During the Bologna Motor Show former grand prix racers Lucio Cecchinello and Franco Uncini, plus MotoGP Doctor Claudio Costa, were among guests at a special talk show organised by LGS Sport Lab.
Uncini (now MotoGP safety representative) and Cecchinello (now team manager of Honda LCR) spoke about overcoming injury and making the transition from racer into 'normal life' once their careers were over.
“Getting injured is like breaking a mosaic,” said 1982 500cc world champion Uncini, who suffered a near fatal accident at Assen in '83. “It takes time and a big dose of patience to reassemble the parts and when it happened to me I was lucky as Doctor Costa was on my side.”
Uncini retired at the end of 1985, an experience he found challenging: “A rider without competition is a like a fish out of water. It is very difficult to build a new life away from competition and I think that LGS Sport Lab can offer a great help to these athletes.”
Cecchinello didn't quite win a world title, but he did enjoy a successful nine-year career in 125cc grand prix competition, winning seven races.
The Italian had run his own 125cc team in the closing stages of his career and, after retiring at the end of 2003, put all his efforts into team management.
Among those to have passed through Cecchinello's pit are Casey Stoner, Carlos Checa and Randy de Puniet.
“Like Franco, I was very sad when I retired from the racing competitions because I had to face a different way of living after 15 years on the bike,” reflected Cecchinello. “Now I have got a new incentive because I can transfer my experience to the young riders as a team manager and I have the chance to co-operate with the main Organisers [FIM, MSMA and Dorna] giving my small support to this exciting sport.”
Whilst finding a new purpose off the motorbike can be daunting, Dr Costa insisted racers have all the qualities needed to succeed.
“Sport is like a 'life gym' thanks to the values you get from it and the diversity of experiences it offers: The extreme effort, the happiness of victory and the disappointment of defeat. All these elements shape athletes personalities to face the rest of their lives in the best way,” he said.