What do talent spotting and Phil Collins have in common?

Alberto Puig chatted on the MotoGP™ Podcast about knowing when a young rider is fast, likening his process to Genesis and Phil Collins

Repsol Honda Team Manager Alberto Puig was the first guest of 2020 on the MotoGP™ Podcast as he delved into some hot topics, one of those being his role with the Junior Talent Team and Road to MotoGP™ riders.

“I don’t know, this is some question that I get asked many times because we help many riders that were at one point, zero,” began Puig, when posed the question about what he looks for when talent spotting. “They came from scratch and finally the guy won the titles but it’s a question I have to answer many times but I have to say, I think I am lucky.

“In a way to say this one or that one, but the truth is that when I see a guy I tell you this is very strange, but the way he goes onto the bike. Only that precise moment that a guy goes onto the bike; the way he takes the clutch, the way he starts, I immediately know if the guy has a possibility or not. Without even… this is something that has come into my head many times like **** it’s true again, this guy, the way he goes on the bike. You look at him a little bit, you see his face, the way his eyes are looking in the helmet, the way he approaches the bike and all the guys that are good…

“That’s why I say I’m lucky to say this or that, but that means a lot for me. Then the guy goes out and you see if he’s fast or not, but always when I saw a guy that had a good approach to the bike, finally they are always fast. It sounds a strange answer I know but…”

So is it a question of instinct for Puig? Again, the former Grand Prix race winner couldn’t pinpoint exactly what it is, but he did relate it to a very well-known band and drummer: “I don’t know, but let me say: I like music a lot. I remember one time listening to an interview from Peter Gabriel when he led Genesis, and I was surprised by what he said. They made an audition for three drummers, and there were three drummers and the last drummer was Phil Collins.

“And Peter Gabriel said that when he saw Phil Collins, the way he sat on the drums, only the way he got the stick and prepared, he knew he was going to be selected. And of course Phil Collins was finally selected for Genesis at that time but this is something that isn’t the same but it’s something more or less could be the same, and I don’t know why but this is how I feel.”

An unorthodox description from Puig, but one that makes a lot of sense nonetheless. The likes of Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner were coached by Puig, and they went on to become two of the greatest riders we’ve ever seen. Hopefully more superstars will be springing from the Junior Talent Team and Road to MotoGP™ ranks in the near future.

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