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Lucio Cecchinello confirms his retirement plans

Lucio Cecchinello confirms his retirement plans

Lucio Cecchinello confirms his retirement plans

The Marlboro Grand Prix of Valencia will be the last competitive race on the World Championship stage for Lucio Cecchinello. The veteran 34 year old is set to lock away his crash helmet next Sunday, after contesting the final GP of the season and instead concentrate his energies as director of his race-team Safilo Oxydo-LCR. After 15 years as a racer, including nine in the World Championships, Cecchinello is currently the most experienced rider in the category. His retirement coincides with another of the ‘old guard' 32 year old Masao Azuma.

"I will wave goodbye in Valencia; I will make an official announcement and explain my projects for the future," revealed the popular Italian to "This is the right moment for me to step back. Without a doubt it is a shame because this year things started to slide downhill. Now I am leaving relaxed and at peace with my decision at the same time," he added.

Cecchinello started the 2003 season strongly; taking two victories, a second place and a fourth position in the opening part of the calendar and heading the standings. His name was once again among those challenging for the world title but his form in the latter half of the year – only finishing two from the last ten races, and far from the podium - has seen him slip back to eighth place. "It is true that in the second part of the season things have been pretty bad. For one I was nursing a scaphoid injury for some time and negotiating certain circuits turned this into a real problem. Another part is that I have naturally been quite de-motivated after a string of non-existent results," he lamented.

The Safilo Oxydo-LCR will continue to be a part of the 250cc World Championship in 2004, with Frenchman Randy De Puniet. Cecchinello will comment on plans for the 125cc section of the squad in Valencia.

125cc, 2003

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