Stefano Bianco on his dream deal with Gilera
A few days ago Gilera announced that Stefano Bianco would be their factory rider for 2003, taking the place of former World Champion Manuel Poggiali. It is a challenge and an opportunity that the Italian youngster is taking with a mixture of confidence and excitement. Famous for his groundbreaking debut at Phillip Island in 2000, when he made the minimum age limit of 15 on the first day of qualifying, Bianco now hopes to come of age under the guidance of Giampiero Sacchi.
motograndprix.com: How do you feel about the Gilera ride?
Stefano Bianco: 2002 was a wonderful year, perhaps not in terms of results but definitely for the experience I gathered. I learnt a lot of things and I have matured, and at the end of it all I have received and offer to ride for Gilera. It was a surprise and, sincerely, I am very satisfied. I want to thank everybody who made it possible, from my manager to Giampero Sacchi, who have shown enough confidence in me to trust me with the official Gilera. $$$
mgp.com: A bike which took Manuel Poggiali to the title in 2001 and the runner-up spot in 2002. Is this an added pressure for you?
S.B: No, no, nothing like that - really! On the contrary, it is a guarantee that I will be on a good, very competitive bike and I know that there will be top level staff supporting me. That just gives me added confidence that I can achieve my objectives.
mgp.com: What targets have you set for 2003?
S.B: Do well and repay the faith people have shown in me. I still haven´t had chance to speak to the team bosses about fixed objectives but I will concentrate on giving my maximum and, I repeat, doing as well as I possibly can. To really get used to a bike takes time, of course, but I am confident I can do that in a relatively short space of time.
mgp.com: How would you describe yourself as a rider?
S.B: I still don´t know! I am a very determined person and willing to learn and improve.
mgp.com: It has also been said that you are very fast… and that you crash a lot!.
S.B: Yes, I have heard that too. I think it is true that I am fast… as far as the crashes are concerned they have been down to a series of circumstances, to my inexperience and some bad choices in set-up. The most important thing is to make the most of every experience and I think I have learnt from my crashes.
Bianco is currently relaxing with his family in his small hometown near Turin. He is also completing some fitness training with the aim of riding the Gilera for the first time in January 2003.