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RideFast Dec 2019

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ED’S NOTES: TALKING MOTOGP S594/A “Rob, you lucky bastard – I hate you!”. That’s pretty much everyone’s opinion of me after my recent trip to the Valencia MotoGP. I really am a lucky bastard and I’m going to rub it in even more with the big spread of the trip I have put together in this issue. Just remember, jealousy makes you nasty! The trip was amazing – It was so good I was even jealous of myself when going through all the pics and videos on the flight home. I give a full run down of the trip in this issue so won’t go on too much more about that, but rather do my normal of late and Talk MotoGP! Goodbye #99 The biggest news out of the Valencia GP was that of Jorge Lorenzo announcing his retirement from motorcycle racing after a “beautiful” career as he called it. My brother Shaun and I were lucky enough to be present at the press conference, which took place on the Thursday before the race weekend and we managed to find a spot in the packed media room. Every journo, MotoGP team manager and rider was present for the “special” conference, which Lorenzo called for that morning. It was an emotional conference for all involved as Lorenzo announced that he would be ending his racing career after the Valencia race, cutting his Repsol Honda contract by a year. “Hello everyone, thank you very much to everyone who accepted my invitation and attended this press conference, it really means a lot to me and makes me very happy,” began Lorenzo. “I always thought there are four significant days in the career of a rider. Your first race, your first win, your first championship and then the day you retire. Well, as you may imagine, I’m here to tell you this day has arrived for me. I want to announce this will be my last race in MotoGP, and that at the end of this race I will retire from professional racing. “I was 3-years-old when everything started. Almost 30 years of complete dedication to this sport, my sport. The ones who worked with me, know how much of a perfectionist I am, how much hard work and intensity I put into this. Being like this requires a high level of auto motivation, that’s why after nine unforgettable years with Yamaha, without a doubt the most glorious of my career, I felt I needed a change if I wanted to maintain this high commitment with my sport. Moving to Ducati gave me that big boost I needed and even though the results were bad I used that extra motivation as fuel to not give up and finally win that special race at Mugello, in front of all the Ducati fans. After that, when I signed for Honda I got a similar feeling, achieving one of the dreams of every rider: becoming an official HRC factory rider.” The 32-year-old then began to explain why he reached the decision to retire at the end of a difficult 2019 campaign. “Unfortunately, injuries soon came to play an important role in my season, being unable to ride in normal physical conditions. This, plus a bike that never felt natural to me, made my races very difficult. Anyway, I never lost the patience and I kept fighting, just thinking that was a simple matter of time and that after all things would get into the right place. “But, as I started to see some light I had this bad crash in Montmelo test, and some weeks later that ugly one in Assen. At that point I had to admit, that when I stopped rolling into the gravel, the first thought that came into my mind was “what the hell I’m doing here? Is this really worth it? I’m done with it.” Some days later after reflecting a lot about my life and career, I decided to give it a try. I wanted to be sure I was not making an early decision. “The truth is from that crash, the hill became too high for me, and even if I tried I couldn’t find the motivation and patience to be able to keep climbing it. You know, I love this sport, I love to ride, but above all things, I love to win. I understood, that if I’m not able to fight for something big, to fight for the title or at least to fight for victories, I cannot find the motivation to keep going especially at this stage of my career. I realised that my goal with Honda, at least in a short time, was not realistic. I have to say I feel very sorry for Honda, especially for Alberto, who really was the one who trusted me and gave me that opportunity. “I remember that day in Montmelo when we meet and I told him “Don’t make a mistake signing the wrong rider Alberto, trust me and you will not regret”. very sadly, I have to say that I disappointed him, so I did to Takeo, Kuwata, Nomura San and all my team, who I have to say they always treated me in an exceptional way. However, I really feel this is the best decision for me and for the team, Jorge Lorenzo and Honda cannot be here just to score some points!” Lorenzo left the room to a massive applause by all present - fitting for a man who gave and achieved so much in the sport. It was no real surprise when Lorenzo made the announcement. He has had a torrid time of late both on and off the bike. Injuries have taken their toll on his body and mind and that was clear for all to see this season where he has just not been at the races, so to speak. Where to from here? Only time will tell if Lorenzo will come back to the sport in some form, but judging by his “When I crossed the line I finally felt free” comment after the race I don’t think we’ll be seeing him for a very long time. Still cruising after all of these years Love him, or hate him, you just have to respect Valentino Rossi. The man, at 40-years old is still going strong and has outlasted many a top rider. Stoner, Pedrosa and now Lorenzo all retired from the sport not wanting any more part in the circus that is MotoGP. I say the circus because it really is just that. These guys are almost like trained performers there to please the crowed. Over the Valencia race weekend, I watched as Rossi’s motorhome and pit garage was constantly bombarded with adoring fans, patiently waiting for their hero to come out for a pic and autograph. This got me thinking… How, after almost 30 years’ in the spotlight has this guy still managed to keep his cool and carry on? How does he still find the hunger and patience to still go through all of this at every single race, never mind wherever else he goes. I was at Valencia from Thursday ‘till the following Tuesday and couldn’t help but think; does he really just stay at the track in his motorhome the entire weekend? Most people’s answer to that question was “yes, but he has a motorhome bigger and better than most of our houses”. While I understand that, I have a beautiful house which I love, but cabin fever sets in more often than not, no matter how amazing the house is. One of my mates here used the perfect words to describe this, “it’s a prison”. That’s exactly what it is. Rossi has no choice but to stay in the paddock the entire time. He does not have the luxury of just popping out to the mall for a quick bite to eat or a movie over a race weekend and test. He literally goes from his motorhome to his pit box and chats to the same people 90% of the time. That must get to him and that alone makes his presence and competing in the MotoGP world championship very impressive. Never mind the constant bombardment from fans and media. While on the plane home I got to thinking about the whole thing and can see why riders such as Stoner, Pedrosa and now Lorenzo walk away. If it were just about riding your bike on track it would be fine, but these guys are part of an ever-growing circus where they have to perform and cater to all sponsors and fan’s needs, no matter what or when, and if they don’t then they are assholes. That’s the price you pay I guess for “Living the Dream” of being a MotoGP rider, and one that our Brad Binder is going to have to get used to very quickly. Hot property I can tell you now that in terms of hot property in the MotoGP paddock it goes like this; Marc Marquez, Fabio Quatararo and then Brad Binder, in that order. I saw it first-hand. Brad is a superstar we all know that and the respect he has earned inside the paddock is phenomenal. Walking out of the track with him and big names like Gigi Dall’igna (Ducati MotoGP guru) and Davide Brivio (Suzuki MotoGP Team Manger) all stop Brad to have a conversation. Fans shout “Binder, Binder, Binder every time they see him and crowd around to get a snap shot and autograph. He is KTM’s property now but come 2021 the Austrians will do very well to hang onto the SA superstar as the rest are lined-up at the door ready to acquire his services. It was an honour having been with Brad from day one back in 2008, to see just how well respected he is and I am so proud of the man/rider both he and his brother Darryn have become. Spending the race weekend not only with them but also Trevor and Sharon Binder was awesome and they made the experience that much sweeter so to them I say a big thank you and well done on all the success and may there be plenty more in the future! So, go on and enjoy this amazing bumper issue we have put together for you and please don’t send me any more “I hate you” messages after seeing the Valencia spread. Until next month/year, I wish you all nothing but the best and hope you have a merry Christmas and a happy and blessed new year! Thanks for all the support!!! Rob Portman DUNLOPTYRESSA EDITOR & DESIGNER: Rob Portman PUBLISHER: Glenn Foley ADVERTISING: Sean Hendley bestbikemagazines 071 684 4546 OFFICE & SUBSCRIPTIONS: Anette anette.acc@ 011 979 5035 CONTRIBUTORS: Sheridan Morais Brad Binder Darryn Binder Gerrit Erasmus Eugene Liebenberg Niel Philipson Greg Moloney Daniella Kerby Michael Powell Brian Cheyne Donovan Fourie Shaun Portman Mat Durrans Copyright © RideFast Magazine: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, articles, or other methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher. RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2019 1