Ask any two people the same question and you’re likely to get two wildly different answers. Doesn’t matter if you’re talking about hunting, biking, crocheting, or even the current weather, people have opinions and ideas about those opinions.

And that definitely holds true talking to Red Bull KTM’s Jack Miller and GasGas’ Pedro Acosta. 

The two MotoGP riders not only come from different countries, race for different teams, and have very different riding styles, but there’s also a 10-year age gap between them. They’re just different dudes. Don’t get me wrong, there are similarities. Talk to any top-spec racer and there’s a cocky bravado that they can’t help but exude—they know they’re hot shit. And if they weren’t, we wouldn’t be talking, nor would they have rides in MotoGP. 

But the similarities in how they talk about training, riding, the advancements in both technology and aerodynamics, and the future of the sport couldn’t be more different. I sat down with both at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas ahead of the COTA round of MotoGP, and the two riders dished on a ton on how they approach racing, as well as the future.

No two answers, however, were the same. 

Jack Miller
Pedro Acosta
Jack Miller

On Aerodynamics

Talking through what goes into a good race start, I asked Miller about COTA’s chicane, to which he told me, “So you sort of off turn one down through two, you kind of... It's the first gear for turn one, and you're up two gears into third. You kind of roll off like your pin sort of dropping down the hill using a lot of rear brake to stop the wheelie, then you kind of wind it up out of two to three but then as soon as you kind of get close to the curve of three you're off the gas and you're kind of off the gas for the next three-four corners. You may be touching it in the middle basically just to help the bike go from one side to the other but yeah you're uh, you're definitely not flat through there. Especially with all the aero and stuff like that, that's on the bike. I mean, the thing weighs an absolute ton trying to get it from one side to the other.” 

Asking to elaborate, I posed the question about the differences he felt between the prior generation MotoGP bikes and these new ones with all the aero. He told me, “They were never easily maneuverable. They've never been easy. [But] these things are still an absolute animal to move from one side to the other,” adding, “But obviously being in MotoGP through this whole progression basically from no aero to where we're at now has been you know mind-boggling sometimes because it's just it's crazy how good they accelerate and decelerate now and how good they actually turn once the things over. But trying to get the thing from here to here is an absolute nightmare, and like physically it's extremely demanding as like both accelerating, decelerating, because you're just using so much more power, both on gas and then obviously stopping the thing as well as trying to change directions. It's a nightmare.” 

Pedro Acosta, however, has a very different take. 

I told him about Miller’s thoughts, to which he replied, “Well, at the end, it’s the only MotoGP bike I’ve ridden, you know. It’s true that for them, I listen many times to these comments, and for them, maybe they tried a really old MotoGP bike. Well, ten years ago (laughs). It was different, you know, because there was zero aero, the traction control was completely different, the package of the bike was completely different, for sure. But it’s the only MotoGP bike that I really learned to ride. And this is how I ride.”

Pedro Acosta

On Liberty Media’s Acquisition of MotoGP

Jack had thoughts on the subject

“I don't know. I mean, I think change is good. Change is good for anything,” Miller started, adding, “We've had the people running it and built this championship to what it is now. Yeah. And I think change is good, you know. I think there's some fresh ideas that can come and can be great.” 

Miller then elaborated, saying, “You know, as an Australian or as an outsider looking into this largely European sport, I think it can do with some outsider change. Where in the marketing department, in the interactions, the way that we go about things, some of the events and stuff like that. We sometimes like to follow, whereas we should be trying to set the trends. I'm a big believer in fuck what they're doing, we'll do what we're doing. And that's the biggest thing that I’ve found especially in previous years with the growth of Formula 1 and what they're doing is like trying to copy and trying to jump on the back of whatever else has been rather than setting our own tone and doing our own thing. So I think it can be good. I think if somebody with some balls gets in and you know puts some stuff up there, I think it can be good.”

Finally, Miller said, “I think for our sport, we're fortunate enough to have, I'm biased, so I'm going to say the best sport in the world to watch. It's amazing, the drama, the racing, the contacts, the ups and downs, the highs and lows. It's so fantastic. And just to try and get that out to the right broader audience, I think is just fantastic. Because I think once people understand, I mean, any person that you ever get to a MotoGP race, they'll always say they're coming back. So the biggest thing is just getting their eyes on what it is, exactly.”

Pedro, however, responded more politically neutral. 

“I mean, depends,” he said, adding, “You cannot have friends here. I mean, the day that you’re world champion, or the day that you win or whatever, you are friend of everyone, and everyone will call you. Then when you’re crashing or you have a bad day or whatever, no one will remember you. This ride in life is quite short. And today you’re the best and tomorrow nobody remembers you, you know. Sometimes we need to protect ourselves.” 

And that was it. 

Pedro Acosta
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And On Training, Both Physically and Mentally

Pedro’s 19-year-old youthfulness shown through in his answer, as asking how he trains, whether it’s dirt biking, bicycling, or road riding, he told me confidently, “I train everywhere. I mean, with everybody, with everything, you know, at the end. I think the best thing of the world is the capacity to change everything from one day to the other one. It's quite nice also in the morning I go every morning to the gym about these things, physical things, but at the end where you take the most physicality for the bike is when you are riding, when you understand the movement of the bike, the strength that you need to do and these things.” 

He added, “Then you go to the gym just to make the final tuning, let's say. The most important [muscles] are the back, the shoulder, the chest, well, let's say forearms, and the chest with the back. At the end, when you are braking, you are supporting everything with the forearms.” 

And in terms of mental training, Pedro told me it’s best to have someone there to ground you, telling me, “When everything is nice, everything is easy. I mean, you don't have pressure, everything goes easy, you don't think about anything. The problem arrives when you start to have difficult moments, you start to not understand anything, you crash, you...start to get in your head. And sometimes you need to be more focused and the people that you have around to have the correct one [is more important] than anything else.” 

To that end, Pedro said, “You know, because it's the one that when you’re not doing something correct they’ll say to you, uh…I mean for example, I always come with my sister. She's six years older than me and we grew up together. She’s one of the closer people in my life.” I questioned “And she can just tell you to be like all right snap out of it?” 

“Yeah, like ‘Come on!’,” he added.

Jack Miller

As for Jack, “Obviously the fitness is changing every year,” he starts, “I mean, I spent a lot of time on the bicycle, a lot of time on the bicycle, and definitely in the last couple of years, well especially this year, more time in the gym. Biggest thing for me is trying to keep my weight down. I'm one of the heavier guys,” to which I interjected, “That makes me feel great!” We both had a good laugh after.  

He then added, “You know, I run probably like 147 lbs to 150 lbs max, and these boys are you know they're 127 lbs, 130 lbs max you know. So I am one of the heavier guys but then so that's why I've always been sort of on the cardio side of things doing a lot of cardio. But this year especially, just trying to change things around a little, work on the cardio a little bit differently, but then keep the weight off, but try to make what muscle mass I have more, let's say, useful for me.”

Asking Jack about training on street bikes, he told me “Not really. I enjoy going and riding whatever I can, whenever I can. My love is for riding motorcycles, whether it be dirt bikes, I do at least one time a week motocross. Especially back in Europe where it's really easily accessible, I go and ride at least one time every two weeks for some sort of activity on road. Whether it be these really small like road bikes you can ride there like a 190cc or supermotard or then a 600cc or 1000cc depending on the track we're going to. So I try and use them just for mainly for speed and just that sort of preciseness that you need that you don't get maybe out of a moto bike.”

That said, even though he’s always training, the level of training may not meet what the new MotoGP bike needs, with Jack telling me, “You can spend all winter riding a street bike or riding you know your standard bike, road bike, and you get on this [MotoGP bike] no matter what you do, it doesn't matter what you do throughout the winter, you still get on this thing in Malaysia at the first test and roll out in the first three laps you go, ‘What have I fucking done all winter? I've done nothing!’”

Jack Miller

Different Riders, Different Styles, Different Answers

What surprised me the most between the two riders was truly how different their answers were. Yes, they have their differences, but these two are at the tippy top of motorcycle racing. They’re racing side-by-side each weekend. And they’ve been riding since before they were out of diapers. 

But the two couldn’t be more different. 

I think in my youth, I’d probably relate more to Pedro’s confidence and his ability to use that confidence to get through the field. But as I’ve gotten older, Jack’s comments and attitude ring more true, even though Jack’s still a decade younger than me. Oof, I’m old. 

I can’t wait to see what they do throughout the season and how their respective capabilities shine through.

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