Today, May 23, 2022, marks exactly 40 years since Jorge Martínez’s first GP race, ‘Aspar’. The four-time world champion continues to be linked to the World Championship at the head of his team, which is present in the Moto2 and Moto3 categories, four decades after making his debut at Jarama on a 50cc Bultaco that the unforgettable Ricardo Tormo had given him. The one from Alzira takes stock for AS on a date that, at 59 years old, makes him excited.

-What memory comes to mind from May 23, 1982?

-Looking back and remembering that date is seeing a child who wanted to race in the Motorcycle World Championship. There he was already champion of Spain, but he dreamed of reaching the World Cup and that day was my first grand prix, at Jarama. Ricardo Tormo lent me his bike, his world championship 50cc Bultaco so I could race, and I was sixth in my first World Championship race.

-Who was he running against?

-Dorflinger wins ahead of Lazarini.

Do you remember details of the race?

-A whopping 40 years ago and it was a dream come true for me. I was in a cloud, with pilots who were idols for me. Apart from Ricardo Tormo, with whom he already had a relationship, pilots such as Ángel Nieto, Barry Sheene or Kenny Roberts were in the World Championship. I was amazed seeing these drivers only in the magazines, so being on the same circuit as them…

-Now it would be unimaginable for a rider to leave a bike to another to run his first GP. How did that detail of Tormo come about?

-The previous year, in 1981, I was the 50cc Spanish champion and 125cc runner-up, with motorcycles that Ricardo left me, and we created a structure for me for the World Championship. Ricardo had signed on as an official for Kreidler, but the German brand went bankrupt, went into receivership and Ricardo was left without a motorcycle, so we shared the structure that had been made for me. We made bobbin lace for that year.

-You start sixth and from there you grow and grow until you win four titles… At what point do you realize that you are going to spend 40 years in the World Cup?

-(Smile). In any moment. I never imagined that I would be 40 years in the World Cup. Not even in the best of my dreams had I imagined that 40 years later I would still be here, with the great team I have, and that I would do as many things as I have done, as a driver, which for me is the greatest thing, and then at the head of the structure that have.

What has been the hardest part of this long journey?

-The hardest, without a doubt, falls and injuries. And also some puddle that we have stepped on.

-Can it be said openly that he is a guy who has been ruined on a couple of occasions and who has had to rise again from below?

-Okay, yes. I am an autodidact and a fighter. In 1993 and 1994, after being world champion and in a spectacular situation, I got into some deals that did not go well at all and I had a person who did everything possible to annoy me, but this is not the time to talk about that . I prefer to say that these 40 years have been incredible and that I never thought I could win four titles as a driver and ten as a team, in different categories. I feel privileged to make my life from my hobby and have been in this world for 40 years.

-The most satisfying thing is the first victory, the first title or the double in 1988?

-In the pilot part, without a doubt that the double of 88 is something incredible. I tell young people now that I spent three years, from 88 to 90, running two categories on the same day and they don’t believe it. I remember that at Le Mans, in 1990, I did the 125 and 250 in impressive heat, being very complicated and difficult. They were different times.

-The person who marked you the most all that time?

-We must thank, in capital letters, a million people who have believed in me and have helped me. It is not a specific person. Of course there are very important names, such as Ricardo Tormo or Don Ángel Nieto or Adrián Campos. Many believed in me when I was a child just beginning and the phrase is: Thanks to everyone who believed in me. There are many people who have helped me.

-We have not laughed more than once with his anecdote about the blow he took from his father when he found out that he had participated in his first race, something he hid from him. Then he saw him grow up in this world and win a lot. What did he say to her afterwards?

-(Smile). My parents never came to see me run, never.

-Just like now, there are those who even dare to give technical instructions…

-(Laughter). There is everything. Going back to my parents, they watched the races recorded on video, and it was very nice to be born in a humble family and start from scratch. In my house they didn’t want me to run, but I was very stubborn and little by little I convinced them. I remember many anecdotes with my father. He asked me what I did for a living and, when I answered that I raced a motorcycle, he told me no, that what I did was have fun and that I earned more money than him, and that was something that could not be. (Laughter). I didn’t get it.

-With what decade do you stay of the four that you have already lived in the World Cup?

-Each one has its beautiful part, but without a doubt I prefer the one from the 80s, because it was much more authentic, more real. We didn’t care about money. We lived by and for this. We slept anywhere. It was a total passion, and with a bestial companionship in the paddock, which has been professionalized and lost that. Today’s World Cup is incredible and unimaginable 30 years ago, with a brutal image worldwide and spectacular television, but I keep the essence of those early years.

-What is the most important figure you have seen in the championship in this time?

-It’s hard to say one.

-I let him make a podium.

-At the organizational level, Carmelo Ezpeleta is the one who has made the World Cup what it is, Dorna, and at the rider level, Mr. Ángel Nieto, Valentino Rossi and Giacomo Agostini. These three are for me the greatest in history.

-One of your great honors is having retired Nieto and having Rossi retire you?

-Yes, man, it is something very beautiful that seems not even written. Grandson for me was a God and in the year 86 I am world champion for the first time and he retires, and then I am hitting the World Cup ten years later and a boy named Rossi arrives who gets his first victory against me , in Brno 96, and in his first world title, in 97, I am retiring. It was like closing the circle and a pride to have been able to be part of that history, a pride to have run against the two of them, one of the greatest of all time

-What remains to be done here and for how much more does he have rope?

I don’t have a withdrawal date. My strength is to have enthusiasm and health. As long as I have that, I’m going to stay in here as long as I can, because it’s what keeps me alive and young. I’m still struggling and I’m still getting excited and pissed off.

-And getting nervous.

-Yes, very much, and that’s nice, because it means that I care. If that didn’t happen, I’d go home.

-How would you like to be remembered the day you are no longer in the World Cup?

-As a fighter, and as a person who loves and likes motorcycles.

-That’s how I met him, because in his final phase as a driver he lost on the straights what he won in incredible braking, based on fighting.

-(Smile). I had some mistakes choosing a bike, but good. And I also had the misfortune that Michelin withdrew twice and left me stranded in ’90 and ’97. That also affected the results quite a bit, but the overall balance is very good. I am still the fourth most important driver in the history of Spain by titles and the fifteenth in the world of all time. For me it is more than enough and I never thought I would win so much.

-Well, let me add to finish the fighter that he is also a great person.

-Many thanks.

-To you always and for more.

-A pleasure.


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