The MotoGP World Championship begins this weekend, in the unprecedented Indian GP, one of the most demanding challenges in its history. The drivers and their teams face a final stretch of the season with 16 races—eight to sprint on Saturdays and eight long ones on Sunday—in 10 weeks. The calendar includes only two free weekends in two months of competition, until its outcome in the Valencian Community GP, which closes the competition on November 26. This concatenation of grand prizes, which includes seven events in Asia and Oceania, will push the runners to their physical and mental limits.
“Mentally, the biggest challenge is turning the page. You have to do it whether it went well or badly for you, but it is more difficult to turn the page on something recent than on something that happened two weeks ago,” Pep Font, sports psychologist and motor sports coordinator at the High Performance Center (CAR), explains to EL PAÍS. ) from Sant Cugat del Vallés. “On a physical level, additional measures will have to be implemented than usual, it is evident that you need to do something more or something different from the usual regime,” he adds.
“Eight grand prix in 10 weeks is crazy. It’s going to be very demanding. We will try to maintain concentration, but also the relaxed atmosphere and fun in the garage,” says Aleix Espargaró, the oldest driver on the grid at 34 years old. “On a mental level it will be hard, but I will bring the family to some races to make it more bearable,” he adds. Captain from Aprilia. Jorge Martín, second in the table, 36 points behind the leader, Pecco Bagnaia, agrees with his colleague and neighbor in Andorra: “The hardest thing is the mental part, being away from home for so long.”
Each one will use different formulas to manage stress in the body and mind. Some will return home and others will stay around the continent disconnecting in their own way. Martín, curiously, will avoid longer flights and go surfing in Bali to recharge his batteries between Japan and Indonesia. Those who have families will return to see their little ones.
“The most common resource is to watch a series or play video games. The important thing is to analyze if this really allows them to disconnect effectively, if it allows them to forget about the competition until the time is right. Entering race mode early can be a problem,” says Pep Font, who has worked with several riders on the current MotoGP grid.
Runners like Pol Espargaró use other techniques to disconnect and relax. The GasGas pilot used cross stitch in the past and now always tries to find a time to play the piano before going to sleep. “Everyone has their resources and their plans, the important thing is to be aware of the importance of disconnection,” says the psychologist.
The pilots have no choice but to accept reality, lower their visor and prepare for the sprint end of season. The first challenge, as if that were not enough, will be to tame the Buddh circuit, which is making its debut in the discipline after more than a decade without hosting a major international event. Between 2011 and 2013, the Indian track hosted a round of the Formula 1 World Championship, and to host the highest category of two wheels it has undertaken necessary reforms in terms of safety. On a blank canvas, all drivers arrive with maximum expectations and a desire to shine.
You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes in Facebook y Twitterclick here to receive our weekly newsletter.