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Giampiero Sacchi, General Manager of Derbi Racing team and the man who opened the GP door to Valentino Rossi

Giampiero Sacchi, General Manager of Derbi Racing team and the man who opened the GP door to Valentino Rossi

Giampiero Sacchi had extra reason to celebrate at Phillip Island three days ago. In 1995 the now General Manager of the Derbi Racing team and mentor of 125cc title contenders Manuel Poggiali and Youichi Ui, who picked up a one-two in their race, discovered a talented youngster on two wheels who would change the face of motorcycling as we know it. Last Sunday he saw that talent converted into legend, as Valentino Rossi became only the second man in history to lift the 125, 250 and 500 titles.

´In 1995 I was Max Biaggi´s manager,´ he told ´In those days the European and World Championships were run at the same time, so I had lots of opportunity to watch the races. I spotted Valentino Rossi and decided to incorporate him into a 125 team in the World Championships the follwing season, with Luca Boscoscuro in 250. His main characteristics were his personality, his all round quality.´

´I remember that first season in 1996 was difficult for him. He fell a lot and his confidence was affected by that. However, a good result in Holland helped him to turn a corner, and from that point on his results got better and better, culminating in his first ever win at Brno. Valentino won rookie of the year in his first season and I don´t think anybody was expecting such a great thing. From there he was able to build for the 1997 season, when he became World Champion.´

´Now I have Manuel Poggiali in my team and many people are asking me to compare the two riders. My answer is that every rider has his own style and personality. From a physical point of view Valentino was always at an advantage. From an early age he had these long legs which allowed him to control the motorcycle and have fantastic balance. Manuel isn´t as tall, but he is graceful like Vale. He has a very well balanced shape which is still growing. Over the next five or six years we will see how he develops, but he certainly has lots of potential.´

´Inside, Vale is the same now as he always was. I have great respect for him. He is a good person. He likes a laugh and a joke with his friends like any 22 year old, but he also has respect for people and a mature attitude. I feel proud to have helped write the first chapter in this adventure, but nobody can try and take any of the glory away from the man himself. He is the hero and he deserves everything.´

500cc, 2001, Valentino Rossi

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