As speculation continues that MotoGP champion Marc Marquez may try a double entry at the Valencia season finale, Jorge Martínez 'Aspar' has recalled a twin win of his own, at Brno in 1988.
While Marquez is being linked with MotoGP and Moto2, Aspar's achievement was in the 80cc and 125cc classes, claiming double wins during the '88 season in Italy, Holland, Yugoslavia and the Czech Republic.
Brno, venue for this weekend's MotoGP round, was the last time Aspar won two races on the same day and the first time it had ever happened at Brno. The Czech circuit was added to the calendar in 1987, when the Spaniard had stepped onto the second step of the podium in the 80cc class.
“Brno suddenly appeared and it was quite an unusual and revolutionary track,” said the present Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP team owner. “It was wide, with a lot of grip and particularly safe. I loved it from the first time I rode it and I had some great races there.”
1987 proved to be the launchpad to victory twelve months later, when he arrived there for the final round of a season that had already seen him crowned world champion in both categories.
All season long he had been on another level to his rivals. Derbi had seen the burning hunger in his eyes and built two bikes that had similar characteristics and provided two teams of technical staff, under the supervision of Francisco Tombas, plus an endless supply of factory material.
“The whole structure that Derbi put in place around me was essential for us to win both championships in one season,” said Aspar. “I can remember going to private tests and having six bikes available to try new things on. Sometimes I didn't even have time to change out of my leathers in between races so co-ordination was the key to our success during that magical season.”
Aspar enjoyed the intensity of racing two categories at once that he continued for two more seasons, the sacrifice and physical strain compensated for by his energy and confidence.
At times he would have to jump from the 80cc podium and run straight to the grid for the start of the 125cc race, but that 1988 season provided the pinnacle of his distinguished career.
“The Derbi-Aspar tandem was perfect. It was spectacular, and without it being so it would have been impossible to win so much. No matter how many times it happened, you never get used to winning two races on the same day, it's an indescribable feeling.”
On that late-summer Sunday of 1988 he edged out two 125cc experts in Miralles and Spaan, setting a new circuit record in the process, whilst in the 80cc race he had to battle to the end with Stefan Dörflinger.
They were different times, when all you needed to be a motorcycle racer was talent and the will to open the throttle. 'Aspar', a pioneer in so many ways, realised that there was something else you could do to go the extra mile.
“In 1985 I started to work with Miguel Maeso, a personal trainer who gave me a training plan, nutritional guide and a lot of help. I loved training and after every race I would go back home and hit it hard. I remember at the start Ángel Nieto used to give me stick for having a personal trainer when nobody else bothered, but to race in two categories at the same time I had to be very strong, both physically and mentally.”
Marquez says that his chances of racing two classes at the Valencia finale are '5%'...