Nico Terol Press Releases: Everything You Wanted To Know About The Last Ever 125cc World Champion, And Much More
After Nico Terol finally clinched the 125cc World Championship at Valencia, the Aspar press office went into overdrive, issuing a positive avalanche of press releases covering every aspect of Terol the rider and the title he won. They have been assembled below, starting with the official Dorna press release, and continuing with the pile of Aspar press releases:
Nico Terol – 2011 125cc World Champion
Nico Terol marked his name down in history as the last ever 125cc World Champion by taking the 2011 title, following in the footsteps of fellow countrymen Julián Simón and Marc Márquez who preceded the 23 year-old from Alcoy in a strong Spanish dominance of the category in recent years.
Terol made his Grand Prix debut in 2004 as a replacement for the injured Mike di Meglio in the 125cc class at the final round of the season in Valencia, having finished fourth in his national Championship, and the following year in 2005 he competed in his first full Grand Prix campaign on board a Derbi.
A promising 2006 saw Terol have a strong second half of the season as he regularly scored top-ten finishes, but that progress wavered somewhat the following year as he failed to improve on his final Championship finish.
A switch to Aprilia in 2008 proved to be a catalyst for Terol's talent to prosper, and it did so in rapid fashion. A first Grand Prix podium at Jerez was later followed by a maiden victory – at Indianapolis – and the Spaniard ended the year in an impressive fifth place overall.
Further progress came in 2009 as Terol finished the season third in the Championship, and his form earned him a ride with the Aspar set-up for the 2010 campaign in which his title credentials really came to the fore. Three victories and a total of 14 podium finishes were only outdone by the stunning form of eventual World Champion Márquez, whom Terol finished runner-up to by 14 points. Injury also played a part in Terol's season; he crashed out of the Catalunya GP and injured his back, missing the next race in Germany as he recovered.
Touted as the man to beat going into 2011, Terol immediately set the tone by taking victory in five of the opening seven rounds to leave little doubt over his pre-season tag as title favourite. An injury which prevented his participation at Assen and a mechanical failure at Brno presented mid-season moments of concern, but Terol's quality was underlined as he bounced back from the Czech Republic disappointment with three consecutive wins.
Pushed until the final round of the campaign by rival Johann Zarco, Terol sealed his first World Championship title in front of his home crowd at the Valencia GP with second position, closing another illustrious chapter in Grand Prix history as the 125cc class makes way for the new Moto3 category in 2012.
Some facts about Nico Terol's achievement
- Nico Terol has become World Champion in spite of crashing in qualifying at the Dutch TT and missing the race due to injury.
- He is the ninth Spanish rider to win the 125cc world title, joining: Angel Nieto (1971/72/79/81/82/83/84), Jorge Martínez (1988), Alex Criville (1989), Emilio Alzamora (1999), Dani Pedrosa (2003), Álvaro Bautista (2006), Julián Simón (2009) and Marc Márquez (2010)
- Nico Terol has taken thirteen wins during his career, all riding Aprilia machinery, making him the rider with most wins in the 125cc class riding Aprilia.
- Since winning the opening race of the year in Qatar, Terol has never lost the lead in the World Championship standings.
- From the 17 races that he has started in 2011, he has only failed to finish either first or second on five occasions; fourth at the Sachsenring, eighth in the wet race at Silverstone, a non-finish at Brno due to mechanical problems, sixth at Phillip Island and fifth at Sepang.
Birth date: 27/9/1988 (23 years)
Birth place: Alcoy, ESP
First Grand Prix: VAL – 2004 – 125cc
First Pole Position: FRA – 2010 – 125cc
First Podium: SPA – 2008 – 125cc
First GP Victory: INP – 2008 – 125cc
Grand Prix Starts: 112
Grand Prix Victories: 13
Pole Positions: 8
Race Fastest Lap: 7
World Championship Wins: 1 - 2011 – 125cc
2004: 125cc World Championship – unclassified on an Aprilia, 1 start, 0 points
2005: 125cc World Championship – 36th position on a Derbi, 13 starts, 1 point
2006: 125cc World Championship – 14th position on a Derbi, 16 starts, 53 points
2007: 125cc World Championship – 22nd position on a Derbi, 17 starts, 22 points
2008: 125cc World Championship – 5th position on an Aprilia, 17 starts, 176 points, 1 win
2009: 125cc World Championship – 3rd position on an Aprilia, 16 starts, 179 points, 1 win
2010: 125cc World Championship – 2nd position on an Aprilia, 16 starts, 296 points, 3 wins
* 2011: 125cc World Championship - 1st position on an Aprilia, 14 starts, 302 points, 8 wins
NICO TEROL #18
Date of birth: 27/09/88 - Alcoy - Alicante - Spain
First race: Fórmula Airtel minibikes - Almenara (1999)
First GP: Grand Prix of Comunidad Valenciana (2004)
First win: Grand Prix of Indianapolis (2008)
Latest win: Grand Prix of Aragón (2011)
First pole: Grand Prix of France (2010)
First fastest lap: Qatar Grand Prix (2010)
First podium: Grand Prix of Spain (2008)
Fastest laps: 7
Best championship finish: 125cc World Champion 2011 (Aprilia)
GP appearances: 112 (125cc)
1999: First competes in Fórmula Airtel minibike series
2000: Runner-up in regional Fórmula Airtel series - 50cc
Makes debut in Caja Madrid National Series - 50cc
2001: Fourth overall in Bancaja National Cup - 70cc
2002: Runner-up in Bancaja Copa Aprilia 125cc
2003: Makes full debut in Spanish Championship, finishes 16th overall
5th in 125cc Fórmula Bancaja series
2004: 4th in 125cc Spanish Championship
2nd in 125cc Fórmula Bancaja series
2005: Makes full debut in 125cc World Championship, finishes 36th overall
2006: 14th in 125cc World Championship (Derbi)
2007: 22nd in 125cc World Championship (Derbi)
2008: 5th in 125cc World Championship (Aprilia)
2009: 3rd in 125cc World Championship (Aprilia)
2010: 125cc World Championship Runner up (Aprilia)
2011: 125cc WORLD CHAMPION (Aprilia)
Nico Terol was born in Alcoy, a small town in the Spanish province of Alicante. He was a hyperactive child who was always up to mischief. He took the stabilisers off his bicycle at the age of three and was quickly off riding on his own, convincing his father and uncle to buy him a motorcycle - a 50cc Malaguti motocross bike - when he turned seven. It was just a bit of fun to him back then and the Terol family set out some markers in a nearby field for Nico and his cousin to ride around.
By the age of ten Nico was taking serious steps towards a future on two wheels as he began to compete in the Fórmula Airtel minibike series, contesting his first race at the Almenara circuit. He was so desperate to do well that he often used to work himself into a state of anxiety before each race and he often crashed during that debut season in 1999, which made racing more of a chore than good fun. However, he was keen to continue and he approached everything in a more relaxed way in 2000, signing up to contest the Fórmula Airtel again but this time on a 'big' bike - a 50cc Aprilia. He contested his first race at Oliva and ended the season as the runner-up in the championship.
His father was his wingman at the races and they used to turn up at circuits together with few resources and used tyres, but with a sack full of dreams. In 2000 he won his first race at Fuente Álamo and his talent caught the attention of his current manager Xavi Pérez, who was running his own team at the time and decided to give him a hand until the end of the season. In 2001 he contested the national edition of the 70cc Copa Bancaja, finishing fourth overall, taking second in the regional series during a season that saw him blossom as a rider.
The following season he announced his arrival on the national stage in the 125cc Copa Bancaja, when he was only denied the title by a mechanical problem. He took six pole positions from seven available, two victories and four other podiums to secure the runner-up spot. In 2003 he was given assistance from the Ricardo Tormo circuit and the father of Sergio Gadea, another Valencian rider and close personal friend of Nico, to compete in the 125cc Spanish Championship - often the final stepping stone to the World Championship. He finished sixteenth overall and fifth in the 125cc Copa Bancaja, which he contested simultaneously. The more Nico developed as a rider the more opportunities came his way and his undoubted talent was not going unnoticed by the big teams. In 2004 he was signed up by Jorge Martínez "Aspar" for another season in the Spanish Championship.
Unsurprisingly the talented youngster made the most of the opportunity put in front of him and he finished the season fourth overall. As a reward for his performances in the national series Gino Borsoi gave him the opportunity to replace the injured Mike Di Meglio in the final round of the 125cc World Championship at Valencia. Nico's home circuit at Cheste was the scene of his first venture onto the international stage and an impressive ride to 23rd place was enough to seal his ticket for a full world tour in 2005.
Nico's first full season with the Derbi Caja Madrid team was a crucial opportunity for him to learn the circuits on the Grand Prix calendar but a mountain bike accident midway through the season interrupted his progress. He missed three races and returned only in time for the final two rounds in Turkey and Valencia.
It was a tough year for the 16-year-old, who was forced to learn a new language in order to communicate with his Italian mechanics, as well as travelling the world alone and struggling to adapt to the notoriously difficult Derbi. His attitude was very much that of 'whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger' and Nico ended the season as a more mature rider and, more importantly, a more mature person.
Over the next two seasons he rode for Derbi Planet (2006) and Derbi Seedorf (2007) and despite building a more effective relationship with his mechanics he could only manage 14th and then 22nd respectively in the final championship standings. Finally, after three years battling to become competitive in the Grand Prix arena his big opportunity arrived in 2008 when he was offered the chance to ride an Aprilila for the Jack and Jones team. With top level material underneath him and top level technical back-up behind him his first podium quickly arrived with a second-place finish at Jerez and a first win soon followed at Indianapolis. He ended the championship in fifth place and, most importantly, he began to feel competitive and had belief in his own potential.
In 2009 Nico remained with the Jack and Jones set-up and it was only a discreet start to the season that cost him the opportunity to fight for the title until the end. He was a consistent frontrunner and finished third overall, earning himself a move to the Bancaja Aspar Team for 2010. It proved to be a winning combination as he took victory in the opening race of the season in Qatar. After fracturing his vertebrae at Montmeló he returned to action stronger than ever, with further wins at Brno and Indianapolis as well as eight second place finishes and three thirds.
Nico, showing the best form of his career, equalled Álvaro Bautista's best season tally of fourteen podiums, set in 2006. He picked up no fewer than 296 points over the course of 2010, only missing out on the title in the final round of the season in Valencia. Finishing runner-up in the championship was no mean feat, as one of the most successful 125cc World Champions ever was crowned in the shape of the prodigious Marc Márquez.
Nico remained cautious about his chances of going one better in 2011 but deep inside he knew this was going to be his biggest shot at glory. He stayed with the BANKIA Aspar Team, who gave him all the means he needed to become last 125 World Champion. As well as motorcycle racing he is a big fan of all sports. His mountain bike is his closest training partner and he sticks rigidly to his programme. Methodical, consistent and hard working, nothing he achieves now or in the future will be by way of coincidence.
NICO TEROL #18
HEIGHT: 171 cm
PLACE OF BIRTH: Alcoy
FAVOURITE WOMAN'S NAME: Alba
FAVOURITE BOOK: "Alive"
FAVOURITE FILM: The Lord of the Rings trilogy
FAVOURITE ACTRESS: Jessica Alba
FAVOURITE ACTOR: Johnny Deep
FAVOURITE SONG, SINGER OR GROUP: Dover, Cherry Lee
FAVOURITE CAR: Hmm. a lot! I like the Audi TT
FAVOURITE BIKE: Aprilia
YOUR FIRST BIKE: Malaguti
FAVOURITE FOOD: Pasta
FAVOURITE ANIMAL: Dog
FAVOURITE COLOUR: Green
FAVOURITE NUMBER: 18
FAVOURITE DAY: A snowy day!
FAVOURITE SEASON: Winter
FAVOURITE ANECDOTE: The times I've spent filming my mechanics with the PaddockGP camera
BIGGEST RIVAL: All 125 riders
FAVOURITE COUNTRY FOR A HOLIDAY: Mexico
SEA OR MOUNTAIN: Mountain
ANOTHER SPORT: Mountain bike
FAVOURITE SPORTSMAN: Rafa Nadal
TV, RADIO, PRESS OR INTERNET: TV
A MOMENT TO REMEMBER: My first GP win.
A MOMENT TO FORGET: My injury 2005
3 THINGS YOU WOULD TAKE TO A DESERT ISLAND: A knife, a jetski and a motocross bike
WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN IF YOU WEREN'T A RIDER?: Maybe a cyclist.
WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO DO IN THE FUTURE?: Something to do with motorcycles.
HOBBIES: Mountain bike, cinema, reading, spending time with friends and family.
FAVOURITE CIRCUIT AND WHY: Assen, because it is so fast and for the way the corners all link together.
HISTORY ASPAR TEAM 1992-2011
82 GP VICTORIES
98 2ND PLACES
88 3RD PLACES
89 GP POLES
4 WORLD CHAMPION TITLES
7 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RUNNERS-UP
2 EUROPEAN TITLES
6 NATIONAL TITLES
TEROL'S TITLE: STEP BY STEP
Few riders in recent years have started a season as such a clear favourite as Nico Terol. The Spaniard started the campaign on the back of fourteen podiums in 2010 but knew only too well that he would have to be on his very best form if he was to challenge for the title once again. Last year the BANKIA Aspar had looked on course to take the throne until the late charge of a tenacious young rider relegated him to runner-up, making him doubly determined to avoid a repeat performance this time around.
The concept of 'backing off' has yet to appear on the agenda of the BANKIA Aspar rider this season, who has shown no mercy to the weak and settled only for the highest possible race finish every weekend. Nico hit sixth gear from the first round in Qatar, with pole position, the race fastest lap and victory. It was a clear statement of intent to the rest of the field and he headed to his home race at Jerez as the 125cc World Championship leader, a position that to the surprise of many he would not relinquish for the entire season.
The passionate local crowd at Jerez welcomed the series leader with open arms and after finishing second there in 2010 he felt like he owed them a victory. Nico escaped from the start, followed only briefly by his team-mate Héctor, confirming that his form in Qatar was no flash in the pan. Victory at the 'Cathedral' of Spanish motorcycle racing would be followed by further home wins at Montmeló and Aragónas his billing as title favourite grew stronger. Statisticians reached for their pens and paper as an historic season beckoned.
From Jerez to Portugal little changed in terms of the name of the race winner or the gap to second place. Nico Terol dominated the third round of the season and made another escape in the race, again taking pole position and the fastest lap on his way to his third victory from three - equalling the best ever start to a 125cc season set by Masao Azuma in 1999. Day by day, race by race, Nico's approach never wavered and nor did his objective: victory. Le Mans should have been the same outcome as Estoril but after setting pole position and the fastest lap of the race he was denied victory on his 100th Grand Prix start by a mistake in the final corner, when he took the wrong gear and handed another rider the opportunity to steal the show. Despite that, Nico remained untouched at the top of the standings: the man to beat.
A second home race of the season for Nico in Barcelona started out in the usual fashion as he again took pole position. However, there was nothing straightforward about his race win, which came via Race Direction following an illegal move by a competitor in the final corner. As well as being another home success to savour, for the BANKIA Aspar rider it crucially extended his advantage at the top of the championship to 48 points, his most comfortable cushion yet. It also wrote Nico's name into the history books as he equalled Carlo Ubbiali's record of fourteen consecutive podiums, set in 1957.
If Losail, Jerez, Estoril and Montmeló had been highs then Silverstone would be the first low - eighth place, his worst race finish of the season. The British circuit looked more like a lake than a racetrack and beneath a constant deluge Nico was forced to produce his most prudent performance of the season. A small handful of points would still prove crucial to the championship and after a week's break the series resumed at Assen, giving Terol the chance to get back on the victory trail at a track where he had come close to winning in the past. Unfortunately things did not work out that way and he was forced to watch the race from his hospital. It shouldn't happen to a rider who can count his crashes over the course of a season on one hand but it seemed Murphy's law was against him and after a free practice crash on Friday, when he fractured the little finger on his right hand, he hit the deck again on Saturday and ground the same finger down almost to the knuckle. It needed immediate surgery and Nico missed out on the Dutch TT as he headed back to Spain and the famed surgery of Dr. Xavier Mir.
His absence at Assen gave his rivals the opportunity to eat into his series lead but on his return in Italy Nico once again proved that nobody was more hungry for points than him. After conceding the lead to Zarco in the final third of the race he bit back to take a mouthwatering win at the line. Still recovering from his hand injury by the time the series reached the next round at Sachsenring, Nico was able to lead for almost the entire race, eventually giving in to the pain over the final laps and dropping back to fourth place.
A welcome summer break finally arrived, giving Nico's hand crucial opportunity to recover before the season fired up again at his talismanic circuit, Brno, where he was unbeaten for the previous two years. The BANKIA Aspar was the hot favourite to make it three in a row as he again started from the front of the grid on Sunday but a mechanical breakdown on the ninth lap left him out of action and denied him an almost certain victory. It was another cruel blow out of the hands of a man doing everything within his power. His advantage over Zarco was slashed to just twelve points.
However, the sign of a true champion is not necessarily in the number of victories he achieves but in the way he handles failure. And what better way to do so than by winning three straight races? Nico continued his love affair with Indianapolis by virtue of a third win there in four years, having scored his debut victory there in 2008. This time it came on the back of another pole position and with a new circuit record of 1'48.38 - a clear statement of intent. At Misano and Aragón he continued without mercy to recover the advantage he had squandered at Brno. Whilst at Misano he had to contend with the resilient Zarco until the line, at Motorland he escaped to take a comfortable third victory for the year on Spanish soil. It was welcomed warmly by the fans, who gave Nico a warm send-off to Motegi. Even though he couldn't add to his tallies of wins in Japan, second place would be a crucial step towards the title.
With just a week break following the Japanese round the Asian-Oceanic adventure continued at Phillip Island, a circuit as pretty as it is technical and demanding. Nico was amongst the frontrunners all weekend but ran into traffic at the end of qualifying that denied him pole position and left him fourth on the grid. The race got off to a chaotic start when a brief rain shower left damp sections around the circuit and the atmosphere on the grid was tense as the race was declared officially wet. However, whilst the clouds dispersed and the sun broke through the opening few laps were a lottery as the majority of riders opted to run slick tyres, the Spaniard making a nervous start and dropping into the thick of the peloton. A determined recovery to sixth place maintained a 25-point gap over his closest challenger and Nico was able to head to Sepang for a second shot at the title.
The Sepang circuit was calling for the crowning of a champion but destiny dictated that Nico Terol would have to wait for his return to home soil, the Ricardo Tormo circuit. His weekend went according to plan in Malaysia with a dominant performance in practice and a seventh pole position of the season, with his race pace suggesting a break for freedom in the race. However, a dramatic drop in temperature on race day played into the hands of his rivals, who formed a tight group behind him at the front. Despite leading for much of the way and setting the fastest lap of the race, a couple of huge moments on the last two laps denied him victory and after coming dangerously close to crashing he settled for a solid fifth place. A twenty-point advantage and a raucous homecoming would await him at Cheste.
The Ricardo Tormo circuit today saw the crowning of the successor to Tormo, 'Aspar' and 'Champi'. It was a dream come true for any Valencian sports fan, to see a rider from their home turf take the title in front of their eyes. On a weekend dominated by uncertain conditions Nico showed his shrewd side with a controlled performance in qualifying, taking ninth on the grid, and a mature start to a chaotic race that saw Zarco crash, instantly freeing him of the shackles and leaving him to romp home to a superb second place. Tears and cava dripped from the face of Terol on the podium where he had once stood as a small child: from the Cuna de Campeones BANKIA to the 125cc World Championship title.
1st - GP Qatar, GP España, GP Portugal, GP Catalunya, GP Italia, GP Indianapolis, GP San Marino, GP Aragón
2nd - GP France, GP Japan, GP Comunitat Valenciana
GP Qatar, GP Portugal, GP France, GP Catalunya, GP Czech Republic, GP Indianapolis, GP Malaysia
GP Qatar, GP Portugal, GP France, GP Indianapolis (record included), GP Malaysia
WELCOME TO THE CLUB, CHAMP!
Spain's living World Champions react to the achievement of BANKIA Aspar rider Nico Terol, who becomes the fourteenth member of a celebrated club.
Spanish motorcycling World Champions in numbers:
Ángel Nieto: 13 titles (six in 50cc: 1969, 70, 72, 75, 76, 77 & seven in 125cc: 1971, 72, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84)
Ricardo Tormo: 2 titles (both in 50cc: 1978, 81)
Jorge Martínez 'Aspar': 4 titles (three in 80cc: 1986, 87, 88 & one in 125cc: 1988)
Sito Pons: 2 titles (both in 250cc: 1988, 89)
Manuel 'Champi' Herreros: 1 tiles (80cc: 1989)
Álex Crivillé: 2 titles (one in 125cc: 1989 & one in 500cc: 1999)
Emilio Alzamora: 1 title (125cc: 1999)
Dani Pedrosa: 3 titles (one in 125cc: 2003 & two in 250cc: 2004, 05)
Jorge Lorenzo: 3 titles (two in 250cc: 2006, 07 & one in MotoGP, 2010)
Álvaro Bautista: 1 title (125cc, 2006)
Julián Simón: 1 title (125cc, 2009)
Toni Elías: 1 title (Moto2, 2010)
Marc Márquez: 1 title (125cc, 2010)
ÁNGEL NIETO: "Nico absolutely deserves this 125cc title for his effort, hard work, dedication and approach. He has handled some difficult times in his career but always came back fighting for what I believe he wants more than anything, which is to be a motorcycle racer. I want to congratulate him with all my heart. The team have also done a great job, Jorge has a lot of experience and is somebody for any rider to look up to. Now they just have to celebrate this one and start working towards many more to come."
JORGE MARTÍNEZ 'ASPAR': "For me Nico's title is another dream come true. As a fellow Valencian and as the owner of the BANKIA Aspar Team I am delighted for him. It is even more special with Nico, if that's possible, because we have won two world titles before with Spanish riders and one with a Hungarian but this is our first one from the Comunidad Valenciana. For me it is like the completion of a circle rather than an objective. In 1999 the Ricardo Tormo was built with a school as a part of it and now a pupil from that school has become a World Champion, which is the icing on the cake of a lot of years of success. I am really happy for Nico, his family and all the people around him. This title is a reward for his consistency throughout the season."
SITO PONS: "Nico came into our team at a difficult point of his career. He improved a lot from the start and working with our chief engineer Santi Mulero he gained confidence that translated into results. He left us very focused and determined to become World Champion some day. He was already fighting for the title last year and he was the big favourite this season, no doubt. He back that up, rode consistently and nobody was able to get near him. Nico is very focused, hard-working, serious, a little shy too, but he lives for this - it is his life. He has been racing bikes for a long time and the reward must be very satisfying for him."
MANUEL 'CHAMPI' HERREROS: "I am super happy that Nico Terol has finally picked up the mantle [for Valencia]. It has taken 22 years but now it's happened. I am extremely proud of Nico, I think he is a more than deserving champion and has had a sensational season. Nico's greatest quality was his experience and I think he was clear in his mind that this was his year, and he didn't let the opportunity pass. He handled his nerves well and like all good champions he managed bad luck as well as good.It is quite strange that I was the last ever 80cc World Champion and now Nico will be the last in 125cc. They are titles nobody can ever take away."
ÁLEX CRIVILLÉ: "Nico has deserved this title since the start of the season. He has fought harder than anybody, planned his season well, backed off when he needed to and taken the wins when the opportunity was there. He has been up there in every race and used his head a lot to make his advantage work. He deserves it, especially aftwer the bad luck he has had. I hope he enjoys it and then starts thinking about the step up to Moto2".
EMILIO ALZAMORA: "Nico is the most experienced rider on the 125cc grid and he has taken his opportunity well. His strongest rival this year was Zarco and the difference in experience has proven crucia.. Terol managed the season very well and I am very happy to see another Spanish rider win this championship."
DANI PEDROSA: "Nico is a rider who has done very well over the past three years, he's taken an enormous step forward. His progress is down to hard work - I know that when he goes home he hardly ever stops training. This title perhaps hasn't come as naturally as it has to other riders but he has done it through hard work and I think he deserves huge credit for that. You can see that all his success has come this way. I also like his character - humble and calm - but on the track he is never intimidated and that is also a good thing."
JORGE LORENZO: "I don't know Nico that well but he seems to be a really normal person, very focused, humble and he has improved a lot as a rider. He started out at Derbi just after I left and he struggled a lot at first to adapt in 125cc, He was struggling to score points but little by little he started to learn and then suddenly started scoring good results in spectacular fashion. Last year he had consistency too and he fought with Márquez until the end. 125cc is always a very difficult category and to win as many races as he has is tough. He deserves a lot of credit and I am happy to see another Spaniard win in 125cc - especially him because he's a hard worker and a quiet, humble guy."
ÁLVARO BAUTISTA: "My sincere congratulations go to Nico, he's had a fantastic year and been the strongest ride in the category without question. He has been searching for this for a long time and he deserves it, so he should enjoy it as much as possible and stay on the gas. He has become 125cc World Champion in the same team that I did it. The Aspar Team is a great outfit and a big family. Since their first one with me in 2006 it has been raining titles in that garage and every year they either manage it or get close. They are hard working people who give everything at every race and I am happy for them too."
JULIÁN SIMÓN: "Hard work, consistency, humility and above all a passion for the thing you love the most. That is how I would describe you and it is thanks to all those qualities that you are World Champion today. This is something nobody can take away from you and it will make you happy every time you remember it. It is something magival, especially the moment you cross the line and realise what you have achieved. I am really happy for you. Congratulations Nico."
TONI ELÍAS: "First of all, as a person Nico is a ten out of ten. He is a great guy and we have always got on very well together. He has made progress over the years and last season he only just missed out on the title. This year he really deserved it and I am very happy for him."
MARC MÁRQUEZ: "I want to congratulate Nico. I was hoping he would become champion because last year he was a very hard rival and he always looked likely to dominate this season. He is always consistent and that is the way to win titles. He has used his experience and speed well. Congratulations, you deserve it."
"I DID IT! I AM THE WORLD CHAMPION! IT SOUNDED STRANGE BUT WONDERFUL"
He had to repeat it to himself over and over before he can believe it. At first he would say it quietly, but now it seems to be sinking in. BANKIA Aspar rider Nico Terol was crowned 125cc World Champion last Sunday at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo de la Comunidad Valenciana - his home track. Ever since he has been inundated with congratulations, applause, awards and interview requests. It has been the most intense week of his like but also the best. The Spaniard is rarely one to get over excited but as he crossed the finish line shortly before midday on Sunday he couldn't help but scream "I DID IT! I AM THE WORLD CHAMPION!" He is the fourth World Champion from Valencia and he follows in the footsteps of three legends in the shape of Tormo, 'Aspar' and 'Champi'. It is a triumph for a shy and humble young man who fought like few others to make his dream come true.
Congratulations champ! Are you still pinching yourself or has it started to sink in?
Thanks a lot. It is starting to sink in but not completely. I still haven't had time to fully get my head around it. It is a wonderful feeling and now I have started to reflect and look back on all the hard work we have done this season. I think it will start to sink in properly when all this fuss is over and I am back home.
How does it feel?
Right now it is the best feeling I have experienced in my life.
Who is it dedicated to?
So many people. . . My father, my uncle Inda, Xavi, my whole family and all the people who have stuck by me. I always say that not everybody is there to fully support you in the bad times. Of course it is also dedicated to the BANKIA Aspar Team, where I feel very comfortable and part of a tight unit. I also want to offer this title to my boss and friend Jorge Martínez 'Aspar'.
Successor to Tormo, 'Aspar' and 'Champi'. . . how does that sound?
Nice. Very nice because I have heard them mentioned as great champions ever since I was a small boy and I always dreamed of being one day mentioned alongside them. It was those dreams that have allowed me to eventually become part of history too. I am starting to take it all in now and it makes me smile from ear to ear.
What do you have to say to 'Aspar', from one World Champion to another?
Thanks for my whole career, right from the Cuna de Campeones BANKIA. I am really happy to have achieved my dream alongside the school principal. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to race in the Spanish Champoionship. Thanks for the opportunity last year, all the advice... I think he will be proud of me. He is a great champion and he knows a lot about bikes. With his experience he was able to tell me what I needed to win this title. I also want to thank him for giving me a magnificent team of mechanics and top level material. Jorge does everything he can to make sure his riders have the best bikes and the best material.
When did you really start to believe that you could become World Champion?
After last year. We were performing at a high level throughout last season, we were working well and I knew that if we could continue like that then sooner or later we could do it. I suppose I can't say I really believed it until Sunday, when I had the title wrapped up. You need a million things to fall into place at the right time but if you believe in yourself and give everything then it's more achievable.
The high points of the year? And the low points?
The wins were the high points, obviously, but especially Jerez because it was my first win in front of my home fans. I really enjoyed Indianapolis too because of the way we dominated the whole weekend. The toughest moments were the injury at Assen and the breakdown at Brno. After Brno I had a lot of negative thoughts in my head but thankfully I was able to banish those with three straight wins.
Your hardest rival?
Zarco, without doubt. He has been consistent and at the end of a few races he was overly aggressive which made things hard for me right to the finish.
What was the key to the title?
Consistency, hard work and never backing off even when things were going well. Also the tight relationship within the team. This helped us to do a good job and maintain our ambition to win.
How hard was it to take the highs of three wins in a row, like you managed at Qatar, Jerez and Portugal and then again at Indianapolis, San Marino and Aragón alongside the lows of dropping fifty points at Assen and Brno?
Putting wins together is an incredible and addictive feeling. When you win once you want to keep doing it and then you need more and more. You put more demands on yourself and nothing but a win will do. When the two low points of the season came along I decided not to think about the championship anymore and just relieve that pressure. I said to myself: "Nico, if you deserve to win the championship then you'll win it. If not then it just isn't to be."
What does it feel like to cross the line and know that you are a World Champion?
It is the best moment ever. Before I crossed the line I could see my mechanics holding out the pit board with huge red letters that read: WORLD CHAMPION 2011. All the team were up there on pit wall... it was an incredible moment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. . . I really want to find a photo of that moment and hang it in my house so that I can see it every day. In just a few tenths of a second so many memories goes past your eyes and I remembered all the people who have always stuck by me. I just couldn't stop shouting: "I DID IT! I AM THE WORLD CHAMPION!" It sounded strange but wonderful.
NICO TEROL AND THE RISE OF ANOTHER CHAMPION
It often happens that when somebody wants something with all their heart and soul the world conspires to prevent it from happening. In this case there were two parties that wanted it: Nico Terol and the BANKIA Aspar Team, and so far the world has resisted. Over the years the BANKIA Aspar Team has proven to be a dream factory for a number of riders - for some a last chance saloon but more often than not a crucial stepping stone to bigger and better things. Now no fewer than four riders have become World Champions in just six seasons: Álvaro Bautista (125cc World Champion 2006), Gábor Talmácsi (125cc World Champion 2007) and Julián Simón (125cc World Champion 2009) had all tried and failed elsewhere before finally realising their goals with the Aspar Team.
Nico Terol, lean in the flesh but corpulent in spirit, a son of the Sierra Mariola mountains, polite, quiet and shrewd to the core - values instilled in him by a close family unit. He rode down from the mountains to Cheste on a bicycle, his other great passion, and swapped it for a motorcycle that would carry him back to the very top. Nico Terol is living proof of the success of one of the best racing schools on the planet: the 'Cuna de Campeones BANKIA' (meaning Champions' Crib), supported by the Generalitat Valenciana. Nico Terol, the fourth Valencian World Champion but the first to come through this visionary academy.
It was around the year 1999 that Nico first removed a lollipop from his mouth so that he could strap on a helmet and charge around a car park on a minibike, quickly establishing himself as a dominant force in what was then called Fórmula Airtel. He gradually progressed through each stage of the Fórmula BANCAJA (now BANKIA), from the 50cc to the 70cc and 125cc production classes. Then came the step up to 125GP and higher education in the shape of the Spanish Championship, where he established himself as one of the country's leading prospects. He moved on to mature as a student on the global stage, picking up a total of nine podiums and, eventually, two wins. However, it became clear that in order to fully grow he needed to return to his roots, the BANKIA Aspar Team, where he would fully blossom. Twenty-five podiums later he reached the end of his journey in Malaysia, finally making the grade after twelve years of studies. Nico Terol became a Bachelor of Racing at the university of Cheste. Above him that evening the stars would shine brightly, in particular that of Ricardo Tormo, no doubt congratulating his latest successor from somewhere in the galaxy. 'Aspar' and 'Champi' would burst with pride. Nico Terol, the new 125cc World Champion, a Valencian as true as can be from the nearby town of Alcoy.
Bautista, Talmácsi, Simón and now Terol. They all knew how to ride, how to compete, but above all how to dream. To dream of victory, of becoming legend. The day their dreams began to come true was the day they signed for the BANKIA Aspar Team. Bautista and Simón swept the field in their quest for 125cc honours and Terol almost did the same last year. He spent more time on the steps of the podium than on the steps of his house - fourteen times out of seventeen races - in 2010 but still managed to lift his game for 2011. Eight wins, three seconds places, seven poles and five fastest laps were enough to ensure Nico Terol was crowned 125cc World Champion at the second serious time of asking.
He paid tribute to his close friends Héctor Barberá and Héctor Faubel, dedicating the title to two riders who themselves came so close in 2004 and 2007 respectively, and above all his mentor Jorge Martínez 'Aspar'. The sage Spaniard has watched over his young protege since he was a child, held his hand up every step of the ladder and now feels almost paternal pride at seeing a compatriot share the success he himself tasted over two decades ago. For 'Aspar' the dream of seeing a Valencian rider reach the summit in the colours of his own team is another one come true. The BANKIA Aspar Team and Nico Terol could not have wanted it more and in the end the planets aligned to ensure justice was done. At the age of 23 and with 34 podiumsalready to his name, Nico Terol plans to continue in the slipstream of Tormo, 'Aspar' and Champi. The same quest also continues for the BANKIA Aspar Team, the most successful team in the last decade and the dream factory for any rider with the desire to be a World Champion.