Last Monday we notified you that we were going to attend a meal sponsored by Abanderado with Ángel Nieto. It is an honor to share a table with the most awarded Spanish rider in history and we let you know to prepare a series of questions, both from the editors of Motorpasión Moto and from you, the readers. What happens is that plans are one thing and results are another, because sitting at the table with Ángel Nieto, the first thing that teaches you is that plans are worthless and it is he who sets the pace of the meal, just as he did in the races.
So do not expect a list of questions and answers organized to use as if it were a formal interview, Ángel Nieto is not like that. As soon as you start talking to him you have the feeling that you have known him your whole life and its closeness and personal magnetism leads you to relax like when you share a table with a good friend. I think I'm not wrong when I say that everyone present at the meal enjoyed like dwarfs their comments, anecdotes and others. I am going to try to put in this article everything that I have "written down" in my head.
First of all, Angel made his entry into the booth that they put us in. The mission (C / José Silva, 22) as it should be done. While the summoned bloggers were getting to know each other, he appeared at the door and with a simple hello he filled the entire room. Damn if it's the voice I've heard at races all my life, and it sounds just like it does on TV. We all introduced ourselves and sat down at the table again. As luck would have it, I had to be by her side and I could appreciate that vibration that special people transmit.
Almost without leaving time for them to serve us the first drink, we began to riddle him with questions, Do you use a motorcycle every day? What do you think of the new categories? Which current driver do you like the most? What did you think when the Americans landed at the World Cup? At that moment I realized that at the speed we were going couldn't take notes or anything like that, so I put my ear in record mode and started enjoying the moment.
The first thing Nieto made clear to us is that he doesn't ride a motorcycle down the streetHe only uses a BMW in summers when he is in Ibiza, and because it is loaned to him every year. And the second thing is that since he hung up the monkey he has been on very few competition motorcycles. He shared the lap of honor with Jorge Lorenzo on the Isle of Man, at the last Jarama Vintage Festival he gave a few laps on Agostini's MV Agusta and A few days ago he tested the Aprilia 125 from Terol and one of the new Moto3. Regarding Nico Terol's Aprilia, he says that things have changed a lot since his time. The bike runs more or less the same as the ones he was riding, but now that top speed comes much earlier. Everything else is better, chassis, brakes, tires, suspensions. If he says that even in second he noticed how the front end was unloaded and that he assures that he did not hit the top.
Of the current pilots he says that the one with the most future is Marc Márquez, even his face lights up when he names it. And that says a lot about him, who is still passionate about watching young people on the track. De Dani Pedrosa says that he is one of the finest riders on the grid, but his small stature works against him when it comes to fighting with the Honda. Of the other current pilots, he only told us that in his opinion Casey Stoner is a very serious boy, almost too much, who is only interested in running. This led us to ask him about the relationship between the pilots of his time and the current ones. While he said that in his time, when he finished a race, there were many who went to party, now the pilots are considered “kidnapped” by his environment because they finish and take them to the hotel. He, true to his style, as soon as he finishes his degree, he continues to party as soon as he can.
Returning to the topic of current motorcycles, he told us that although the Moto3 It is not one of the fastest things that has been climbed, has great potential and ensures that we will soon see them evolve. Regarding the CRT category, his opinion is that to reduce costs it would also be convenient to implement the single switchboard with regime limitation. This way, more affordable motorcycles would be obtained, because according to their own words it cannot be that an official motorcycle costs three million. This would imply that the SBK were transformed (or simply returned) to be street bikes put on the circuit, and the MotoGP were prototypes but affordable. Here reminds us that DORNA also has a hand in SBK, and leave the idea there.
This topic led us to the importance of mechanics, at which point Ángel told us that in his time he had between 15 and 20 people in his team. But one of the most important was the engineer who shared time between the factory and the races and who (literally) was the composer of the music that he later played. Reminded us that Ángel Nieto owes 8 of his World Cups to Jan Thiel, who accompanied him in the adventure of several brands and who was the one who got into a test bench with the engine to get the last tenth of CV out of it. As you can see years ago, he had already signed the pilot together with his team of mechanics and engineers. Although Nieto insists that now one of the most important uncles in a team is telemetry, which is who has in his hand all the data about how the motorcycle is doing. Remember that with their motorcycles when they wanted it to run more, they adjusted the carburetion based on jets, spark plugs or compression, but now the engines are simply changed and / or the electronics are adjusted.
Of course, now the riders are playing "somewhat less" the type than in their time, because first the circuits are much safer, the bikes are much more reliable and the riders themselves are much more prepared. Nieto comments that he has ever stepped into a gym, while a current driver is a true athlete Able to enter 8 hours of gym or cycle hundreds of kilometers. We have already quoted what he thinks about some of the current pilots, but one for whom he has a special weakness is his friend Valentino rossi, which he hopes this year will be at the top fighting for the podium. Although adventure that still will not be in the fight for the world championship. He acknowledges that the World Cup owes Valentino a lot, because he has brought him closer to the public and knows how to put on a show like no one else. But he explains to us that there cannot be fifteen Valentines, that each one is the way he is and is reflected in how he celebrates the victory or simply how the race went when he got off the bike. About Valentino he also explains to us that he is the Current Barry Sheene, and he finds many similarities between the Italian and the British driver with whom he shared a good friendship.
With which does not seem to share anything is with Sito Pons, with whom he seems to maintain irreconcilable positions. He even says that if Joan Garriga had had five more horses on the Yamaha Sito he would not have a world championship. At this point someone asked him what he thought of the American pilots when they arrived at the World Championship, and Ángel Nieto, with his style, says that the ones that most caught his attention were Kenny roberts and years later Kevin Schwantz. But as soon as we remind him of Wayne rainey He returns that special sparkle to his eyes and affirms that yes, that Rainey was also one of the specials. The one who says that he also had "too much luck" was Freddie spencer, that he did not find pilots to stand up to him. At that moment he returned to the Spanish pilots to tell us that Carlos "el Tiriti" Cardus He should have at least two World Cups in his pocket, but that his inconstancy prevented him from doing so, he explains that Cardús was capable of riding seven laps to the maximum, but then he was unable to repeat the times again throughout the weekend. This put a certain Kozinski's title on a plate quite a bit. At that time we also talked about his adventure as Team Leader and the World than Emilio Alzamora he conquered without winning a race that season. Ángel defends Emilio saying that Alzamora did win races in other seasons, but ends up stating that he will never be head of any team again, because he says that it involves too much work so that later the World Cup depends on the work that others do. You can tell that the champion is still inside and If he could, he would get on the motorcycle to give himself gas.
Returning to motorcycles, Nieto especially remembers the Garelli. That special sparkle in his eyes is back again, because the Garelli was a bike that he won every Sunday for three years in a row. Of course the Derbi quotes her as her own home, and she is very grateful to them, but the apple of her eye is the Garelli. When asked what he thinks of the Derbi's upcoming closing says it's a "bitch" and that he does not understand politicians. He literally tells us that he does not understand why they focus on telling us what happened in the past and are not dedicated to solving problems and offering us a future. Here he gets very serious and says that he is worried about the future, since he has a nine-year-old son and he does not know what will become of him. Because it is clear that in Spain you live like nowhere in the world and he does not see any country to which he can emigrate.
About that future he tells us that next season he will be at the foot of the track in the GP broadcasts on Tele5 instead of the commentary booth. And he tells us with a mischievous smile that we have seen who will make up the new team of journalists. We say yes Denis noyes, or Mela Wednesday and he tells us that his new partner in the pits will be Lara Alvarez. And it is that Angel is a lot of Angel and At 65 just turned 65, he is still a Don Juan.
He also tells us about the future that he knows the difficult situation of the great prizes in Spain. But it says that the Jerez Grand Prix cannot be dropped from the calendar. That it is the best GP in the world, well ahead of tests like Brno and light years ahead of tests like Qatar, which he tells us is the sheikh's whim, with very nice facilities but in the middle of nowhere. Of the current circuits he speaks very well of the one in Shanghai, which is spectacular and tells us that to move around the circuit the times he has been there directly, he buys a Scooter for 60 euros on the first day in the "Chinese" at the entrance and that when the GP ends, he gives it to someone who works there.
On the subject of the circuits we also talked for a long time, his favorite from when he was running was Assen, the old layout. Although he has run in places as strange as Nurburgring, a circuit to which he says that he would leave a few days before the race and with a street motorcycle he would dedicate himself to spinning (paying them one by one) to learn it. It is amazing how years later he recites the section that goes to the carousel as if he were seeing it at the time. He also speaks highly of Mugello, of which he says that it is a very difficult circuit and that thanks to the reforms that have been made to it now it is very safe. But without hesitation, his favorite circuit is Jerez, for the fans and for the atmosphere during the Grand Prix.
As you can see, the food gave a lot of itself, I even think I left things in the pipeline, but the fact is that of the two hours originally planned we left the restaurant at almost six in the afternoon. More than anything because Ángel Nieto is such a kind, close and funny person that time passes by almost without you realizing it. Surely it will be because when you talk to him he looks you in the eye, and he is not one of those people who dispatches a question with a yes or no, he always has a phrase to explain what you ask him and He makes it very clear to you what he thinks without cover-ups or embellishments, but without losing that close and friendly tone.
One of the largest, which has all the affection of the public (whether or not they are fond of the world of motorcycles) but who the institutions seem to be half forgotten there, along with their museum in Madrid, which does not seem to be going through the best of times and that according to what they commented on the food is located in a facility that needs a good remodeling and publicity so that it can remain open.
As icing on the cake, I told him that one of my earliest racing memories includes him in a Grand Prix start in which, as was more or less usual, it did not turn out too well. I, who would then be about 11 or 12 years old, asked my older cousins what was wrong with Nieto, that he was not going to win, and my cousins told me not to worry, that Nieto was going to happen to all of them right away and that even while I was passing them I would touch their ass to "piss them off" Since then I have lived with this doubt about whether that would be true or not and Nieto, after the explanation, laughed and told me that yes, that "maybe" was So…
Thanks to Abanderado for the invitation, it has been one of the most interesting experiences I have ever had.
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