The smile that has accompanied him from celebration to celebration still lights up his face. ‘Aspar’ found happiness last Sunday. At the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, which he himself helped give rise to some twelve years ago, he saw one of his riders – a product of the Cuna de Campeones – crowned 125cc World Champion. Not only that but it was a young man from Valencia, Nico Terol, his pride and joy, who finally followed in his footsteps. ‘Aspar’ waved goodbye to the 125cc era with a fourth title in six seasons and although the hard work starts all over again next week for now he is enjoying the moment.
You have always said that to see a rider from Valencia become a World Champion with the BANKIA Aspar Team would be a dream come true…
It is incredible. In a way it has taken a huge weight off our shoulders because we have finally completed a project that began twelve years ago with the creation of the Ricardo Tormo circuit and the ‘Cuna de Campeones.’ All I can say is that I have been feeling very happy since Sunday. This title is the culmination of a lot of hard work between the Ricardo Tormo Circuit, the Cuna de Campeones, Julián Miralles, the BANKIA Aspar Team and so many people who have been fundamental in this success.
Nico Terol is a ‘product’ of the Cuna de Campeones and the latest ambassador for the Comunidad Valenciana. . . what is the next step?
The nice thing about this team and this project is that we never stop dreaming or moving forward. The objective now is to improve our Moto2 effort and start winning there too. We also want to consolidate a major future project in CRT. The MotoGP World Championship is changing a lot and we want to make sure we’re involved in the changes to secure a strong and solid team.
What is the key to the longevity of the BANKIA Aspar Team at the top level of racing?
Basically it is hard work, great sponsors and of course great riders. It is an amalgamation of factors that allow us to fight every year to become World Champions. The objective of the BANKIA/MAPFRE Aspar Team is to fight to be champions at every single Grand Prix.
How big is the role of the sponsors?
Huge, because without them we couldn’t even take part in the World Championship, never mind fight to win it. When you talk about Grand Prix racing you talk about high technology and huge budgets that would not be achievable without the support of our sponsors. I want to say a personal thank you to each and every one of the Aspar Team sponsors because without them this would all be an impossible dream.
A rider from your hometown has finally picked up the mantle. How would you describe Nico Terol’s career so far and his future?
He has a huge future. He is a real fighter and a hard worker with a practically faultless approach. You have to admire the effort he has put in and the progress he has made over the past few years. He is never happy, he is always improving and I am sure that will continue in the future. He has great potential, a strong crew and a fantastic bike – all the ingredients to keep winning. If he continues in the same way he will soon be ready to challenge in Moto2.
In which races were you biting your nails the most this year?
There have been some really tough races, two in particular which were decisive. One of them was Brno, where Nico broke down, and the other was Assen when he got injured. Those two races were crucial because they were the ones that brought our rivals back in touch. Without those two setbacks I am sure Nico would have been crowned World Champion much sooner. We also suffered a lot in Malaysia, Australia and England because the conditions made life really difficult.
Four titles in six years. . .
Amazing! When I was a kid I never thought that I would one day become a World Champion even though I always had a lot of self confidence. And of course I never stopped to think that I could have my own team and be so successful. It is incredible, a dream come true to continue being part of a world I love so much and to be still winning.
What is your advice to Terol, from one champion to another?
To keep his feet on the ground and to not change. In fact one of Nico’s greatest qualities is his humility and it is what he has built himself on. I would tell him not to change as a person and to keep working as hard as he has done up to now to develop as a rider because he has a promising future ahead.
Can you see parallels between ‘Aspar’ and Terol, two champions from Valencia?
Maybe. We are both headstrong when it comes to work and the spirit of sacrifice and effort is similar but no two riders are ever the same. It is difficult to compare because each rider is an entirely different story.
Source: Aspar Media
- NBC Sports Group and MotoGP™ partner on multi-year agreement
- Navarro tops test Day 1, Roberts on the pace
- Rodrigo takes the reins on Day 1
- Grand Prix Commission decide on earlier pitlane opening
- Is 2020 Suzuki’s best World title chance in two decades?
- All you need to know about the 2020 Global Series Rounds
- Introducing… MotoGP™ Fantasy!
- This is MotoGP™: speed, rivalry and innovation