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Q&A: Juan Martínez (Repsol Honda)

Valentino Rossi, Sete Gibernau, Alex Barros, Loris Capirossi, Mick Doohan…these are some of the riders who have worked with Juan Martínez, who is now with the Honda 125cc and 250cc teams as overall boss and technical consultant. Having gained experience working with several World Champions in the top category, Juan Martínez this season has to tackle the challenge of collaborating with up and coming riders in the World Championship….

Question:
When did you begin working in the world of motorbikes?

Juan Martínez:
I began back in 88 or 89. I was 15 and I liked bikes. It all began one summer when I began to work in a workshop opposite my house to make it easier for my mum to control me. I went there and stopped studying. I don't recommend it, but I was hooked on motorbikes. It was a normal workshop, importing Fantic and distributing Yamaha. I worked there 3 years until I had to do military service. When I went back after the “mili” I began to work with Showa, they gave me a chance to join their competition department. They needed a guy to learn all about suspension and since then – that was back in 94 – I have been working in the World Championship.

Q:
Which riders have you worked with?

JM:
At Showa I was lucky enough to be with many great riders like Mick Doohan, Valentino Rossi, Luca Cadalora, Alex Barros, Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau. The list is endless because at Showa we also helped teams like Montesa–HRC in trial, and this let me work with riders like Amós Bilbao, Dougie Lampkin and Marc Colomer.

Q:
Can you explain what exactly you do and your responsibilities in the Repsol Honda 125cc and 250cc teams?

JM:
I am the technical co-ordinator in the 125cc team. I am the technical consultant in the 250cc team: If the technicians have something to ask or want to know my opinion about something, I am there to try and help.

Q:
How do you see the category 125cc, the level of the riders and bikes?

JM:
I think at the moment there is a power vacuum in 125cc. What do I mean? That there is no real leader like Pedrosa or Bautista were in their day. Now in some races it is Talmacsi, in others Pasini… It seems that this whole generation of riders with more experience is perhaps waiting for a new leader in the category to arrive. These are cycles that occur every few years and at the moment there is a vacuum, without leaders.

Q:
And the 250cc class?

JM:
We can all see that, referring to results, Lorenzo is making perfect use of the technical advantages he may have. Obviously once you have this type of advantage you have to be able to make use of them and get the best out of them, something that he has been doing so far. I am sure that the Aprilia is now a step ahead of the Honda. Honda's business policy means that bike development has stopped on both the 250cc and 125cc machines, which means we are handicapped. Anyway, what we intend is to do is to get the best possible performance of what we have with our riders. Even Dovizioso, when he has things at 100%, cannot be there.

Q:
What is your opinion on MotoGP?

JM:
This is an era of total transition. We have found ourselves with a new displacement, new regulations for the tyres and I think that everything is conditioned a little by Dani Pedrosa's adaptation to the category. The fact that he has to evolve a motorbike in his second year in the category along with the obstacle that the tyres for the whole weekend have to be chosen on the Thursday are added problems to the inherent difficulty that racing in this category has. At Ducati they have worked very well and Stoner is taking advantage better than anybody else because apart from the motorbike working well he is also doing things perfectly. Valentino is doing what he has always done and what he has been. He is a born fighter, independently of the technical weaknesses on the machine, or a lack of speed compared to the Ducati. In spite of all that he is still there, on the lookout and if Stoner makes a mistake, at any moment he can pass him.

Q:
As an expert in the top category, how do you see the change to 800cc?

JM:
I really do not know the true motive that brought this change. For sure any type of change in a category stimulates the people involved, the desire to work, to modify things… If not, in the end the category sort of stagnates, the people, at all levels, not only at the level of mechanics; the riders too, etc… There comes a time when you have to change something in the category so that the whole championship is stimulated. Even to attract people from outside the world of motorbikes.

Q:
Do you miss your previous work you in MotoGP?

JM:
Not really. Obviously from the outside it may look like a demotion the fact that you are not in MotoGP. But I think it is very important how you face any challenge in your life, whatever you do and that the category has more or less impact. If you tackle anything you do in life with a good attitude, that in the end makes you feel at ease with yourself. You should not live thinking about the could have been, or on what I did. You have to try to enjoy the moment wherever you are.

Q:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Bradley Smith (GBR), Repsol Honda 125, Honda, 38, 2007 125 Grand Prix World Championship,
Esteve Rabat (ESP), Repsol Honda 125, Honda, 12, 2007 125 Grand Prix World Championship,  Round 9, Assen, Netherlands, 30 June 2007
Shuhei Aoyama, German 250GP 2007
Jack Miller - CWM LCR Honda
Jack Miller - CWM LCR Honda
Jack Miller - CWM LCR Honda
Jack Miller - CWM LCR Honda
Jack Miller - CWM LCR Honda
Jack Miller - CWM LCR Honda
Jorge Martinez `Aspar` presents Marc Marquez with 2014 MotoGP world champion certificate at FIM Awards (Pic: Aspar)
Enea Bastianini makes Honda debut (pic: Gresini)
Esteve Rabat testing for 2015 (pic: Marc VDS)
Enea Bastianini makes Honda debut (pic: Gresini)
Esteve Rabat testing for 2015 (pic: Marc VDS)
Smith, Valencia MotoGP test, November 2014
Smith crash, Valencia MotoGP test, November 2014
Smith crash, Valencia MotoGP test, November 2014
Smith crash, Valencia MotoGP test, November 2014

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