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I recently had the joy and pleasure of speaking with Joe Roberts, the American Moto2 racer. He is a racer to watch in 2018 as he will be racing the entire 2018 Moto2 season for RW Racing.
His presence in the circuit brings the excitement of an American racer back to the paddock and will certainly lead to a stronger fan base at races in America and abroad. This up and coming racer is an extremely positive and likable person and I will enjoying cheering for his success in the 2018 season.
Joe Roberts started riding all things two wheeled at a young age, first a bicycle at just one and a half years old and progressing to a 50cc motorcycle at age three. His formative years were spent in the Hollywood Hills riding with his father, a big influence and support to him and his love of two wheeled adventures. As his skills progressed and as time went on, he began competing in races at five to six years old, along the way trying many different disciplines before landing on mini road racing. This is where a true connection was made – the flow and speed really worked for him and the door opened to a long-term racing career. His father was, and still is, a huge part of his racing always willing to make sacrifices and encourage him in his journey. He states that his entire family has all been incredibly patient and committed to helping him in his racing career. To this day his father attends all of his races, assists in training, and works in his management.
As with any other athletic discipline, a big part of a racer's life is spent training and preparing for the actual race day. What does this look like in the daily life of a motorcycle grand prix racer? For Joe, training entails different areas of focus: physical training, time spent on a motorcycle honing his riding skills, and mental attentiveness. Physically, as with many other grand prix racers a lot of Joe’s physical training takes place on a bicycle. This means he spends some time on a road bike planned wisely to avoid the hazards of Los Angeles traffic but more often he rides a mountain bike. Mountain biking can be found within close proximity of his home which makes it an enjoyable training tool. In addition to time in the saddle, there is gym time focusing on strength but not bulk. Bulking up would not be a good idea for a racer taller than most of his competition. So, this work really is done smarter not harder. His training on a motorcycle consists of time spent practicing different disciplines of motor sports: one motocross training day, one flat track day and one super moto day within each week of training. As for mental training, you can get a sense of how focused and positive Joe is when talking about this piece of his regimen. He adopts a very consistent approach to this training always aiming to meet his previous lap times or to meet a consistent objective every time around the track. He mentioned that it is important not to weigh your position in any particular race or your time in any particular race too heavily but rather look at the big picture – always reminding yourself you can improve, work hard and attain your goals.
Early inspiration came to Joe from his hero the late Nicky Hayden, fellow American and Moto GP champion in 2006. But his current inspiration comes from his results in the five races he did 2017 placing tenth in Brno, his debut race. Fellow racer Franco Morbedelli’s career has a positive influence as well; since he came up from European Superstock 600 in 2013 and over the course of the next years he went on to win the 2017 Moto2 World Championship. Franco Morbedelli aptly illustrates that a change of disciplines can be an extremely wise move for a racer and spending time learning and perfecting techniques can result in a big payoff.
When asked how it felt to be the only American in the motorcycle grand prix racing right now and how he is treated as an American in a sport somewhat underrepresented in America, he states that on the track and within the racing community this doesn’t affect him much. With other racers it is more a matter of talent – who is fast, who might get in the way, and who has a strong presence on the track. Your racing roots are not so important in comparison to these factors. His origin did attract the attention of the commentators and media, though. He received heaps of media attention over the course of his five races in Europe in 2017. As for the future of the sport in the American community, he believes plenty of talent and promising athletes exist in America and many could advance but it takes a lot of sacrifice and work to succeed long-term in racing.
When asked about his travels as a racer he acknowledges there are times where his experiences are dictated by the expectations of the team and the schedule of the races, but he does try to have unique encounters every place he travels. He prioritizes striking out on his own to soak up local atmosphere, culture and scenery.
Outside of racing Moto 2 bikes professionally he does not ride a motorcycle on the streets of Los Angeles for leisure but keeps the option open for some time in the future. At this point, his life is busy with racing and training which does not leave much time to explore the option of riding a motorcycle for just for fun. Finally, when not racing Joe enjoys the music of many genres and eras citing that music also inspires and engages him. He regularly attends live music close to his home in California which has a brilliant and diverse music scene.
Speaking with Joe Roberts was a real treat for me and I am looking forward to following him in the 2018 season. He is an athlete to keep an eye on as he undoubtedly will progress through the category and achieve success in his racing career. I am looking forward to it.
life of moto
Oh winter, you terrible time of the year where I am stuck indoors hibernating with no MotoGP to keep me warm and happy.
I am forced to dream of Qatar in March and lament the financial responsibilities that keep me here in freezing, snowy Bend, Oregon. I know in March it will still be freezing, cold and miserable in Bend and it will be hot and full of excitement in Qatar. Here in Central Oregon we don’t get a break from winter until at least May and some years closer to July. Yuck. My mind wanders into crazy places – maybe I can win the lottery and go to every race in 2018. I don’t even play the lottery! This will never happen. Not to mention, right now there are so few GP tidbits to keep me “grounded”. Hmmm, I see that Jorge Lorenzo has taken a vacation. That will keep my attention for a nanosecond or two. Well look at that, Marc Marquez is beating a drum with some people from Honda. Ummmm, that is not really that interesting. I want to see Marc Marquez beat track records and opponents, not drums. I need some real Moto GP action in my life. The wonder of being in Valencia for the championship is officially wearing off. The thrill of Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez dueling it out to the finish is but a fleeting memory at this point. Remember when Jorge Lorenzo was holding his position despite the "mapping eight" message from his team. Those were good times. I miss those times. Well, since I know there is nothing really happening until the next testing round in January (JANUARY!) I will focus on other things. Look for random musings in my Hodge Podge section. I do have an article in the works so check back for news on that. It is imminent so don't wait too long to check in with me. Happy Winter GP people! Stay strong, my friends!
Life of moto
Big news everyone... Wait for it...
Life of Moto will be representing at Valencia for the season championship closing! Stay tuned for all the goods from Spain - maybe even a few Moto3 tidbits.
Okay, I have been asked this a number of times. I am not trying to hate on Moto3 as I know that it is an exciting, competitive, and aggressive category of motorcycle racing and worthy of coverage. It is simply a matter of time. This season I haven’t had the time to properly dedicate to Moto3 but just wait, next season is right around the corner and the plan is to watch ever free practice, qualifying and race in 2018. And I will write about it, too. So, brace yourself people – winter is coming!
Phillip Island 2017-
Wow, these are action packed times for us lovers of MotoGP. It seems like we were just cheering at Motegi and one week later here we are once again at beautiful Phillip Island. I can’t get enough of these races, just feeding my addiction. Here’s we have a little something about qualifying and races.
Let me just start by saying what on Earth is happening to Tom Luthi? What happened to his fire? He did not look his usual fast, smooth and unstoppable self at Phillip Island. Mattia Pasini really was himself (his new and improved self, perhaps). He was so FAST. This speed and aggression landed him yet another pole position making this the year of Pasini. Miguel Olivera was on top of his game along with teammate Brad Binder. What a weekend for the KTM riders, they really were on fire! The German rider Marcel Schrötter looked better than ever, too. I always love to see an unexpected face on the grid and Schrötter was our man over the weekend. This superb qualifying gave us a front row start of Mattia Pasini, Marcel Schrötter in second and Miguel Olivera in third leaving me wondering what happened to Franco Morbidelli, Tom Luthi and Alex Marquez.
Cal Crutchlow sure has been crashing a lot lately, he crashed again in qualifying. You know, I love me some Cal Crutchlow but man the crashing is painful to watch. I wrote in my notes “Dovi just puttering along”. Now, of course I know he isn’t puttering at all because he is in fact moving extremely quickly but in comparison there was some puttering happening. Is Phillip Island not a Ducati track? I didn’t see anything great happening for Jorge Lorenzo and Danilo Petrucci either. Johann Zarco was a man with a mission for speed and he was finding that speed in qualifying. The rookie was a wildly fast again. Also notably fast was Maverick Viñales. Does it kind of go without saying that Marc Marquez fast, aggressive and gave a solid performance. Doesn’t he always? The grid ending up being Marc Marquez in pole, Maverick Viñales in second and wild Johann Zarco in third. As a side note, Valentino Rossi landed a 7th start and Andrea Dovizioso landed an 11th starting spot – ouch.
Moto2 race day-
Oh, race day how we love you. The day we all we all look forward to all week long. I simply must keep this brief because already Sepang has happened. Get a move on, Emily! Mattia Pasini got taken downtown by Marcel Schrötter in the first moments of the race which was a serious let down considering his pole position start. There was a collective scream of disappointment heard around the world, okay maybe just the moto world. This Moto 2 race was a serious KTM race with both Miguel Olivera and Brad Binder flying around the track. Alex Marquez had had a mistake that took him out into the grass and had him clawing his way out of 11th place this race. Not where we were hoping to see our friend Alex this weekend especially since he and Miguel Olivera are so incredibly close in the championship spot. There were many moments of nail-biting excitement in this race including a touch between Brad Binder and Franco Morbidelli. DON’T crash out! Speaking of crashing out, Takaaki Nakagami did that. It has been a tough end of season for him. In the end of it all, Franco Morbidelli wound up in third just after Brad Binder in second and Miguel Olivera in an astonishing and exciting first place finish. A KTM one and two is not such a bad thing for the KTM guys – maybe just a few celebrations happening there. A great, great race is all I can say to sum it up.
MotoGP race day-
This Phillip island race was most definitely the most exciting race of the season and possibly the most exciting race in recent history. Holy cow, they were overtakes on top of overtakes on top of even more overtakes. There we close calls, bikes touching, fiery crashes, disappointments and surprises. It was a heart-stopper to say the least. Valentino Rossi is back on his game, so very old school Rossi. He was in the fight and looking good. Such a great thing to see from him after such a tough time in Motegi. Jack Miller started hot but couldn’t hold it in the long-term. Still though, he did great work and had a very honorable race. There were just some seriously tough characters out front who were ready and able to fight. It was a full contact sport this race day. My explanations will not do this race justice so just watch it if you haven’t. In the end of this thriller we had Marc Marquez in first, Valentino Rossi in second (SECOND!) and Maverick Vinales in third. Take a deep breath everyone, we can breathe again. And away we go to the last two races.
life of moto
Hooray for Motegi! Those long breaks are tough on a Moto GP fan. We waited three long weeks for this race and we were rewarded with some exciting material. Again and as always, for all you official facts and figures you know where to go. This is just one woman’s observations.
Rain, rain, rain and more rain in Motegi. It looked so miserable out there it was almost painful to watch but we couldn’t look away. I really only have a few notes about free practice and qualifying for Moto 2. I might have been too focused watching to write many notes. It was nice to see Alex Marquez back to his usual physical condition and giving it his all again. He did spend some time in the garage with a throttle problem in qualifying but he more than made up for it landing the second place spot on the grid. Only outpaced by the hometown favorite Takaaki Nakagami who landed pole position. Hafizh Syahrin is such a pleasure to watch in these conditions – each lap seems faster than the previous and it’s nice to have a different rider in the mix. He was smooth, focused and in control over the weekend. The championship front runners, Franco Morbidelliand Thomas Luthi, had a super tough time of it ending up starting WAY back on the grid. Luthi started at the 13th spot and Morbedelli at the 15th. Ouch. The top three were Nakagami in pole, Marquez in second, Xavi Vierge in third, which is really a great spot for him.
A few notes about Moto GP free and qualifying, too. I simply must mention the Cal Cruthlow crash that took down Jorge Lorenzo. An out of nowhere take-down for poor old Lorenzo. This season has been Lorenzo eating humble pie. I don’t know if he actually feels this way but I certainly feel this way for him. He just can’t catch a break. Danilo Petrucci was beyond solid this weekend and it was a complete pleasure and joy to see. Additionally, let’s just give a big hats off to Johann Zarco for achieving a rookie year pole position – a job very well done for him. Oh, Rossi. That’s all I can say about that. Not his best weekend but we all know better things are coming. He will surprise us yet. Unfortunately though, his starting place was set at 12th on the grid. The grid ending up like this: Johann Zarco in pole, Danilo Petrucci second and Marc Marquez rounded out the front row in third. It’s worth noting that Andrea Dovizioso was only able to manage starting in 9th place which in no way dictated his race day performance.
Moto2 Race Day-
I actually only have a few things about Moto 2 race day in Motegi, too. First, Alex Marquez really rocked this race. A great win for him. Hafizh Syahrin again proves he is the master of rain. His anthem could be “I am the rain king” circa 1990’s Counting Crows. And Vierge had a superb race, too. Similar to the starting grid was the finishing grid (is that a thing?). I just have to put it out there – good luck in Moto GP, Takaaki Nakagami. This will be an interesting show to watch unfold next year. This short race ending in disappointment for our Championship leaders ending in 8th for Morbidelli and 11th for Luthi but this just keeps the races fun and the championship interesting. On to Moto GP which was a completely epic show!
MotoGP Race Day-
You couldn’t take your eyes off this race even for a nanosecond. It was an action packed, nail-biter for sure. Lorenzo started out hot but fizzled out a few laps in – humble pie again?! It was a remarkable race for the Suzuki team in Motegi - Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins were looking better, stronger and fasterthan ever in this race. It must feel like a huge weight lifted off of Andrea Iannone shoulders after a season full of struggles. So, congratulations to him and to team Suzuki Ecstar. My main Boss, Valentino Rossi crashed out. Boo! At least he didn’t re-injury his leg and will be ready to go for Phillip Island which will be upon us shortly. Fingers crossed for a good outcome for the Boss. Let’s just move right on to the most exciting, riveting part of this race - the final fight to the finish with our championship leaders Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez. I think I didn’t breathe for the entirety of the last lap it so intense and so aggressive. In my notes I summed it up with this statement “That was the craziest lap EVER”. In the end Marc just made one small mis-step leading to a wobble which opened the door for Dovi to take the top step on the podium and an epic celebration for the Ducati garage. I can honestly say I have never seen that type of energy from Luigi Dall’Igna, Ducati Manager. This race made the championship so close and extremely captivating. I literally cannot wait for Phillip Island.
Hodge Podge observations-
Dovi and Marquez are the true definition of sportsmanship. They are handling the pressure of this championship with such grace. I am looking forward to the continuation of this battle.
life of moto
How did I, an environmentalist, hippy mama, coffee enthusiast, parent teacher organization attending, laundry by the boat-load doing, kid’s soccer coaching, child argument mediating, vegetarian from Bend, Oregon wind up loving this sport of Grand Prix Motorcycle racing? We are an improbable pair – Moto GP and I. But, in life’s journey full of twists and turns, sometimes we will find our passion in unexpected places. I have most certainly found a part of my heart in Moto GP racing. It's an obsession as anyone who follows it knows. Our family plans vacations around the potential of catching a race, we incessantly text with friends about which racers look good and what is happening on the track, and our Sundays are scheduled around watching the race first thing. Everything else takes a backseat to our Sunday morning Moto GP ritual. Our old friends, the one’s that know us as the above-mentioned types of people, all along watching in utter confusion bordering on horror.
So, how did I get here? Well, let's rewind a few years. My guy and I were the typical couple in our corner of the world. I spent my free moments running and training, he spent his free moments mountain biking and training and we spent most of our moments raising our little maniacs. Injury and age lead to life changes. Instead of our free moments spent being the aspiring athletes we wanted to be, my husband took up riding a moto and watching moto races with our then 7 year old boy. I supported this – they could bond over this new activity and I would give it a cordial nod and about .001% of my attention while I did the dishes or whatever other household task needed attention. If you know me you know I am not one that likes doing household tasks so the fact that I chose this over the Moto GP races says something. “Sit down and watch this, it's super cool” he'd say. UMMMMM, no thank you. That's not my jam, it's a motor-head sport and a sausage fest. Nope, not for me, this mama says no thank you! Eventually I did watch it and reluctantly, at first, I did actually pay attention. What?!? This is exciting, this is cool, this is inspiring. Don't admit it, don't like it, don't actually like THIS sport. Fast forward back to the present and I follow every race, I know about every athlete, every track peaks my interest, I wait with breath that is baited for the next race to be upon us and even tires (yes, tires!) grab my attention.
So today I create this site dedicated to all things moto – The Life of Moto. Of course, a huge piece will be Moto Grand Prix racing and the life of racing and all that entails. But it is also dedicated to adventure, touring, inspiration, passion and living the life you dream of. Let's dive in and make this experience big and meaningful. My son insists I use the word BOSS on the site so, let’s make this journey boss. Also, this young man would also like the world to know that Valentino Rossi is indeed quite BOSS.