FIM CEV Repsol Moto2 European Championship presents fresh challenges for California teen.
The FIM CEV Repsol Moto2 European Championship is unlike any other motorcycle road-racing series in which I previously participated. While the Spanish-based championship shares some similarities with its American, British, and French counterparts, the CEV is unique in other respects.
I’m new to the CEV but, from what I have seen thus far, it shares the same basic goal with other FIM-sanctioned series: produce the best riders and teams possible while providing maximum media exposure. Riders meetings are similar to the two I attended last year in MotoAmerica (except for the dual-language format) and the flags are identical.
With 18 countries represented this season, riders are expected to speak at least two languages and possess professional interviewing skills. Everyone does their best to be patient and respectful of other cultures, but when the faceshields go down, we are all the same: racers.
There are no “mom-and-pop” teams. Each rider has at least two mechanics, one data technician, a suspension expert, and a crew chief that oversees the entire operation. Most teams have an on-site hospitality area, which is a big jump from cooking soup on a little burner in a pop-up trailer like I did when I was racing two years ago in the lower ranks of the British Superbike Championship.
Of course, all of this comes at a significant price, but the costs associated with competing in the prototype Moto2 class in which I am racing seem to be the acceptable normal standard at this level of two-wheel motorsports. The next step, after all, is the Moto2 World Championship.
In fact, my favorite thing so far is being around the bikes, teams, and crews that also form the world championships. When I walked down pit lane at Valencia, site of round one of the series, I saw Johann Zarco’s Moto2-winning Kalex, now ridden by Tetsuta Nagashima.
Twenty-five feet later, I stumbled upon Alex Marquez’s factory Honda Moto3 bike. One of Spain’s top riders, Jaume Masia, is riding that machine this year. All of the motorcycles in the paddock are works of art. That’s the beauty of prototype racing: Everyone has his or her own idea of a winning setup.
I have never competed in a championship that offers more track time than the CEV. Before my first race, I had two days of practice: four 30-minute sessions on Thursday and two 40-minute sessions on Friday. That was great for learning the track and fine-tuning the bike, but it was also mentally and physically demanding.
When you also factor in class photos, interviews in multiple languages, paperwork, data reviews, and the required technical meetings, in the five days that makes up a typical “weekend,” there is very little downtime. By Sunday night, I was exhausted. I slept part of the way back to Barcelona, where I am now living when I am in Spain.
Racing at this level is work. I have found it highly enjoyable and a great learning experience, but you can’t show up with your bike, a tent, and expect to win the next day. Plan for early mornings, long days, and late nights; dinner, for example, isn’t served until at least 9:30 p.m. That said, I love racing, and I know it is a privilege to be here.
I have so much to learn about this championship. Luckily, I have a strong team and an experienced teammate. I am happy with my results from round one—14th and seventh after qualifying 21st—but I am pushing forward with new goals for round two at Motorland Aragon on May 28-29.
Watch the link on my website, www.jaysonuribe.com, so you view the races live on the FIM CEV Repsol YouTube channel.