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Mattia Pasini to partner Locatelli at LCR

Mattia Pasini to partner Locatelli at LCR

Mattia Pasini to partner Locatelli at LCR

Lucio Cecchinello has opted to combine youth and experience in his 125cc line-up for next season, announcing that Italian youngster Mattia Pasini will partner former World Champion Roberto Locatelli, who was unveiled by the team last week. Pasini, whose father is a former European Supersport Champion, began riding pocket-bikes in Italy alongside the likes of Manuel Poggiali, Andrea Dovizioso and Alex De Angelis and finished second in the European Championship in 1997.

A nasty motocross accident put him out of action for two years but he returned to the 125cc Italian Championship in 2001, finishing fifth. This season the 18 year old finished third in the European Championship and impressed in the final two races of the Spanish Championship, taking fifth and sixth placed finishes respectively at Valencia and Jerez. His performances were enough to convince Cecchinello to offer a three year contract.

"Mattia has got a great potential but he needs experience," said Cecchinello, who himself retired from racing at the end of this season. "I did not choose him for his nationality. I know he has ridden only 17 races on a Grand Prix bike but I believe in him just as I did in the past with Alex De Angelis and Casey Stoner. I checked the data recording of his two races of the Spanish Championship and he was able to repeat my lap times at different points of the track. Moreover he is very young and very aggressive."

Meanwhile, the youngster was delighted to get his surprise chance at World Championship level. "I am very happy!" beamed Pasini. "Lucio has given me a big chance to ride with the best riders in the world. His structure is very competitive but I know I will have to work hard to stay at the front. My favourite rider is Valentino Rossi - last summer we took part in a Supermotard race together and it was simply great for me."

125cc, 2003, Mattia Pasini, Roberto Locatelli

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