Ea t, sleep, race, re­peat. Mo­togp life

So what is life like as a Mo­togp su­per­star? We de­cided to ask one…

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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...

Bradley’s new clean­ers en­sure the bike is

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