We would like to congratulate you on your 22nd championship title. What does this achievement mean to you?
“Thank you very much! I’m really happy. As in previous years, it was difficult to get back into the swing of things, and this year has been really busy. There have been few races and changes to the regulations, which are surprises that put you off when all is said and done. But, in the end, we managed to get the title again after a very, very good season.”
Who do you rely on to help you reach the top? Who are the people who encourage you to give your all?
“My family, my girlfriend, and of course my team give me the most support. Repsol Honda is the best place I could be and I am grateful for this. Working with people as professional as those at Repsol and Honda encourages you to give 100% and win so many titles.”
You devote practically your entire life to trial. What do you most enjoy in your day-to-day routine?
“I try to enjoy every moment as much as possible, be it racing or going out for dinner with friends. I always try to have as much fun as I can, and that’s what gets me up in the morning, eager to train, to continue getting better, and enjoying everything I do.”
You have just won your 22nd world title. You must have so many trophies. Where do you keep them all?
“I keep them at my parent’s house and my own place. Some are at the motorcycle museum in Basella (Lleida). They’re scattered across these places. I am very happy to have so many good memories and so many trophies.”
Do you ever fear losing your throne without seeing it coming, like a character in Game of Thrones?
“Ha, ha, ha! I am just finishing the first season and I’m starting to see what it’s all about. It’s something that crossed my mind once and something that will happen one day. I’ve already achieved far more than I ever expected and I’m going to fight to stay at the top. My consolation if I do lose my throne is that it won’t be like in Game of Thrones. I’ll have another opportunity to reclaim the crown if I lose it, and I’ll get a chance to fight for it. That’s the kind of person I am and what I enjoy, getting better and being at the top.”
Will you continue to give your all in the years to come? What are your plans for the future?
“When things are going as well as they are now, it’s hard to think about anything that isn’t racing, enjoying what I do, enjoying each and every day. My aim is to continue at this pace for as long as I can. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep at it or when my motivation is going to wear off, but I enjoy what I do, I get up eager to work, and seize every day.”
You’ll probably have a big celebration with your family and friends. What have you got planned?
“We’ve already had a team celebration in Sokolov, but there’s going to be a celebration in Italy that’s more formal and better prepared. After that, I’ll celebrate with my family and friends. I try to celebrate each title as though it were the last, because a World Championship is very difficult to achieve and you never know if you’ll get to win it again. You have to enjoy the moment.”
“On holidays, I try to go some place where I can’t get my hands on a motorcycle or bicycle and I can disconnect from it all.”
What could you not go without in one of your celebrations?
“Having all of my friends there, because we always have a good time. We also can’t go without good food and drink, otherwise they wouldn’t come…what a cheek! Ha, ha, ha! You need a proper dinner because the night is long and you need all of your energy to celebrate in style.”
Are we right in thinking that cycling is the sport you enjoy the most after trial?
“I like cycling a lot, and motocross as well for obvious reasons. Football is one of my favourite sports because there’s a lot of technique involved. But, of all these, I like cycling the most. It is a sport I love and need to get in shape as a complement to trial, and it works very well for me.”
How are your neighbours treating you? Have they got anything special organised?
“My friends in Piera and Andorra will organise a celebration. Those in Piera will likely head up to Andorra, which isn’t far for them, to throw something together for me. They surprise me every year. They never get tired of seeing me win and they always have something special in store.”
When you’re done competing around December, what do you do to get away from it all?
“I try to go some place where I can’t get my hands on a motorcycle or bicycle and I can disconnect from it all. I travel with my girlfriend and friends and enjoy a few days of relaxation to recharge my batteries. We’re constantly going from place to place during the season and getting physical and mental rest is important to having a good pre-season.”
How do you feel when you’re reminded you’re the most successful motorcyclist in history?
“It’s something I haven’t yet been able to process. When you’re racing, you keep going, you take it one day at a time, one race at a time. You compete and achieve things little by little, but, when you speak with riders who have retired, that’s when you put things in perspective.”
If someone were to tell the story of your life, what would you like it to be? A book? A film?
“I think a film could be very good. With all of the adventures we’ve had, it could be a very good one!”
To conclude, Toni, what do you hope for next year?
“That it be like this year. When things have gone as well as they did this year, you can’t ask for more. I will continue to try and give my all, make an effort to be physically well. Your first goal is always getting to the first races in good condition and to try and win wherever you go, because it’s our duty and that’s what I’ve been fighting for over the past 11 years.”