Fishing, Disneyland and Cristiano Ronaldo! Catch up on what riders got up to over the winter period
The turn of a new year means that a new season of MotoGP™ action is just around the corner and 2022 promises to have another cracker of Championship action in store for us. The winter break offered the stars of the show the chance to have their fill of Christmas dinners and drinks and catch up on some well-deserved downtime without having to worry about the consequences, and we can take a look at what some of the premier class riders got up to over the festive period.
Few know how to relax like Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team), who returned to Australia for a spot of fishing and to sink some cold ones. He also participated in the Australian Superbike Championship finale; scoring a podium finish for his efforts.
The Aussie wasn’t the only rider in the Ducati camp to stand on a rostrum over the winter, with Luca Marini (VR46 Racing Team), alongside Valentino Rossi, retaining their title at the 100km dei Campioni at The Doctor’s Ranch. The Italian also featured in the Gulf 12 Hour race, claiming another podium there alongside Alessio Salucci and David Fumanelli in the ProAm class.
2021 Championship runner up Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) had a more relaxed approach towards the winter break, welcoming his new dog Turbo to the family while also paying a visit to his beloved Juventus Football Club. Having received a jersey from club star Paulo Dybala, he made sure to give football superfan and MotoGP™ World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) a call during the visit.
The Turin club were involved in a Serie A game of the season contender on Sunday as they took on Roma, and premier class rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP) was in attendance at the Stadio Olimpico, but unfortunately for Diggia, his cherished Roma couldn’t hold out for a famous win.
Not to be outdone by his Ducati counterparts, KTM factory rider Miguel Oliveira also made sure he shared the limelight with one of football’s most famous faces as he appeared alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in a Portuguese advertisement for MEO.
It proved an eventful few weeks for the three-time MotoGP™ race winner, as he celebrated his 27th birthday and became a father for the first time, welcoming baby Alice to the world. Congratulations Miguel!
There was certainly plenty of fun had across the paddock, with Suzuki’s Alex Rins lending Santa a helping hand over his busy Christmas schedule during a visit to Andorra, while Fabio Quartararo paid Disneyland Paris a visit.
It’s no secret that MotoGP™ riders are thrill-seekers so it comes as little surprise that they continued to chase their fix of adrenaline on ski slopes across Europe. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Racing Team), Andrea Dovizioso (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team) and Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) were all spotted on-piste during the off-season.
For some, the work never stops. Eight time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) suffered a disappointing end to last season’s campaign, but he is focusing on the future as he kicked off his pre-season preparations as he aims to rediscover his title-winning form.
Elsewhere Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) showcased their winning mentalities by training over the Christmas period at Circuit Alcarras; the duo showing off their flat tracking skills in Catalonia.
Having had their chance to return home, put their feet up and relax, it’s nearly time to don the leathers again with the 2022 MotoGP™ World Championship almost upon us. We cannot wait for our first taste of action in February at the Sepang Test.