Superprestigio Roundtable

American riders Jared Mees, Brad Baker, and Shayna Texter reflect on their experience in Spain.

Jared Mees action shot
Jared Mees action shotCycle World

December's Superprestigio was an event to remember. Luckily for those of us who live in the United States, the invitational short-track race was broadcast live on CycleWorld.com and FansChoice.tv with commentary from seven-time AMA Pro Grand National Champion Chris Carr and MotoGP's Gregory Haines, so we didn't miss any of the action. As a follow-up, I was curious to learn more about the experiences of my peers who competed in the event, so I sat down separately with Jared Mees, Brad Baker, and my sister, Shayna Texter, and asked each of them the same questions. Enjoy!

What was the biggest difference between bike setup in Spain and what you normally run in America?

Jared Mees: My bike was basically set up the same as I run it here. Maybe a little different ride height, but that was about it.

Brad Baker: There really wasn't a whole lot of setup change. I ran my ride height a little higher in both the front and rear to compensate for the smaller 17-inch tires. The rest was basically the same.

Shayna Texter: The 17-inch tires really made setting up the bike a challenge for me. I normally run my bikes tall in the rear, but I didn't have much time to prepare for the trip and get my suspension dialed in for the change in tire size, so I was maxed out on the ride height that I could use with my setup. I also was very limited by the changes I could make. I didn't have any extra links for the chain, only two sprockets to choose from, and a non-adjustable stock front end. I am smaller than most riders, so sometimes it takes a unique setup for me to race at my best.

Jared Mees and Brad Baker
Jared Mees and Brad BakerCycle World

What did you like most about the race program? Would you recommend any changes?

JM: The event was first class, and I had a great time. The only thing that I would like to change is more laps for the Superfinal.

BB: I liked the rider introductions. I think it was really cool that they introduced all the top riders. It's kind of like Supercross—more of a show for the fans. The one thing I would change is the number of laps; the races are too short to get really intense battles.

ST: It was fast and kept the fans involved. As a rider, I enjoyed the four-minute practice and qualifying sessions. They really gave us a lot of laps to try to dial in our setup. The only thing I would recommend changing in the future would be to run 19-inch tires.

How would you rate the competition? Do you think the top finishers would be competitive at an AMA Pro Grand National?

JM: The competition was stiff. Those guys are the best motorcycle racers on the planet. As far as being competitive at an AMA Pro Flat Track race, it depends. The talent is there, but they need some track time. It would also depend if it was a singles or twins national.

BB: The competition is really good in Europe. There are a huge number of riders that really care and push to get better. It's still not anywhere close to the US, though. But hey, they just started! There are some riders over there that could potentially become top contenders in AMA Pro Flat Track, but I don't think they would jump right into it and succeed. Marc Marquez is obviously on another level; he could figure out all of types of dirt tracks and become a top contender if he wanted.

ST: The competition was good. The riders really stepped up their performance and put in the time. I think some riders would do well at smaller short tracks, but a lot would struggle on the bigger, faster dirt ovals.

Brad Baker action shot
Brad Baker action shotCycle World

How did the fans regard you as an American motorcycle racer?

JM: They treated me great. I couldn't have asked for a better welcome. They were awesome.

BB: The fans in Europe are amazing! I'm not trying to take away anything from our loyal fans here at home, but it's different over there. No matter where you're from, motorcycle racers are thought of as superstars. I have a really good fan base in Europe. It definitely helps when people perceive you as being on the same level as Marc Marquez. In the states, if you're not a top name in supercross or freestyle, you're essentially a nobody.

ST: Awesome! A lot of people knew my deal was last minute and they were all very supportive even though I struggled. Many said they hoped to see me come back next year more prepared.

Which roadracers, besides Marc Marquez, impressed you with their flat-track skills?

JM: Kenny Noyes was very fast and smooth. He stayed out of trouble and was consistent all night long. Alex Marquez showed a lot of promise, as well.

BB: Bradley Smith really impressed me this year. You can tell that he really tried to become a better dirt tracker from the first Superprestigio. I can't say that just about him, though. A lot of riders tried super hard to improve. I started calling Tito Rabat, the Moto2 world champion, Tito Robot. That dude rode pretty much six days straight, sun up to sun down, trying to find that extra edge. The work ethic of MotoGP riders is incredible. That's why they are such great riders.

ST: Bradley Smith.

Shayna Texter portrait
Shayna Texter portraitCycle World

Does the Palau Sant Jordi resemble any tracks in America?

JM: I would say it is a mix between Bakersfield, California, which is an Eddie Mulder series race, and the DuQuoin, Illinois, indoor track.

BB: The Palau Sant Jordi is like a mix of Springfield short track (when it's set up as a paper clip) and the Daytona short track. The size resembles Springfield and the surface is in between Daytona and Springfield. I would have to get really technical to fully explain it.

ST: I would compare it to the DuQuoin short track. During practice, one corner was really rough and resembled the Virginia Mega Mile, but they got it into much better shape for the heat races.

What was your greatest struggle at the event?

JM: The program was very fast paced compared to what we have here at home. It wasn't a struggle, really, but if you had a flat tire or needed to make a drastic change to the bike, it could bite you quick. Another minor struggle was the slightly different culture. It's a mental thing more than anything else.

BB: I'm not one to really struggle but not having my own crew over there was a little difficult. Jared's whole crew went on vacation to support him, so he felt like he was at home, which was great for him. Luckily I've made awesome friends and connections in Spain. Now it's like I have family and a team in Barcelona, so I quickly got over that difficulty. My biggest struggle was sitting in the stands, busted up, watching the races.

ST: Besides the 17-inch tires, surviving turn 1 and 2 off the start! It's like rolling the dice to get out of there cleanly. I also really struggled with the food and time difference. Hopefully I will be invited back so I can be a lot more prepared than I was this year.

Superprestigio
SuperprestigioCycle World
Jared Mees and Brad Baker

Jared Mees and Brad Baker.

Jared Mees and Brad Baker.Cycle World
Jared Mees

Jared Mees.

Jared MeesCycle World
Brad Baker

Brad Baker.

Brad BakerCycle World
Shayna Texter

Shayna Texter.

Shayna TexterCycle World