Randy Mamola, current premier class riders Pol Esparagro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Hafizh Syahrin (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), Moto2™’s Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) and Moto3™’s Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) – among others – about what makes Catalonia so ideal for motorcycle racers.

Firstly, Matt and Fran spoke to Mamola. The 13-time Grand Prix winner has spent time in Catalonia ever since the first influx of riders headed there in the 80s and the American tells us who it was that started the MotoGP™ invasion of Catalonia.

From there the Podcast features riders who have moved to the region from the far east, with Syahrin and 2009 250cc World Champion Hiroshi Aoyama chatting about what made them make the jump. Gardner tells us of his ‘unconventional’ training method he’s brought from Australia to Catalonia, while Moto3™ rookie Booth-Amos discusses how his move to Catalonia is helping his career.

Then, the younger Espargaro brother chats about what it was like growing up in Granollers, the town just a stone's throw away from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and why the region has produced so many high-quality riders.

“When I was in school and studying in the summer with the windows open, I was listening to the bikes and the cars and the noise of the circuit as it was very nearby,” began Pol. “I was trying to study but I couldn’t focus because I was listening to what was going on in the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Granollers is a place where every time when the Formula One is in town, the city is full of people and all things racing. It’s very well known for that.

“At one point, we were living in L'Ametlla del Vallès which isn’t Granollers but it’s very close by. It’s more mountainous and somewhere that the ‘motorcycle spirit’ is very high. You can go riding on all different dirt trails in the middle of the mountains etc. People love bikes there, you can go riding enduro for many kms in the mountains. A place like helps build a racer.”

But why does Pol think Barcelona and Catalunya in general produce some of the sport’s top talent? “I think it’s the culture that’s not just in Barcelona but in Catalunya, I mean when I started riding bikes, there were small promotional cups where hundreds of children were riding bikes, and this is the only way. For sure, these hundreds of children haven’t made it to MotoGP but we see Rins, Maverick, the Marquez brothers, a lot of people that are here racing today - they all started in those categories which were supported by major companies in the region.”

To listen to Episode 23 of the MotoGP™ Podcast to keep you ticking over until the racing in 2019 restarts at the start of August, follow this link!  

Watch every 2019 race LIVE & OnDemand and enjoy the whole motogp.com video library, including technical features, exclusives interviews and classic races, with the MotoGP™ VideoPass