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Roberto Pattoni: Team Manager of the unlucky Paton outfit

Roberto Pattoni: Team Manager of the unlucky Paton outfit

Bad luck seems to have followed the Paton team ever since the start of the 2001 season. Continuous crashes for Vladimir Castka left them a long way behind in their development schedule and their future in MotoGP´s 500 class hung in the balance. Returning to action at Donington Park with new rider Sebastien Gimbert, the team hoped for an upturn in both fortune and results. However, after just 20 minutes of the first practice session the French rider crashed, breaking his ankle and ruling himself out of action for the rest of the weekend. caught up with Team Owner Roberto Pattoni to find out more about the Italian team´s plight. Just how disappointing was it to lose Sebastien on Friday?

Roberto Pattoni: It was extremely disappointing. Sebastien had tested for a few laps in Mugello and after the first half an hour of the session we were already encouraged by the way he had taken to the bike. We were hopeful that he could qualify in a good position with other machines behind him but unfortunately he fell and we were out of luck again.

Q: With Sebastien now out of action do you plan to search for another rider or wait for him to recover?

RP: We will definitely wait for him. We were racing with the wrong rider for the start of the season and decided to try and get Gimbert on board as soon as possible. Unfortunately he couldn´t ride in Barcelona or Assen because of other responsibilities but now he is with us we plan to hang on to him. We are very happy with him and still believe he is the rider who can help us achieve our objectives.

Q: Are your current objectives different to those at the start of the season?

RP: Well, yes and no. Obviously we have lost a lot of time but our only objective at the start of the season was to compete with the other privateers and V2 machines and prove that we have a place in MotoGP. As soon as Sebastien is fit again we can continue to do that and we believe that at Valencia and Brno we will be competitive.

Q: Has this season been more difficult than you expected?

RP: I knew it would be difficult, but unfortunately we made the wrong choice of rider and since then seem to have been continually hit with bad luck. It´s very exciting to compete and the team like to fight, but it´s extremely hard to win the fight without a little bit of luck. In the past all you had to do was put the motorcycle on the track and watch it go. In the current environment there is so much else that goes with it, like team structure, sponsors etc. This is the main problem for any private team.

Q: Despite everything, are you still managing to have fun?

RP: Motorcycling forms part of my DNA, so the passion is still there. My interest is in the bike, not the rest of it, so when the bike is on the track I am happy. We have had bad luck but we know we can bounce back and prove that we deserve to be racing in this Championship. The passion is certainly not dead yet.

500cc, 2001

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