After the exciting 2013 season and before the engines roar again in 2014, the riders of all three MotoGP categories are approaching their well-deserved Christmas holidays in very different ways.
2013 MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez, as every year, will spend the holidays surrounded by his family in his native Cervera in Spain, trying to rest between his multiple off-track events with his brother, training partner and Moto3 rider Alex Marquez.
By contrast, Jorge Lorenzo has chosen the sunny destination of Mexico to rest this Christmas. He will relax on the Mexican beaches and recharge his tanks before thinking about the 2014 season, and how he will wrestle the crown back from Marquez.
There are however many riders who prefer the snow and all the possibilities it offers for a few days of relaxation and fun. Valentino Rossi in Italy, as well as Alvaro Bautista and Hector Barbera in the Spanish Pyrenees, are making use of the slopes to train physically and have some fun along the way, with a snowboard proving their weapon of choice. Barbera will also take the opportunity to visit friends in London and Milan, while Bautista is attending some charity events in Talavera and Madrid, and getting in some training on the island of Lanzarote.
German Stefan Bradl is taking his preparation for next season very seriously and has a full agenda. These days he has been training in the south of France with Yves De Maria, three-time World Motocross Champion. Christmas will be spent with his family in Germany but afterwards he will head to a High Performance Centre where he will train motocross and trial until the 30th. After New Years Eve he’ll return to work on the 4th January with an eye on the first test at Sepang in early February.
American Nicky Hayden, Colombian Yonny Hernandez and Mika Kallio are enjoying the holidays in a more traditional way in their respective countries. For Nicky Hayden the Christmas period is very important, with the Kentucky Kid looking forward to seeing his nephews opening gifts on the morning of the 25th. Mika Kallio, meanwhile, will enjoy a traditional Finnish Christmas Eve and then move to the icy Lapland to spend New Year with family and friends.
For Cal Crutchlow it will be a Christmas to remember, as he not only gets to look forward to his first year as a factory rider with the Ducati Team, but he will also get married to his fiancée Lucy in Southern California in early January.
MotoGP veteran Colin Edwards will spend his Christmas at his home in Texas, where he will also celebrate his wedding anniversarie with his wife and their three children, before they head off skiing for a few days in Wyoming.
Hiroshi Aoyama, who has just returned from Japan after visiting family, will spend the holiday period in Barcelona, his adopted home, where the vast majority of his friends are.
The Moto2 and Moto3 World Champions, Pol Espargaro and Maverick Viñales, plan to spend days with their families trying to rest as much as possible before the new challenges that face them in 2014. Viñales will stay in and around Barcelona, whilst Espargaro has been enjoying a week off in the Maldives before returning to Granollers to resume season preparations as well as French classes.
Holiday plans for Italians Andrea Iannone, Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso are a little quieter, but no less demanding. The three Italians will spend days with their families, whist training hard for next year. Dovizioso will use the time to enjoy some quality time with his daughter Sara and will try to escape to the mountains for few days.
Michael Laverty’s Christmas will be split between his home in Northern Ireland and Wales, where his partner is from. In addition, he’ll enjoy a ski holiday in Morzine with friends and his brother Eugene Laverty, racing in WSBK next year with Suzuki.
Alongside MotoGP debutant Pol Espargaro, fellow rookies Scott Redding and Mike di Meglio are in full training mode to be in top physical condition for the first race in Qatar. Motocross will feature heavily in their training routines – a popular pastime for most riders.
Whether it is rest they seek, or peak physical fitness – one thing is sure: They will all line up on the grid with the same goal – to be 2014 World Champion.