Decorated Grand Prix Motorcycle Racer Maverick Viñales Took on the ŠKODA Titan Desert Almería

By Frantiska Blazkova

How did a world-famous MotoGP racer with 1.4 million followers on Instagram happen to appear among sand dunes on a bicycle? One of the more surprising starting numbers at this year’s ŠKODA Titan Desert Almería belonged to Maverick Viñales. The 2013 Moto3 world champion participated representing ŠKODA of which he has recently been appointed ambassador. Born in Catalonia, Spain, Maverick began racing already at the age of three and has been steadily rising to fame until his current prize-studded career with the Aprilia Racing team. But that doesn’t answer the question of why a world-famous MotoGP racer opted for racing on a non-motorized two-wheeler under the scorching sun.

Maverick took time from his packed racing schedule to chat with We Love Cycling about his debut ŠKODA Titan Desert Almería experience. The interview continues below.

As you rose to fame as a Grand Prix motorcycle racer, one must wonder what brought you to the bicycle. How did ŠKODA approach you about becoming their cycling ambassador?

Cycling is part of my training and physical preparation. I am also very passionate about the sport. The link with ŠKODA started with Tomi Misser, the brand ambassador. We met with ŠKODA representatives and Tomi and from the very first moment, I felt that we shared many values as well as a passion for cycling.

Why did you choose the ŠKODA Titan Desert Almería, undoubtedly a challenging feat, as your cycling race debut?

Actually, my debut was many years ago, I have had the opportunity to participate in several races, mainly mountain bike races. However, in 2022, we chose to take part in the ŠKODA Titan Desert Almería, in order to prepare for the second part of the Asian World Cup tour, as it fitted perfectly into the calendar.

How did you approach the preparation for the race? How similar was it to prepping for a motorcycle race?

Preparing for the ŠKODA Titan Desert Almería was similar to preparing for a motorbike race. I do a lot of cycling in my day-to-day life, so I did not vary my training programme too much.

How did you feel on the starting line?

At the start, you could breathe in a lot of sportsmanship, a good atmosphere, and passion for this sport. The sensations were very good and I started the race very motivated.

What was the toughest moment for you during the race?

For me, the hardest moment of this and all races is the start because you start cold, everyone gives 100% and there are about 10-15 minutes of suffering that are very hard.

What is the most valuable bit of advice you would give to someone riding the ŠKODA Titan Desert Almería for the first time?

My advice is to come physically prepared and to prepare beforehand for the sandy areas where you have to “surf” with the bike and which are difficult to manage. 

On who or what could you rely during the race?

During the race, I relied a lot on Tomi Misser, I listened to his advice all the time. Tomi is at a high level and has a lot of experience in this kind of races. I followed his advice during the race and I apply it outside the race as well, during my training.

Would you do it again? 

I would definitely participate again. It is a fun and demanding event in a very special environment.

Thank you, Maverick, for your insights and we wish you many a successful stunt on either two-wheeler.