Ever wondered whats going through the minds of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo as they ride their bikes at death-defying speeds to set new world records?

There is more to your favorite MotoGP riders than meets the eye. What seems like a lot of fun has a lot more going on beneath the surface. Here are a few things that you should know about MotoGP riders:

  • MotoGP riders take speed seriously – Averaging at over 100 mph, MotoGP riders can reach 355 km/h (221 mph) - a world record. This mind blowing record was set by Andrea Dovizioso, riding a Ducati Desmosedici GP15 2015 1000 cc during the 2015 Qatar Grand Prix.


  • They make serious money – MotoGP riders earn huge sums of money. Their income is mainly dependent on their performance in the annual FIM World Championship series. A big chunk of their income also comes from signing lucrative endorsement deals with various manufacturers and companies. Jorge Lorenzo was the second highest paid MotoGP rider in 2014, with earnings amounting up to $9.2 million per year. Valentino Rossi from the Yamaha Factory Racing Team made a staggering $22 million during the same year.


  • MotoGP motorcycles weigh twice as much as an average man – An average bike weighs around 160 kilos (350 pounds), which is more than twice the weight of an average male. To be able to handle such weight, MotoGP riders spend a lot of time in the gym, working on their arms and shoulders specifically.


  • Every MotoGP rider has a favorite track - For Valentino Rossi, it is the Italian circuits, for Jorge Lorenzo it is the Assen and Mugello circuits and for Marc Marquez it’s Aragon. Rossi prefers the Italian circuits because of their layout. For Lorenzo it is the high-speed corners in Assen and Mugello. And for Marquez the simple fact that the track in Aragon is really close to his home town makes it his favorite.


  • Riders may sweat up to two liters during a race – What looks like a smooth, high speed spectacle from a distance, is actually a tough combination of intense physical exertion and  challenging surroundings. Riders sweat profusely in hot and humid areas.


  • The MotoGP track sees a lot more kangaroo than you’d think – Motorcycle racing suits are typically made up of Kangaroo leather. It is light weight, abrasion resistant and flexible.


  • The MotoGP bikes – where technology meets top dollar – Yamaha spends around $30 to $50 million per year on MotoGP racing. Honda spends around $100 million a year. This money goes into the making of these bikes, among other things. For instance, the 1000-cc four-cylinder engines in MotoGP bikes can rev to 17,000 rpm. And Honda’s seamless gear-shift box can shift in just 0.009 seconds. It would be safe to say that these MotoGP bikes are technological powerhouses.


  • Cycling is equally important – Riders need to stay in shape. Cardiovascular fitness is critical for them to handle the grueling physical demands of motorcycle racing. Cycling is therefore a good option for them since it keeps them toned and helps them boost endurance and stamina.


  • Riders are barely home – The MotoGP season lasts for around eight months. It starts in March and finishes in November. Therefore, riders are hardly ever at home. The 2015 MotoGP calendar has races planned in Qatar, America, Spain, Germany, Argentina, France, the Czech Republic, Australia, Japan, Italy, Malaysia, Britain and Holland. With such a hectic schedule, it is easy to understand why these riders are almost never home.


  • Eating at the right time is a matter of concern – Riders typically face some difficulty in deciding what food to eat right before a race. The food intake can cause stress and even stomach cramps in some cases. Since riders are in their “battle positions” for 30-45 minutes; therefore it makes sense for them to have a pre-race meal well before the actual race.

So the next time you’re in the crowd, watching your favorite MotoGP rider glide his way around a track, you’d know how much preparation the rider had to go through.