Embarking upon the 2023 MotoGP Season, Izaskun Ruiz took the time to speak with Females in Motorsport about her career and how she got to travelling the world with the two-wheeled circus.
Maria Izaskun Ruiz, a Spanish journalist and current Editor in Chief for DAZN Spain, is a reference in the world of two wheels.
Izaskun has always been drawn by the world of motorcycles - since her first time in Estoril for the Portuguese Grand Prix with her friends. She was immediately “hooked” by the paddock's environment and the sounds of the bustling pit lane.
When a job opportunity came along, she didn’t have any doubts - she had to go for it.
“It has always been a world where I’ve felt welcomed,” she tells Females in Motorsport.
From the very beginning, she felt the support of the Television Española team, which enabled her to strengthen her abilities and professional skills.
At the same time, she admits that there were some stereotypes around women working in the paddock, but they could be quickly silenced by hard work. After all, professional respect is crucial for a journalist working in this field.
“You have to gain professional respect, in the eyes of other journalists and in the pits, with people working there,” she says. “In other words, it doesn't matter if you’re a man or a woman, you have to earn it equally and you do that through hard work.”
She makes it clear that being a journalist in MotoGP is a never-ending job.
“I’ve been working in this sport for 12 seasons now and it’s something you have to earn day by day because it’s very difficult to arrive here,” she says.
“But on the other hand, it's very easy to lose.”
Her unique style in interviewing makes you feel part of the moment. She always makes clear the importance of creating a human connection with the riders, without forgetting the main factor: respect.
“I always respect the person I have in front of me,” she says. “I'm here to try to get the best out of that person through my questions.”
She believes that asking straightforward and short questions is the best way to receive a good and honest answer. Besides respect, empathy is a crucial element when she interviews the riders, as it allows you to get a truthful and honest answer.
“It is about empathising and knowing what you want to ask them, but most importantly how to ask them,” she says.
Last year, DAZN introduced a new interview format, Carpool Karaoke, where Izaskun would interview the riders whilst driving around the area close to the circuit. She believes that this new segment allows the fans to know more about the riders.
“It's clear to everyone that you have to adapt to the ways of telling stories and you also have to adapt to the audience on the other side,” she says.
When talking about the female role in this field, Izaskun confirms the increasing number of women filling professional positions in MotoGP. She believes that it’s not a question of numbers, but more importantly of the diversity of roles in the system.
“The roles aren’t balanced,” she says. “There is still a lot of work ahead and the effort must be oriented to give visibility to women in order to create more points of reference.”
She believes that we need more role models such as Alexia Putellas, an award-winning football player for Barcelona FC, who won the Ballon d’Or twice and is a mentor in this sport.
“The most important thing is that those girls aren’t the ones creating their own obstacles in their trajectory, just because they don’t feel represented,” she says.
Last year the Angeluss team, the first all-female Moto3 team, participating in the Aragon wild card, demonstrated that things are changing.
“What I saw that day was a Moto3 world championship team, functioning and working like any other Moto3 world championship team,” Izaskun says.
Izaskun considers that highlighting the presence of women in the paddock, just for their gender and not for their competence, doesn’t improve equality in this sport.
“Women are perfectly qualified and that's what it's all about,” she says “that's what Angeluss was about. It was a wake-up call to say that they are also there and they can make it.”
Talking about the new season coming up, Izaskun knows that the 2023 MotoGP championship holds a lot of changes. From Saturday sprint races to the addition of new circuits, a whopping 40 races lie ahead.
She is indeed excited but also aware that this will affect the entire organisation of the weekend. This winter has been extremely intense for her due to the preparation to the new formats for the channel.
While talking about this new year's changes, she gave us some hints on what we’re going to see this year on DAZN.
“A gift for the fans,” she says. “There will be a change of format, of ways of telling stories, that is going to be very interesting.”
With the Portuguese Grand Prix already in the books, we can’t wait to see how the rest of the year unfolds!