Ivo Lopes: Double champion in Portugal and Spain.
Munich. It’s every racers dream to become a champion. To win the title twice in a championship, is an even bigger achievement. And to win titles in two different championships in the same year? What can you say – that is exactly what Ivo Lopes managed to do this year. The 27-year old Portuguese rider can look back onto a more than successful season with the easyRace BMW Team and the BMW M 1000 RR. He completed his first mission of the year in September, being crowned champion in the Portuguese Superbike Championship with ten wins out of ten races. Then in October, he added his second title win in the Spanish Superbike Championship after 2021, at the penultimate round of the year at Jerez de la Frontera. We speak with Ivo about this stunning season.
Images © Kezman Ferreira
© Kezman Ferreira
Ivo, congratulations! If you would need to describe this season in three words, what would they be?
Ivo Lopes: “Thank you very much! The three best words that summarise this season are achievement, gratitude, and learning.”
Your main goal was to be Spanish champion again, but it was also very important for you to successfully compete in the Portuguese championship. Does this series have special meaning for you?
Lopes: “Yes, of course, mainly because it’s the championship of my country. However, the main goal is always to win the Spanish championship, as it is one of the most competitive championships worldwide. While it may be considered less competitive than the Spanish championship, it was an excellent addition to the plan for the Spanish racing, allowing me to stay active and competitive, serving as kind of training for the Spanish championship. Nevertheless, it is a title with great significance, not only for me but also for the team and the brand. Everything worked perfectly, and we realised that our hard work has paid off, and we are ready to step onto other global stages, more important, where we will be ready to compete for top positions, even in the world championship! The title in Portugal has a very special taste, but it also crowns all the excellent work the team has done, proving that the bike has all the attributes to face any challenge as a winning machine.”
© Kezman Ferreira
Ten wins in ten races in Portugal, it seems you were unbeatable there. Was it that easy?
Lopes: “I have to be honest, it’s not a championship at the level of the Spanish one, but still reasonable. However, it’s important to note that we benefited a lot from not having any issues with the bike. We finished all the races without problems and always simultaneously with the fight for the Spanish championship. This good work resulted in ten victories in ten races. It was perfect! The goal of competing in Portugal is always to represent the brand and the team as well as possible and to use it as practice for the Spanish championship, being as well-prepared as possible for other challenges that may arise.”
Ivo Lopes & easyRace BMW Team
© Kezman Ferreira
Let’s talk about the Spanish championship. In 2021, you were the first Portuguese to win the title there. What does it mean to you that you’ve done it again?
Lopes: “The 2021 Spanish championship title was a special one. It was my second year competing in Spain, taking my first steps in Superbike, and I had been the champion in the Open 1000 class the previous year. So, it was a year of great ambitions where we dreamed of the title in the highest class in Spain. However, since everything was new for us, we approached that year as a learning year. But in the end, we became champions! There was a significant investment in me from the team and BMW, and in the end, we materialised that ambition with the title, a dream I had because it’s a very demanding championship. It meant a lot to me, but the championship in 2023 was more competitive, more contested, and quite different. From 2021 to 2023, my learning curve and evolution as a rider were significant; I feel more confident, and the team knows me better. It was all very different, and we achieved another title, one of many we aim to conquer! We continue to work with the same commitment as before.”
© Kezman Ferreira
What was the secret of success this season?
Lopes: “There are several reasons for my success. I am at a stage in my life where the goal of reaching the world championship is very clear. My dream is to be the world champion, and therefore, my entire life is organised around that goal. Sports and competition are my priorities, so the focus is entirely on improvement, learning, and work. The year 2022 was difficult, but it served to learn and focus even more on my priorities. These have been years of hard work and learning, not only in sports but also as a person. The opportunity I had to race with the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team in WorldSBK is the result of the tremendous work and evolution I have been doing with the brand since 2020. I have much to learn, I am a very focused rider, always willing to work harder and better, together with everyone who supports me, BMW and the team. One of the secrets is to have faith, believe that it is possible, and work hard, even at home. But the main thing is to prioritise my sports goals and ambitions and fight for them. The most important thing for me is to be fast, go to the races, do my best, win, and continue to fight to reach the World Superbike Championship. I want to be better every day!”
Ivo Lopes, WorldSBK Barcelona
In WorldSBK, you stood in for injured Michael van der Mark in the ROKiT BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team at Barcelona. What have you learnt from that experience?
Lopes: “I took full advantage of the experience to ask many questions, exchange ideas, and try to evolve as much as possible in such a short time. The result of that experience was what we saw in the last race of the Spanish championship at Barcelona. It was my fastest race ever in terms of pace, undoubtedly due to the experience I had on that circuit in the world championship race, which gave me more confidence. I am a rider who is still on an upward learning curve, and I know I still have a lot to learn and evolve. Being in WorldSBK is a dream I continue to pursue, and undoubtedly, BMW has provided me with excellent experience and has been crucial to my development. BMW has made me a better, faster, and more confident rider. At the end of that race at Barcelona, I talked to the team, where I thanked the entire BMW organisation, including the technical engineers, because they truly taught me how to ride on that circuit.”
Ivo Lopes & Rogério Mota
© Kezman Ferreira
Who are the most important partners and people at your side?
Lopes: “When you are focused on a goal, as I am in reaching World SBK, you end up distancing yourself from many people, but you always surround yourself with some people who are your support on your journey. In my case, I have my family very close to me, but also Rogério Mota from BMW Portugal. He is a very special person who has helped me a lot, and our relationship has become a strong friendship even away from the tracks. BMW is a fundamental piece in this entire ‘puzzle’ because they have been doing an extraordinary job with me in recent years. The team also has enormous importance because we spend a lot of time together, get along very well, and they understand me 100 percent. Our relationship is very strong; we are very united, and that is evident when I win races, the immense pride they feel in me.”