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The real key in Acosta’s stunning start to life in MotoGP

Tech3 GasGas rookie Pedro Acosta has made a stunning start to life as a MotoGP rider having already managed a podium inside his first two grands prix.

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Photo by: Rob Gray / Polarity Photo

Acosta’s impressive march through the field in the Qatar GP to run as high as fourth because sliding down to ninth already grabbed attention.

But it was a similar charge from seventh on the grid last time out in Portugal that culminated in a maiden podium in third, after Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales crashed out on the last lap, that looks to have set the tone for the rest of Acosta’s year.

While much has been made about his riding ability – something well documented from his Moto3 days in 2021 – he alluded to something after his Portugal podium that points to the real key in his success so far.

“I only have good words for the whole team because it’s not so easy to come to a MotoGP bike, with a new track, with a new experience for us, it’s not easy to manage my head because I know that I’m not the easiest person in a race weekend,” he candidly admitted.

“They are working like hell. Every morning that I wake up I have like 20 messages from my data [engineer] and my crew chief, having many things and many photos to check, to understand where to improve.”

He added: “The team is making the way much easier. They are managing my head super well, I know that I am not the easiest person on a race weekend sometimes.”

Acosta has spoken at length about the pressure he has been under since his grand prix debut in 2021 and how now it is a normal part of his life.

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Pedro Acosta, Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

Photo by: Rob Gray / Polarity Photo

But with constant comparisons to other MotoGP greats and predictions of wins and even titles in his rookie year, there are still many mental hurdles for him to surmount.

The team KTM and Tech3 have assembled around him, helmed by veteran crew chief Paul Trevathan, is clearly keeping the 19-year-old in check as he learns the ropes in MotoGP.

That environment is one which is also allowing Acosta to maximise his learning experience and do so while embracing mistakes.

It is this that has led Tech3 team boss Herve Poncharal to coin a unique nickname for Acosta.

“We have a new rider, a rookie, but the incredible thing is that he has no pressure,” Poncharal told Canal+.

“He says: 'Don't be nervous, guys, I feel good, I'm not stressed at all, and all I need is to rider and rider to learn.'

“He made an average start in the sprint [in Qatar], then he came back well. He told me, 'it's good to make mistakes at the beginning, I'm learning', so I've always used that term since the beginning of the year: we call him SpongeBob, because he learns and [he] records everything.

“I didn't say anything in particular to him, other than: 'Keep doing your job, what you've been doing since your first laps in MotoGP. It's just what we need.'”

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