30 March 2012
Interview with Lucio Cecchinello
In 1987 and 1988, just before I started racing, I did a few races working with Corrado Catalano, also with Alessandro Gramigni and one race with Loris Capirossi when he was doing the European championship.
What's your best racing memory?
The first victory is always something that gives you a very strong emotion. That was Jarama in 1998, when I beat Marco Melandri. Also, my first race in 1993 and my first points at Hockenheim in 1994. But after Jarama, the biggest emotion was winning at Mugello in 2003. This was the second track I visited when I first started in sport production. I will always remember arriving at Mugello - such a great place, such a huge, brilliant track.
Your era in 125s was an era of many great battles…
Yes, there were many strong riders in that period and many experienced riders like [Kazuto] Sakata, Ueda, [Dirk] Raudies, [Jorge] Martinez. For me it was really tough to try to beat them. I was always trying to make up for my lack of talent, but finally at 33-years-old I can say that I beat Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and so on!
I have a special photo of that race - it's me in front of Stoner, Pedrosa, De Angelis and [Andrea] Dovizioso. It's fantastic because it says a lot - the old generation with the new generation pushing from behind. After that I started getting beaten by my team-mate - Casey - and I realised it was time to retire.
What's your best memory as a team owner?
The big emotion was getting pole position at our very first MotoGP race, at Qatar in 2006 [with Stoner]. We were a new team with a new rider and a new bike and - bang! - pole position! I was in heaven! I touched the sky, that was huge, fantastic!
Do you remember bringing Stoner to GPs in 2002?
Or main sponsor Oxydo Safilo wanted to participate in 250s as well as 125s, so I spoke to Dorna and IRTA, asking them if there was a young rider with some skill who deserved a ride. Then I talked with Alberto Puig who told me there was this young kid, only 16. So we organised a test at Jerez.
Casey was immediately really fast, just one second behind Melandri on the factory Aprilia 250. Hmm, we realised he had some potential! The same again when he first tried the Honda RC211V. He was immediately fast. That was confirmation that he has a very special talent.
Many teams are running CRT bikes this year - why did you decide to continue with prototype machines?
Every team has its own history. Our story with our partners is that we are growing our relationship with them by being involved with Honda, using a prototype machine. Many of our sponsors are medium-sized companies who manufacture accessories – Rizoma, Arrow, Givi – and also bigger companies like Elf. They all support LCR because we are strongly involved with Honda.
For example, Rizoma make the handlebars and footrests for our bike, and Givi like to support us because this gives them a strong relationship with Honda dealers. For sure, if we didn't have prototype machines then Elf would be the first company to say that they are not interested to help us. All these companies want to be involved with top technology to help them sell their products.
Do you think CRT is the future?
The reality is that motorsport is going through a difficult phase. First, the tobacco companies withdrew, and they had invested a lot of money in this sport. Then we had to face the global economic crisis which has reduced company profits, which of course has reduced sponsorship budgets. In this environment I think the sport has maybe reacted too quickly, changing too many rules.
Tagged as: Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa , Loris Capirossi , Jerez , Randy de Puniet , Toni Elias , moto2 , Marco Melandri , Mugello , 125 , Qatar
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