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It’s time for another Last On The Brakes MotoGP™ Podcast and this week’s guest is legendary team boss Aki Ajo, who leads the line for Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championship leaders Red Bull KTM Ajo.
Aki Ajo has and continues to work with riders such as Jack Miller, Pedro Acosta, Raul Fernandez, Remy Gardner, Johann Zarco, Marc Marquez, and many more. The Finn tells all about how he picks riders for his team, what the key characteristics of what makes a Grand Prix World Champion are, why riders need to focus on themselves more, and how this is becoming increasingly difficult in 2021.
It’s a truly fascinating chat with Aki Ajo on this week’s episode, with lessons not just relevant for racing but wider society and work places in other industries as well. Whether you’re a pure race fan simply keen on how riders are managed, or someone interested in managerial culture, this is for you!
“Road racing at a high level is one of the most challenging sports in the world, for sure. And many people for sure agree. And then for a really challenging and stressful sport, I think you really need to control your emotions,” says Aki Ajo. “And for sure, some part of controlling is that also, when you have a difficult moment that you leave, let's say bad feelings, outside. Let it out.
“And I think that was just an example of one conversation what we had with Marc in the past that hey, if you feel that you need to cry, please cry. And do it well! This will help you also, and then it's maybe easier, you are more free. And just one small example. But this is such an emotional sport, that you really need to learn all the ways which can help you to control your emotions, because they're on the track in long races and hard battles. Those who can really get the focus and control his emotions and control everything? He will be strong.”
“I don't know if it's the only focus. But let's say that it's maybe more the way to try to calm the rider and to make him trust himself,” continues Aki Ajo, speaking to hosts Matt Dunn and Fran Wyld. “Because I see many times this is a really, really hard and tough world here. And of course riders are quite pressurised for many things, this is not the safest sport all the time, there is some risk.
“And also the pressure to stay here in the championship, to have a good seat, let's say for the next season and for the future, the pressure is always really high. And I think one important part of the team also is to keep the pressure under control, so that rider can do his job and focus on his job. Okay, I repeat, always the focus and calmness but those things are so important. And if we can find the ways to keep the pressure down a bit, it's easier than keep the focus and calmness doing your work. My attitude and style is that I feel it’s always better to focus on your own work.”
Head across to your favoured podcast streaming platform to listen or watch the latest Last On The Brakes episode, or catch up on some you may have missed.
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