Exclusive Jordi Torres interview: “Fans’ support means a lot”
In only his first full season in Moto2, the mercurial Jordi Torres has so far often outshone his Aspar teammate, and has also taken his first win of the series. His talents have been much in demand – with rumours of a possible move to the Pons squad doing the rounds as the silly season hit full throttle. But this week it was announced that the talented young rider from Rubi will definitely be staying in the Aspar Moto2 squad for 2014 – a good thing, we reckon, seeing him remain under the wing of the pretty much legendary Jorge Martinez ‘Aspar’. We caught up with Jordi in the Aspar box at Silverstone last weekend to talk bikes, progress, winning and social media…
It’s your first full season in Moto2, and it’s come together really well, it’s a really good season. Is it different to the racing you were doing last year when you were only a part time rider? Do you feel more part of the team this year?
I think this year – my first complete year – is very different to last year or two years ago, because last year and the year before I competed in the Spanish championship (CEV) as well as in the MotoGP world championship. There are some differences in the Spanish championship: you run with Michelin tyres and another Suter chassis. And then you come to the MotoGP world championship and ride with other tyres, with Dunlops, and another Suter chassis. You need to prepare a lot mentally for this change. You have to improve your performance and times very quickly on one weekend, because the following weekend you’ll be riding another bike on different tyres.
So how has your position as full-time rider in the Asapr Moto2 squad changed all this?
This year is more important, there’s only one bike, one brand of tyres. And I only have one goal really. Last year it was important to perform well in the Spanish championships and also to have good races in the world championships. You don’t really know what’s more important. This year, I only have one direction, one goal. This is my bike, this is my team, this is my championship. This helps me to focus in my mind and push in that one direction.
And you couldn’t really have a better team to work with, it’s a great name and they have so much experience…
Yes it’s great. Before the season I didn’t think it was possible for me to get into the top ten. But with more races I started to think that more was possible. But the Moto2 class is very tight. There are a lot of fast riders, and any one out of ten riders or so could win the race. So this makes it a bit more difficult.
It’s been a very competitive season so far, the other riders are very competitive, the field has a very good standard…
I think it helped me that I worked well in the Spanish championship. I thought if I manage to stay around position 15 I’d be happy, but now I think I’d like to be in the top ten.
Have you had many technical developments through the season that have especially contributed to your own progress?
We’ve not had any development on the bike, on the Suter as such. But we’ve done a lot of work with my mechanics and technicians, e.g. on the suspension. This bike has a lot of possibilities with regards to the position of the engine and the swingarm. You can do a lot of work on the rear of the bike, and make it how you need it. This can improve your feeling on the bike a lot with regards to feedback, corner entry etc. All the work usually evolves around this, we don’t really have any new parts to test and to work with.
And of course you got your first win as well at the Sachsenring. Has that changed you at all? Has it made you more confident?
I don’t think I’ve changed a lot to be honest. But it changes things around you a bit. If you win, a lot of people start noticing you, all of a sudden you’re the centre of attention. People start seeing you.
Which is good for the career, good for the team and your sponsors….
Yes. But I think many people can sometimes then expect too much of you which isn‘t so good. If you win one race, people expect you to win more races straight away, but in such a competitive category like Moto2 it’s difficult. At the Sachsenring many good things came together, the conditions, the grip, the bike performing well, me performing well. It was a special set of circumstances that suited my riding style. During first practice I was at the top, and when you’re at the top you need to push more. You can’t sit back when you’re at the top and relax. The next race was in Indianapolis, but it’s different circumstances, another track, another riding style etc. Everything changes. In every race I have a completely different bike with regards to the setup to start work with.
So where do you go from here? What are your aims for the rest of the season?
The main aim really is to stay in the top ten in the ranking. At the beginning of the year, when I got a 10th place in practice, I was very happy. Now when I’m 10th it feels like it’s not good enough.
Have you got any favourite tracks ahead in the remainder of the season?
I’d probably say Aragón and Valencia. I’ve known the tracks for years through racing there with the Spanish championship. But for example in Aragón there is a long straight which is not so good for me because I’m heavier than other riders and I’m too tall to really tuck in behind them in the slipstream.
The other thing I wanted to talk about is social networking, Twitter, Facebook. A few years ago a rider would have a website, and it would just put out news – it was all very one-way. Nowadays you talk ‘with’ your fans, your fans talk to you, they send you their photos. That’s probably a lot of fun…?
Yes for me it’s very important to have a good relationship and to communicate with the people and fans out there. Because the people are very important, they’re your support. When I get a good result, my fans are really happy and they show you this which is very important. And when it’s not going well, you have all these people behind you supporting you which is also very important and it helps a lot.
I suppose the best example of this is your #kneeground hashtag on Twitter where you’re now regularly sharing photos from all over the world of fans doing your special #kneeground pose…
It’s funny when they send you these pictures. The #kneeground thing started really just as a joke at Le Mans, but it has really taken off… I think I have about 5000 or 7000 photos that people sent to me!
Hopefully there’ll be lots more #kneeground going on for what remains of 2013 – and not only from the fans. Jordi looks well placed to continue building on his already excellent progress, and with the 2014 contract now signed and sealed he can focus on the racing itself. Certainly the crew here at Vroom hope we’ll see plenty more of him up at the sharp end right through until Valencia.
Oh – and why not follow him on Twitter…. He’s @jorditorres81 – You could even send him a #kneeground photo of your own!
With thanks to Jordi and Team Aspar