MotoGP: A New Beginning

A California teenager racing overseas has a plan to get America back into Grand Prix racing.

Jayson Uribe at Donington Parks Melbourne Loop action shot

When I look at the standings for MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 world championships, I see mostly Spaniards atop the leaderboards. Spanish riders have an ideal situation for reaching MotoGP: Age limits are low, costs are manageable, and the bikes never stop improving. Spain is also home to some of the greatest racetracks in the world—Catalunya, Jerez, Motorland Aragon, and Valencia. But most of all, Spain focuses on developing young talent.

I started going to the racetrack when I was nine years old. Because of my age, I struggled to get track time. Not many people wanted to see a kid riding in the C group on a Honda RS125 alongside 600 and 1000cc sportbikes. All they saw was a liability. Now I am 15, and I still struggle with age limits at American tracks.

Spanish families can rent a kart track for an average cost of 25 Euros (around $40) a day. Some of the riders that I have seen are just eight years old, and they aren't riding 10-year-old RS125s; they are on 2014 BeOn pre-Moto3 prototypes. Unlike in America, the development of racing motorcycles has not stopped. New bikes come out every year that are better than the previous models.

America has produced some of the greatest riders in the history of the sport. Where did so many of those champions come from? Flat track. Not many Spanish riders have flat-track and/or supermoto experience. Flat track is cheaper than roadracing, you don’t need a huge track to practice, and you can ride almost anything and learn skills that may save you from crashing on pavement.

We should stop thinking, “This is dangerous. Kids shouldn’t be allowed to race until they are 16 and have some experience and maturity,” and start thinking, “Yes, it is dangerous, but how are these kids going to grow and progress without proper facilities? Let’s get them started at age eight, and while we’re at it, let’s change the age limit at gyms to eight so they can be physically fit.”

If we built smaller circuits where kids could ride whenever they felt like it, I think we could have another era of American domination. America is not out of the game, but it’s going to take more work to get to the end goal than in other countries. I have seen American talent. I have seen the drive and desire in those young riders’ eyes and witnessed their talent on the track. All they need is a chance, so why not give it to them?

I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to live in Europe and race motorcycles. I love the people, the competition, and the camaraderie is amazing. Plus I get to spend virtually every waking hour of each day working toward my goal of competing in MotoGP. It’s a long, difficult, and bumpy road, but at least I’m on that road.

Jayson Uribe rides a FPW Racing Honda in the Motul Motostar British Championship. Follow his progress at www.jaysonuribe.com.

BSB Snetterton 13th-15th, June 2014 - Motostar Jayson Uribe (FPW Honda 250) leads Ed Rendell (Honda 125) and Tom Booth Amos (Honda 250) into Agostini.

Jayson Uribe at Donington Parks Melbourne Loop.

BSB Thruxton 1st-3rd, August 2014 - Motostar Jayson Uribe (FPW Honda 250) leads Ed Rendell (Banks Honda 125), Taz Taylor (FPW Luyten Honda 125) and Mike Brouwer (Honda 250) on to the Startline.

BSB Thruxton 1st-3rd, August 2014 - Becky Uribe cleaning Jay Jay's leathers.

Jayson Uribe's father Allan, works on the Honda 250 at Brands Hatch.

Jayson Uribe.

Mike Brouwer leads James Hobson (42), Bradley Ray (28), Jayson Uribe (36), Josh Owens (65), Charlie Nesbitt (86) and Arnie Shelton (43) at Brands Hatch.