Jorge Martinez Aspar – “You never get used to winning twice on the same day, it is an indescribable feeling”
It’s a long time since Grand Prix riders competed in two different categories on the same day. Those halcyon days, long before the introduction of electronics, are long gone but the memories remain and the name of Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’ always figures strongly amongst them. The man with the Midas touch turned everything to gold back in 1988, winning both the 80cc and 125cc World Championships with a winning record that included doubles in Italy, Holland, Yugoslavia the Czech Republic. Indeed, his last ever twin victory was at Brno, venue for the next round of the 2014 season this weekend.
The 28th August 1988 goes down as the last time ‘Aspar’ won two races on the same day but it also made history as the first time it had ever happened at Brno. The Czech circuit was added to the calendar in 1987, the season before, when the Spaniard had stepped onto the second step of the podium in the 80cc class. “Brno suddenly appeared and it was quite an unusual and revolutionary track. It was wide, with a lot of grip and particularly safe. I loved it from the first time I rode it and I had some great races there.”
That first time back in 1987 proved to be the launchpad to victory twelve months later, when he arrived there for the final round of a season that had already seen him crowned World Champion in both categories. All season long he had been on another level to his rivals. Derbi had seen the burning hunger in his eyes and gave him what he needed to do what he loved the most: to win. The factory from Martorelles built two bikes that had similar characteristics and provided two teams of technical staff, under the supervision of Francisco Tombas, and an endless supply of factory material for their chosen son, Jorge Martínez ‘Aspar’. “The whole structure that Derbi put in place around me was essential for us to win both championships in one season. I can remember going to private tests and having six bikes available to try new things on. Sometimes I didn’t even have time to change out of my leathers in between races so co-ordination was the key to our success during that magical season.”
‘Aspar’ enjoyed the intensity of racing two categories at once that he continued for two more seasons, the sacrifice and physical strain compensated for by his energy and confidence. At times he would have to jump from the 80cc podium and run straight to the grid for the start of the 125cc race, but that 1988 season provided the pinnacle of his distinguished career. “The Derbi – Aspar tandem was perfect. It was spectacular, and without it being so it would have been impossible to win so much. No matter how many times it happened, you never get used to winning two races on the same day, it’s an indescribable feeling.” On that late summer Sunday of 1988 he edged out two 125cc experts in Miralles and Spaan, setting a new circuit record in the process, whilst in the 80cc race he had to battle to the end with Stefan Dörflinger.
They were different times, when all you needed to be a motorcycle racer was talent and the will to open the throttle. ‘Aspar’, a pioneer in so many ways, realised that there was something else you could do to go the extra mile. “In 1985 I started to work with Miguel Maeso, a personal trainer who gave me a training plan, nutritional guide and a lot of help. I loved training and after every race I would go back home and hit it hard. I remember at the start Ángel Nieto used to give me stick for having a personal trainer when nobody else bothered but to race in two categories at the same time I had to be very strong, both physically and mentally.”