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Lucio Cecchinello on his Catalunya win and the complications of being team owner and rider

Lucio Cecchinello on his Catalunya win and the complications of being team owner and rider

Lucio Cecchinello, winner of the 125cc race in Catalunya, speaks to about only his second victory in 107 Grand Prix starts and the complications of being both owner and rider for a racing team. In Catalunya you achieved just your second victory in a Grand Prix, how does it feel to have doubled your tally?

Lucio Cecchinello: There are so many special emotions I am feeling about last weekend. Mainly because eventually all our hard work has paid off. I may be the rider and the owner of the team, and while it does involve a great deal of training, organising and planning on my behalf, I also get lots of help from some great people, and the win is just rewards for the amount of effort put in by everybody. We celebrated by going to a restaurant and then staying out until two in the morning, my head was really hurting on Monday morning! Winning a race is like winning the Championship for me, I am delighted.

Q: You made the move from Honda to Aprilia at the beginning of the season, and the results seem to backing up that decision. What are the main differences between the bikes?

LC: The Aprilia is sturdier, more rigid and it also reacts a lot more to what you do on it. You do however notice things on it more, for example if the suspension set up is wrong, you really notice, which can be a help. All in all, if you get the set-up 100% right, I think it is a better bike, for my style anyway.

Q: How did you get into being an owner and a rider at the same time?

LC: I began riding really late, at nineteen years old or something. My parents didn´t want me to do it any earlier, they wanted me to finish school and get my education behind me. I joined the Italian Championship in 1989 and a year later was runner up to a certain Massimiliano Biaggi! In 1991 I took part in the Europeans, and came second to Juan Borja. In 93 and 94 I went in the World Championships, but the materials we worked with weren´t very good. That´s the problem, in 1996, after having won European Championship the year before, I could only get a semi-official ride. At that time I was 26, and no team is going to want to take on someone at that age. The only way was to go alone and do it. It´s really hard work, finding your own sponsors and organising everything, but when moments like Sunday happen, it makes it all worth it.

Q: What happens if you´re not performing well, do you sack yourself?

LC: This may sound funny, but I am always looking out for riders to replace me. I have to be able to justify my place in the team. I am thirty-one now, and don´t really have a future as such, if I´m not quick enough then someone else has to do the work. At the moment however, I´m going well, so that´s not an issue. I train every day from 8 until 11, and still want to ride. There will come a time though when I won’t be able to and I´ll just be a manager, but I enjoy riding too much at the moment.

MGP: What are your objectives for Assen?

LC: To get some vital points for the championship, and to move up the standings. We have a good chance to do something, and the objectives are to win at the end of it all.

MGP: You gave Toni Elias a big hug after Montmeló, what´s your opinion of him?

LC: Well, my compliments go out to him. For such a young rider to show such spirit and such guts is brilliant. He´s a great talent. His team use some of our material from last year, and also some of the mechanics are part of our set up. So I get a certain amount of satisfaction from seeing him up on the podium, I´m happy for him and for Alberto Puig who is doing such a good job.

125cc, 2001, Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya, RAC

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