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Mattia Pasini Cecchinellos joker in the pack

Mattia Pasini Cecchinellos joker in the pack

Lucio Cecchinellos 125cc World Championship line-up is not only a mixture of youth and experience, but in many senses a blend of guaranteed performance and a gamble on one of the brightest prospects in Italian road racing. The ace in the pack is former World Champion Roberto Locatelli, whilst the wildcard is Mattia Pasini - an 18 year old from Rimini who Cecchinello snapped up after reading his telemetry data from just two races in the Spanish Championship last year.

The surprise addition to the 2004 entry list has since ridden his factory Aprilia alongside Locatelli at several team tests during the winter, and admits that he can still hardly believe it is real. I am living the dream, commented the youngster. Without doubt things are very different here than in the European Championship, but as soon as you pull your visor down everything is the same. I dont think there are many major differences the engine is quite a lot more powerful but so far it is in the cycle part of the bike where I have noticed the difference the technology is much more hi-tech and complicated.

However, the Italian says that he does not expect the superior tehcnology in Grand Prix racing to be a hindrance. I have always taken charge of my own set-up and I consider myself to be pretty capable from that point of view, he says. Obviously at a Grand Prix you only have three days to find the right set-up and it is easy to make mistakes but I think that with the technicians we have in this team we will be able to put right and problems that arise.

Pasini inherited his passion for speed from his father Luca, who won various national titles and earned the number two plate in the European Supersport Championship. What did my Dad say when I was about to make the jump up to the World Championship? He said: You wanted the bicycle, now pedal! Obviously he meant it jokingly. He does not really give me any kind of specific advice, although we have a little ritual we go through every time I go out to ride, but I dont want to explain because it is like a superstition.

Facing the promising youngster in 2004 are some of the toughest circuits in the world, many of which he will encounter for the first time, but he remains unfazed: In my opinion all of the Grand Prix circuits are beautiful in their own way. Between those I do not know, Im curious to ride at Brno, and regarding those I am familiar with I am looking forward to return to Assen. I think it is one of the finest race-tracks in the world.

125cc, 2003, Mattia Pasini

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