Only three Spanish drivers have achieved a Formula 1 podium, and one of them is Pedro Martínez de la Rosa. The Spaniard, who has represented Repsol in the past, is currently serving as an advisor for a team in Formula E. De la Rosa analyses the sensation that is Marc Márquez after his fellow countryman took a seventh World Championship win.
Being a car driver, do you also have an interest in motorcycle racing? Who would be your favourite rider, both now and of all-time?
Since I was little I’ve loved motorcycles. In fact, I started riding motorcycles before going into karts. My first bike was a Montesa Cota 25, although before that I had taken my first steps with a Mini Marcelino that had four wheels so that I wouldn’t fall off. My first accident was also on a motorcycle, when I was only four years old; I was riding with a Mini Marcelino and the throttle jammed. I remember hitting the wall of the garage!
My favorite rider has always been my cousin, Alberto Puig, of course. Before he competed, the rider that I liked the most was Sito Pons, and in 500cc it was Wayne Gardner. One of the most incredible things that has happened to me was driving alongside Wayne Gardner in the Japanese GT Championship. It was an experience!
In your family you have your cousin, Alberto Puig, who is now Team Manager for Repsol Honda. How do you see him performing in that position?
Alberto has very clear ideas; he has been like that since he was little. He knows exactly what he wants and has this innate quality of knowing how to demand 100% from his team, among other things because he demands 100% of himself. His degree of determination is at a maximum and so, whatever he does, he will always succeed.
What do you think of the close nature of MotoGP races this season?
This year I haven’t followed MotoGP so closely. Between F1 races and Formula E races, I haven’t had any free weekends. I have always loved the mechanical equality of motorcycle racing, which makes the rider the thing that makes the difference. This is what I like most about the sport and is what F1 should aspire to; greater mechanical equality so that the driver becomes more important.
Marc Márquez has won seven titles in eleven seasons –five in six years in MotoGP. What do those numbers tell you?
He’s a monster! Marc [Márquez] is probably the best rider in the history of motorcycle racing. The new generations are more complete than the previous ones, since they started riding earlier, they have faced more riders and, therefore, they have learned at a higher level. Marc is a clear example of this. Also, I love how he is away from the track. He’s a guy who transmits happiness and who enjoys competing, riding and being on the limit.
With the title in his grasp, did you expect him to fight for the victory last Sunday?
Yes, I expected it; In fact, I would have been surprised if he decided to play it safe. Everyone is the way they are, and Marc is true to his style.
At 25 years old, what future do you think awaits him?
I think he will continue to win World Championships and beat Valentino Rossi for the most number of MotoGP titles. If he doesn’t succeed, then it doesn’t matter: I only hope that both in victory and in defeat, he never changes.
For many years, MotoGP in Spain has meant Dani Pedrosa. What would you highlight about his career?
With his name, “Pedrosa “, and my name, “Pedro de la Rosa”, foreigners always joke and tell me that we have the same name. They say it with a foreign accent, and it’s pretty funny!
For many years, I have been a big fan of Dani Pedrosa. Alberto [Puig] spent many years of his life working with him and we love him. I’m impressed by his ability to work hard and how he has overcome all his injuries. He is a very precise rider and I have always liked his style, which is very similar to that of Formula 1: Less drift but very effective.
Finally, we know that at Motegi you have been one of the fastest drivers ever. What memories does the circuit bring back for you?
I remember driving on the oval on the day of its inauguration –in 1997– with my F3000 alongside Honda’s historic cars. I also remember fondly winning the Formula Nippon race (F3000). It was a very important victory, as it put me very close to winning the championship. And if my memory serves me right, I still hold the circuit record.