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Meet The Riders: Jerónimo González

Meet the Riders: Jerónimo González - The Cheerful Colombian

Jerónimo González is the only Colombian rider in the 2023 Yamaha R3 bLU cRU European Championship line-up, but his infectious smile and cheerful disposition along with his passion for learning languages and aviation certainly make him stand out from the crowd. Let's chat to him in the first of our 'Meet the Riders' interview series...

Full name: Jerónimo González

Number: 77

Describe yourself in one word?

JG: CHEERFUL! I always like to transmit that to people because I believe that there is no better way to enjoy a special moment than just being happy.

How old were you when you got your first motorbike?

JG: I have had a motorcycle since I was 12 years old, but we could not buy one until I was 15, during those years between I always rented motorcycles. So, my first bike was a Suzuki and I only raced with it in 2019 - I finished 3rd in the GP1 Championship in Colombia. It was a really important bike because I learned a lot, and also I had a lot of firsts - not necessarily first places but: first race, first crash, first injury! A lot of learning. We sold that bike last year and now I'm loving my Yamaha.

Does anyone else in your family race motorbikes?

JG: Nope! I am the first rider in my family. My father had a 600cc bike but he just went to some track days with me and he never raced.

Do you have a nickname and what does it mean?

JG: No, well, not a proper nickname with a funny meaning. Almost everyone just calls me 'Jero' - it's simple but I like it.

What are your hobbies outside of racing?

JG: This is a difficult one because at the moment I don't have something specific, I like a lot of things! But I guess the most interesting is that I love aviation, I have always liked the idea of it and I think that if I hadn't been a motorcycle rider I would have been an airplane pilot! I also like to practice other sports like cycling, running, swimming... obviously I also love watching motor racing and I follow it a lot.

Do you have any other talents?

JG: At the moment I don't feel that I have, but I think that if I practiced professionally I could become a very good cyclist or athlete.

Who is your hero?

JG: Salvatore Salamone is my hero, he was my manager and mentor for several years until he passed away last year. He was Italian but lived in Bogota, Colombia for his last 20 years. He created the best racing team in Colombia of which I was a part and it really boosted my career in an extraordinary way. Thanks to him I met the Brazilian AD78 team that I'm with now and I have reached Europe. He taught me many things, but I remember him every day because he told me the importance of always having a smile on your face and enjoying every moment. I hope he's still proud of me.

What is your favourite song to listen to before a race?

JG: This is a tricky question for me, because I have so many! Right now I'd say 'Happy Now' by Kygo, but I have a whole playlist featuring artists like Kygo, Jonas Blue, Robin Schulz, Coldplay...

Which is your favourite circuit?

JG: The Circuit of Barcelona! I like it a lot and at the moment it is my favourite. Our second race of the season was there and I enjoyed the feeling. 

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

JG: OK, I think it's that I love aviation, I already mentioned it but it's a big passion for me. Not only the feeling of travelling in a plane, which I find really beautiful, but understanding how incredible planes are and the dream of one day being able to fly one. I think it's an interesting fact because it's something not everybody knows about.

Why did you choose your number?

JG: It came from the fact that I wanted to create a logo when I first started racing, so we were creating something with my two names 'Juan Jeronimo' and it just occurred to us that the two "JJ" looked good with the number 77, so for a few years now I've used 'JJ77' as a logo.

What is your favourite food?

JG: Definitely Italian food! I'm happy that we have been to Italy twice already this year with the Misano test and Misano race! I've always loved all kinds of pastas, and obviously you can't forget pizza...

What is your favourite thing about being in the paddock?

JG: Wow, basically that every race weekend is a dream come true! A few years ago I was far from being in a championship like this. Even just sharing the race track with riders that I've only seen on TV, and then being able to meet some of them, is something sensational! In addition to being on incredible circuits with these riders, the emotions and atmosphere in the WSBK paddock are simply magical.

Do you have any pets? Tell us about them...

JG: Yeah, I have a dog and she is really cute! She is 4 years old and we rescued her from the streets - unfortunately in Colombia the abandonment of dogs is massive and we rescued Antonia when we saw her on the road.

What do you miss when you are away from home?

JG: It is hard to explain because when you have been away from home for more than 2 months, you start to miss almost everything, but on the other hand I also think that being away from home is a nice way to learn how to face problems, face fear and grow in many ways.

Watch JG77's adventures as he flies around the skies and race tracks of Europe via @yamahablucruofficial and his own profile @jero77g