Book review: Jorge Lorenzo - My Story so Far

By Mike Nicks -

 27 May 2009 09:59

Jorge Lorenzo: My Story so Far
By Ernest Riveras Tobia
Haynes £18.99

I recommend every rider, every parent of a rider, and every team manager to read Jorge Lorenzo’s new book, whose English-language edition is published this week.

It’s the story of how he became 250cc world champion at the age of 19, followed this with a second 250cc title in 2007, and blazed into MotoGP in 2008 by achieving poles, a race win and a serious of horrific crashes that almost wrecked his career.

But much more than that, this is a searing account of Lorenzo’s journey into his own personality, and his courageous decision to remould it completely.

To do that, he had to split from his well-meaning but over-bearing mentor-father Chico – who Lorenzo eventually banned from attending races – his childhood girlfriend Eva and his sports psychologist. The lot – binned while he was still a teenager and campaigning road-razor 250cc grand prix bikes at up to 170mph.

It’s a miracle that Lorenzo didn’t suffer a total nervous collapse – though he came pretty close to it, as is evident in this book. He chose to go instead with the team manager Dani Amatriaín (now also dropped) and the trainer/mentor Marcos Hirsch, a huge Brazilian who works in Barcelona. In the book’s dedication, Lorenzo refers to Hirsch as “my ‘Brother’, for teaching and protecting me.”

The book, written by Spanish TV journalist Ernest Riveras Tobia, pulsates with the intensity that marks the Spanish character. “I was born in Majorca but I believe my soul is from Sparta,” Lorenzo writes in the prologue. “Spartans lived, ate and breathed for the cause. We fight with our backs to the wall to win our battles.”

“The only thing you need to see is black bikes, you have to be colour blind, and see them as obstacles to overcome,” Hirsch urged his protégé. “You have to get past them and then go back to your cave to eat and rest before the next battle.”

People who spoke like that in the BSB paddock would be mocked out of the place, but that’s the way the Spanish take their motorcycle racing. And you have to admit, they’re a lot more successful at grand prix competition than the British.

Critics used to say that Lorenzo is arrogant. I’ve interviewed him on several occasions and I find him intelligent and courteous – as well as being an incredible motorcycle racer. Read this book before the British MotoGP at Donington on July 26, and you’ll appreciate far more the sensitive soul of the 22-year-old who could win the race.

And if you’re the driven parent of a racing youngster, be prepared to question what you’re doing, and why.

Read in this week’s MCN how Jorge Lorenzo is managing his mind to ignore Valentino Rossi’ wall and win MotoGP races