“I think it comes naturally to him. You can see that he plays with the bike a lot. If he goes wide or onto the kerb he pushes the bike with his body to get extra turning and banking.”
But it’s not only his riding style – it’s more his character and his attitude and the combination of the three.
Acosta’s father is a fisherman, working off Spain’s Murcia coast. The family isn’t rich. Indeed the only way they could afford their son’s first set of leathers was by getting family and friends to chip in some money.
“Pedro comes from a hardworking family and he has a good attitude to work,” added Ajo. “When he joined my team he said, ‘Aki, I really understand how lucky I am to be here, so if I have this opportunity I never want to lose this opportunity, so I will sacrifice everything for it’. This is a great attitude for a young guy.
“I think Pedro is an old-school guy and it’s difficult to find young riders with an old-school mentality. If you can find young guys like this it helps a lot. Remy is another and Jack too.
“Let’s say that a lot of kids think about many different things that we didn’t think about when we were young, like social media and so on, which gives unnecessary pressure to young people. If you aren’t interested in these things then your head is much freer. Jack, Remy and Pedro are good examples of this.”
Acosta’s early 2021 results are historic, just like his early 2020 results were historic when he became the first rider to win the opening six races of a Red Bull Rookies season. A few months later he secured the title, his first major success.
“What we’ve learned with the Rookies Cup is that different riders mature at different times,” says former racer and journalist Peter Clifford, who helps run the series. “Pedro matured a lot in his two years with us, but we’ve had riders who did the same, but didn’t continue that trajectory, or flattened out and then got going again. Pedro is obviously continuing his trajectory.
“One of the salient points about Pedro is that when he came to the Rookies Cup in 2019 he had nothing else. Some guys also race in the CEV championship or whatever, but his family didn’t have the money, sponsors or a team, so the Rookies was it. There was an advantage to that in that he knew he absolutely had to make it in the Rookies.
“Pedro is certainly a thinker, but there are plenty of riders who are thinkers who think themselves to a standstill by over-thinking. Maybe they think so much about the bike that when something isn’t quite right they can’t ride around it.
“In the Rookies Cup Pedro developed a system in which he didn’t chase the motorcycle all through practice, trying to make it perfect because he knew that at some point in the race the bike wouldn’t be perfect – when the tyres are cold, when the tyres go off or whatever. So he realised there was no point spending all his time super-fine-tuning the bike because he knew there’d be times when it wasn’t right. He really made that work for him.”
Acosta was born in May 2004 and his favourite rider is 1993 500cc world champion Kevin Schwantz, who retired in 1995. His dad is a huge Schwantz fan, so the youngster spent his early years watching videos of the American doing battle in 500 GPs, rather than Valentino Rossi and the rest in MotoGP.
When will Acosta make it into MotoGP? He celebrates his 17th birthday later this month and because MotoGP’s minimum age limit is 18 the first season he could ride in the premier class is 2023.
Current MotoGP points leader Pecco Bagnaia thinks even that is too early because despite Acosta’s speed he has very little experience.
“The best way is to do two years in each category – Moto3, then Moto2,” said Bagnaia at Jerez. “You need to get experience to learn and to grow. For me it’s better to wait a bit and not put too much pressure on him, because we often see that when riders have too much pressure they can lose their way.”
In other words, enjoy Acosta’s brilliance but turn down the hype. The kid still has a long, long way to go, most likely into Ajo’s Moto2 team next and then KTM’s MotoGP team, if he continues doing what he’s doing.