Ea t, sleep, race, repeat. Motogp life
So what is life like as a Motogp superstar? We decided to ask one…
Life as a MotoGP superstar must be one full of big bucks, babes and booze, right? After all, living a 200mph lifestyle must have some serious perks, in the form of first class travel, being treated like royalty and being able to do what the hell you want.
The current crop has a lot to live up to. Bombed toilet blocks, fireworks being let off in knocking shops, wrecked hire cars, midnight races and the consumption of every illicit substance known to man was par for the course until the mid-nineties. Even after that there were plenty of japes. From rolling Max Biaggi’s car on its roof to contracting STDs from brolly dollies, to getting off your face the night before a race, this is what happens when a paddock full of testosterone lets off steam.
But like in any sport, straitened times rule. In an age when something as innocent as just getting pissed in a club can get you splashed across the front pages, the focus on riders is intense. Any misdemeanour is analysed in depth should an athlete not perform – meaning that professionalism is the name of
the game. The odd ‘fek’ from Rossi and the odd ‘fuck’ from Jack Miller is about as far as anyone strays from the script these days.
So with the pressure on, we spoke to Bradley Smith on what being a MotoGP star actually entails. We were expecting racing to dominate, along with stories of post race parties and plenty of larking about, but the truth is that preparation is everything. Hard work pays dividends, and no-one works harder than Bradley in an effort to develop his MotoGP career. So we asked him what a typical week consists of, starting from the first day of the working week, Monday, usually spent in his new home in Andorra.
“Monday is all about training. It’s usually the last of the big training days before a race weekend. I have a trainer and a program to stick to. I’ve done triathalons, so my fitness levels are pretty good to be honest. Monday is usually cardio of some sort for an hour and a half. It could be a cycle or a run, maybe mixed with a swim. We’ll have a small weights exercise in there, I do two of those a day, something like a circuits session.
“Tuesday is a rest day, exercise wise, but I’m still busy. This is when I prep everything for the weekend. I’ve got to get all my flight, hotel and car hire details printed off, that sort of stuff. I book everything, I’m really anal about this and I like to organise everything. I have to know what, where and when everything is going to happen. I’m a master on Expedia, so when this all ends if anyone needs a travel agent I’m going to be the man to go to because I’m the king of this! I’ve then got to coordinate with whoever’s coming to the races, which is usually my Dad, to make sure we’re not waiting around too much for each other.”
So what about the glamour? According to Bradley, there’s not much of it going about… “I then have to do my washing, because I live on my own now I have to do all that. I’ve never ironed, so my Mum will kill me for that! But I just have to make sure that everything’s done – all the boring stuff, the banking, cleaning, that sort of stuff, because I can be away for anything up to a month. So up to this point it’s zero glamour, it’s training and cleaning! I was living at home before and this is my first time living on my own. And to be honest, it sucks. I love home, I love Oxford and my family is very social – we’ve always spent a lot of time together. I’ve quickly realised how much my mum has done for me throughout my life. The dishes don’t do themselves, you know. Wow, I never thought I’d say that! It has made me grow up and made me be accountable for myself.”
As for first class flights, there’s not much of that in evidence with Bradley booking EasyJet if it’s convenient in Europe. “Wednesday is usually the travel day for me. It’ll be a small gym session for 35-40 minutes in the morning and then head to the airport and fly in the afternoon to meet up with the team by the evening and head to my hotel. I don’t use a motorhome because I like to enjoy going away from the track if I’m honest. I don’t like to be there all the time. It’s nice to go to a different environment and then head back to work. It’s also less noisy and then someone does your cleaning, washing and the bed’s made when
you come back!” By now, Bradley is at the track, but the day job still hasn’t kicked off. “Thursday starts off with an hour and a half cycle round the track. You meet up with some of the riders there, Cal and Nicky are usually out then, there’s a few of the boys that are well into their cycling. It can get competitive, but when it comes to Cal I have to accept defeat. He’s better than me, but when he’s got Mark Cavendish to train with on the Isle of Man I don’t need to say any more! That’s all done by midday, then it’s PR commitments from then on. So after 2pm it’s three hours of PR. It’s OK for me, and it’s just talking about the build up to the weekend, previous results, things like that. At the end of the day it’s just talking about yourself, which is not too difficult, is it? It’s part of the job, and I’ve been brought up with through the Dorna Academy. There I had cameras on me from day one. They made sure we could speak well and present ourselves, so I’ve done this since I was 14, so now I’m 23 I just see it as normal. I know I’m being paid not just to ride the bikes. The PR goes a long way towards your salary. Results help money-wise, but if people like you and sponsors like you then that’s the most important thing. Unless you’re winning races, and only one person has this year, people don’t care about the other positions, but they do care that you take time with them. Then there’s a debrief with Bridgestone, my data guy and crew chief. So we’ll look at last year’s data, the plan for the weekend. It’s 15 minutes with each. Then I’m free to go back to the hotel.”
Bradley’s contracted work begins in earnest on Friday, although it’s not as stressed as you might think. “Friday is strangely quite laid back. There’s not too much stress, but it starts to ramp up for Saturday. You’re trying to make it into qualifying from FP3, then race day. However much I try to not get worked up, it’s inevitable that you do. There’s more pressure and more expectation as the weekend progresses. Those 0.1, 0.2 time gaps make a big difference. On Friday, you might think that you’ve got a quarter of a second in your back pocket so you’re not too worried because you can pull it out for Saturday. You know you’ve got that time available just through feeling. You know whether you’ve put everything into a lap or if you’ve got a bit in reserve. Now I can tell you what lap time I can do.”
And then the lights go off and whatever happens, happens. So what about the glamour? “Glamour? It’s training, travelling, watching CNN in a hotel room and then doing my job on track. That’s it.” Er, oh...
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