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Michael Laverty lifts the lid on a MotoGP rider's off-season schedule

The 2018 MotoGP season sparks into life exclusively on BT Sport in Qatar from 16-18 March and Michael Laverty explains how the riders will have been preparing this winter.

BT Sport’s latest MotoGP recruit Michael Laverty has given an intriguing insight into a rider’s off-season as we count down to the start of the 2018 season.

The British Superbike stalwart, who has returned to Tyco BMW, will be providing expert analysis, whilst also contributing in the commentary box this year.

As ever, you'll be able to watch every lap from all 19 rounds exclusively live on BT Sport and if you're not yet a subscriber we can get you set up in just 15 minutes right here!

Watch the MotoGP 2018 season exclusively on BT Sport

Ahead of the curtain raiser in Qatar, BTSport.com caught up with Laverty and he revealed that the grid has a plethora of ways to keep in the groove ahead of the next campaign.

“Basically, it’s about staying on two wheels as much as possible,” stated the 36-year-old.

“The current trend is riding a lot of dirt track and a little bit of Motorcross - that’s the one you can get injured at, so they restrict that a little bit – a little bit of Supermoto and then riding your race bike.

“You don’t get to ride the race bikes as often as you’d like, the other bikes have to substitute.”

All sports require certain fitness regimes, but the demands of motorbike racing keeps their physical exertions relatively simple.

“There’s a little bit of time in the gym, but all the bike riding keeps you out of there. You’ll do a little bit of strength and conditioning. The guys don’t need to bulk up, we want to stay in the 60kg range if possible, so it’s a lot of cycling and running or some swimming,” explained BT Sport’s newest addition.

“I think the guys like to alternate their schedule, keep it current, keep it fresh, keep it exciting, so you still enjoy what you do. It’s just staying fit, staying active and monitoring your nutrition.

“It’s about what works for you. Marc Marquez mountain bikes, cycles a lot, Motorcross, a lot of dirt track. You don’t see him on a fireblade on the track.”

Outsiders might think short stints on race bikes is an issue for riders, but Laverty insists it’s about adapting and maximising the testing sessions.

“For the Moto2 and Moto3 guys it’s European based testing, so they can lose a day or two due to rain. For the MotoGP guys it’s nine days,” continued Laverty.

“This year it is three days in Sepang, three days in Thailand and three days in Qatar. Just nine days and you’ve got to be ready to roll.

“It’s quite a lot of miles. Those countries you can be on track by 10am and ride right through until 5pm, so you can squeeze in a lot of laps if you have enough mileage in your engines and enough tyre allocation to do so.

“The addition of a practice bike, like a superbike, can be useful. I know (Valentino) Rossi has one and Jorge Lorenzo uses one. They aren’t used too often but enables you to ride something a bit closer to the GP bikes.”

Watch the Qatar Grand Prix live on BT Sport 2 from Friday 16th March

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