MotoGP stars, riding champions share their secrets


Posted at Mar 14 2023 12:14 PM

Motorcycle has become a big part of the lives of Filipinos. A lot of the commuting workforce has turned to motorcycles for a fast way to get to their workplace or destination. Moreover, a lot of Filipinos have found the joy of riding motorcycles to different sites and wonders in the country, as they found camaraderie and friendship in people who have the same hobby – riding motorcycles.

As motorcycles become a big hit in the country, motorcycle sports are also becoming popular among those who have the heart for intense speed and racing. Currently, more riders are being honed and trained to compete in international competitions and take world titles.

Three of these men who have made it to the top and are part of the official Yamaha Racing Philippines Team are 'The Wonderboy' Mckinley Kyle Paz, 'Rocket Boy' April King Mascardo, and 'The Flash' Gian Carlo Mauricio. They are set to compete in races such as the Asia Road Racing Championship (ARRC) and FIM Junior Grand Prix (FIM JrGP) respectively.

Photo source: Yamaha Philippines
Photo source: Yamaha Philippines

Last March 3, 2023, in a Press Conference at the Marriott Hotel held by Yamaha Motor Philippines, as part of The APEX Arrival that is set to showcase Yamaha riders and the two Yamaha MotoGP stars – 'EL DIABLO' Fabio Quartararo and 'Franky' Franco Morbidelli, Yamaha also showcased the Filipino representatives to the two international races.

Mascardo, one of the representatives at the ARRC shares what the three of them plan to improve as their respective races are nearing.

"Improve rin po namin 'yung chemistry namin kung paano kami magi-improve para maging maganda 'yung result sa darating na karera," shares Mascardo. "Siyempre nagpapasalamat po kami sa lahat ng supporters namin lalo na sa mga boss, sa Yamaha, kase sila 'yung nagbigay ng karangalan – kumbaga it is an honor na maka-compete po doon kaya nagpapasalamat po kami." 
(We are also improving our chemistry, so that our results will turn out well in our coming race. And of course, we would like to thank all of our supporters especially the bosses at Yamaha, because they are the ones who have given us this honor – it is really an honor to compete in the competition that is why we are grateful).

Photo source: Yamaha Philippines
Photo source: Yamaha Philippines

The youngest among the racers, who almost grew up racing is McKinley Kyle Paz, racing fans have seen the young rider from start to finish until he has taken home the crown in several races. This year he is preparing for his second FIM JrGP which will be held in Europe.

 "Bali ngayon po naka-focus po ako sa unang race ko po – nung mga huling karera ko is talagang ang ganda po ng naipapakita ko so nage-expect din po ako sa sarili ko na mas maganda pa 'yung maipapakita ko," shares Paz.
(So, right now, I am focused on my first race (in the FIM JrGP). In my last race I was able to show good results which is why I am expecting myself to do and show better results).

As for their training, Paz also shares a glimpse of what they have been doing to train for their upcoming international races.

 "Bali ngayon ang ginagawa po namin sabay-sabay po kami mag training palitan po 'yung sa circuit at saka yung sa off-road. Minsan nag-g-gym kami tska nagba-bike, basta lagi kaming magkakasama," says Paz.  "Maganda rin 'yung ginagawa naming training kada-week, so 'yung bonding namin sa isa't-isa mas lalong nabubuo pa, at saka 'yung makapagshare ka sa kanila ng experience mo 'yun 'yung makakatulong din sa kanila para sa darating na race. Kumbaga isa 'yun din sa paghahanda namin."
(Right now, what we do is we train together, alternately going to the circuit and off-road. Sometimes we also go to the gym and ride bikes, we are always together. It is also good that we train every week, so our bond becomes stronger, and I am also able to share to them my experiences because it will also help them when it comes to racing. So, that is also part of our preparation.)

For riding athletes like Paz, Mauricio, and Mascardo it is important to not just have a well-running bike, but also to be physically conditioned as well to maneuver the bike to the direction of the track and withstand the speed and roughness of the road. Also, the riders also reiterate that having a good working relationship with their teammates is also what sets them apart, as they grow their trust and teamwork.

"'Yung bonding at 'yung puso namin sa isa't-isa kase lalo na kami para na kaming magkakakapatid sa isa't-isa,"  shares Mascardo, who believes that their bond is what sets them apart from other teams as they truly care about each other's well-being, safety, and progress.
(Our bonding and heart for one another is one of a kind especially because we treat each other like brothers.)

For these three representatives of the country, it is an unbelievable bliss to compete for the Philippines in the ARRC and FIM JrGP.

Photo source: Sunshine Mortel, ABS-CBN News
Photo source: Yamaha Philippines

 "Maraming maraming salamat po sa lahat ng sumusuporta sa lalo na po sa Yamaha and thank you po, kayo 'yung nagbibigay ng confidence po," says Mauricio.
(Thank you so much for everyone who has supported us and especially to Yamaha and thank you, you have given us much confidence)

Aside from the Philippine representatives, Yamaha MotoGP stars 'EL DIABLO' Fabio Quartararo and 'Franky' Franco Morbidelli also grazed the media and fans – as they answered questions and willingly tasted Filipino dishes that were new to them.

The two stars even shared how excited they were to visit the country and greet Filipino riding fans.

"You know it is great to be here even if it is only for a day. I am happy to be here, I try to share with Filipinos my passion for motorcycles, of course, they love it and hopefully we will see the three Filipino riders, to be recognized for the show," shares Quartararo.

While for Morbidelli, he thinks that it would be nice to see Filipino riders one day to race in the MotoGP. "It is nice to see that the MotoGP is becoming bigger in the Philippines and for sure a Filipino rider will bring a bigger passion for the sport."

El Diablo's secret to winning 

To seize the MotoGP title this year Quartararo shares how important it is to have a well-performing bike.

"That is what we are trying to have with Yamaha and it is the goal for this year to have the best as possible to fight for victory. And what we have to improve the bike, the engine is much better, and hopefully, we can make a big step forward in the bike," shares Quartararo.

Photo source: Sunshine Mortel, ABS-CBN News
Photo source: Yamaha Philippines

For 'El Diablo' having the top skills and performance is not enough, having a bike that can win is what takes home the victory aside from having the right mindset.

"I am 100 percent sure that I have the mindset because I trained super hard, I am a hard worker and this is what you need to fight in the championship," shares Quartararo. "I have no distractions I have my goals and I know what I want to have and I know what I like to do and it is to fight for victory and it is the most important thing at the moment."

 'Franky' – raised to race 

Morbidelli shares his experience working directly with the Yamaha factory.

"I am with Yamaha since 2020 and the factory move happened in 2021. It is great to work with the factory directly, to understand how a factory team works and get into that rhythm and get into that working load, I would say it's different. For sure, it is different, compared to a satellite team and that is something that I like more and it pushes me more and gave me – definitely made me learn more about myself and generally more about the world that I am working in," shares Morbidelli.

 Photo source: Sunshine Mortel, ABS-CBN News
Photo source: Yamaha Philippines

Having a father who was also a professional motorcycle racer, Morbidelli was exposed to bikes at an early age, he shares that he never felt obligated by his father to love the sport, but was naturally drawn to motorbikes.

"I am very thankful that my father put me on a motorcycle back when I was a little kid, if it was not for him, I do not know if I would be here so I am very thankful for that. For sure there have been days that I probably did not want to practice but I went anyway, just to reach my goal which is to be a world champion," says Morbidelli.

He shares that he never received pressure from his father to be the best, however, his desire to be on top is what makes him strive to win every single time. His love for bikes never ceased to this day, his passion and love for the sport is what pushes him to do his best at all times. 

"Riding is fantastic, riding a MotoGP bike is something that is difficult to explain how beautiful it is and how fulfilling it makes you feel to have those experiences when you jump on the motorcycle. I try to use it at its best – it is so enjoyable and so fulfilling. It is a mix of feeling free and sometimes scared, you experience so many different emotions in one goal that is really difficult to experience in anything else. Motorcycles and motorsports are something that really shake the human being to the core," shares Morbidelli.

 Photo source: Sunshine Mortel, ABS-CBN News
Photo source: Yamaha Philippines

The president of Yamaha Motors Philippines, Hiroshi Koike shares the same emotion when creating bikes for racers and riders in general. "We believe the product we provide, is not a simple tool to just go from point A to point B, we believe there's a joy of riding. We want to put a smile on everyone's face – that's the product that we supply."

Toni Acuesta, Marketing Department Section Manager of Yamaha Motors Philippines shares that the motorcycle manufacturer is looking forward that this year will be amazing for everyone, but of course, the priority is still safety utmost and what is important for Yamaha is for all their riders to be safe every time they step on the race track with their motorcycle.

For Yamaha, it is their mission to create a hero when it comes to racing. The manufacturer believes that motorcycle racing is what proved their brand can stand out and that is why they plan to continuously build and support riders who dream of becoming the next Quartararo and Morbidelli.

To know more about Yamaha Motor Philippines and upcoming riding events, visit their website, Facebook page, YouTube Channel, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter pages.

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