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Experience counts for Kopron Team Scot

Experience counts for Kopron Team Scot

Experience counts for Kopron Team Scot

Despite the unifying bond of enthusiasm that binds all fans and supporters of motorcycle racing around the world, racing means many things to many different people.

For some, the riders for example, it is an expression of their own talents and drive to succeed. For manufacturers, it is a chance to show corporate pride in measurable and inspirational way. For the spectators it is a chance to dream and aspire to copy their heroes. For the teams that take part, it is often their very life blood, a bond of kinship to one common cause that rivals that of family ties.

Possibly the greatest exponents of this aspect of racing is Kopron Team Scot, winners of this year's 125cc World Championship with Andrea Dovizioso. For many people, racing is their way of life. For the Kopron Team Scot squad, the team is their way of life.

Team Scot features some of the most experienced backroom and front of house staff ever to lift a spanner or help propel a rider's career to the stratosphere. And there is little exaggeration involved in that last statement.

Even if you only consider the riders who have gone on to be stars of the smaller capacity classes the Scot Team has made the Grand Prix night sky sparkle a little brighter in almost every year of their existence.

How about names like Bruno Casanova, Ezio Gianola, Gabriele Debbia, Nobby Ueda, Cristiano Migliorati, Arnaud Vincent, Roberto Locatelli, Gianluigi Scalvini, David Checa and others. Young and inexperienced when they started, educated and motivated when they moved on.

Or what about MotoGP race winners of the present day, Carlos Checa and Sete Gibernau? Both, despite not being Italian, were young riders helped on by the Scot Team.

Sponsors have come and gone in the team over the years, but the origins of the current set-up go back to the 1985 season, in the European Championships, with Bruno Casanova. In 1996 the Scot team as it is now came into being, with the combination of the technical prowess of the existing backroom staff mixing with the current team manager, Cirano Mularoni.

You could, however argue that the beginnings of what is now Scot racing seem to recede into the dawn of prehistory - certainly back into the 'first' MotoGP iron-age, when four-strokes ruled the roost.

A factory mechanic for the Benelli concern in the sixties, working with stars such as Renzo Pasolini and Kel Carruthers the most senior member of the team is the team Chairman and Chief Mechanic Giancarlo Cecchini, with over 40 years of experience of fettling and tuning motorcycles for maximum performance.

The undisputed figurehead of the team is now 64 years old, has been an integral part of the whole scene for generations of racers, and is actually one of two team members who have more than 40 years of racing experience.

With Cecchini and Mularoni at the head of the set-up, current riders Simone Corsi and Andrea Dovizioso have their own crews to look after their on-track needs. The chassis on each machine is lovingly attended to by Raul Baronciani, the datalogging by Mirko Cecchini - continuing the family involvement in the squad. For Dovizioso, Luciano Furlani fettles the engines, with Claudio Eusebi taking care of Corsi's powertrain.

Andrea Roccati completes the immediate team members. Combined years of experience in Grand Prix? Something over 140 years. Among the many tight knit and professional teams in the paddock, the Scot team is something apart, full of people for whom the team is all, for whom the 2004 World Championship is the culmination of thousands of invisible hours of silent toil, the harvest of their combined aspirations and self-belief.

Giving so much to a race team, in the less publicised 125cc World Championship remember, demands a lot of even the most dedicated. It could be thought of as an addiction.

"If you start in this job it is difficult to leave," said Mirko, explaining in short phrase the collective experience of half the racing paddock. He continued to demonstrate why the Scot squad is quite so close knit. "We are all from the same part of Italy, close together, all within 30 kms from Pesaro.

"Normally we stay in the truck at races and save a lot of money. At the end of the season you can make a big cost saving this way. Even if it cost us more to stay on site it is easier to stay in the truck, for every reason. It feels like family now. We have enough space for the mechanics, ten places in the truck and in the support vehicles."

The team has had its ups and downs, no mistaking that, this year's win being counter pointed by near extinction. "Maybe in the end of 1989 was the worst year. We had a good season but at the end of the year, when all was planned for the next - budget included - the rider left to go to Aprilia.

"We lost the sponsor, so we had to continue from zero. But it was our life, so we started again with another young rider and no money. Money is always the first problem!"

This year has been the best for the Kopron Team Scot crew, and the reasons why in particular 2004 has been so successful are plain to Mirko. "I think it is the rider and a good bike. We are lucky to have Andrea in our team. Every year he has taken a step, grew up and moved on. Technically when we work it is also with the same the bike. It has grown up and also the rider, so here we are."

The missing ingredient in all this explanation of the 2004 success is the expertise of the team, in a class where self-tuning and meticulous preparation pays off more than most.

"It is better to work on the bike in 125cc class. We can still make changes to it that make a difference. We have a dyno at home so we work on modifications. We work every day to make the bike faster."

The highlight for the team is easily this year's championship success, for obvious and deserved reasons. "I think for the result we have this year this is the best. From the first race we have been competitive and leading the championship, even if the rest have been attacking hard.

"Our future target is to follow our rider. It is not easy even if you have a rider, and can find the budget, because there are other reasons why you do not have the budget sometimes. If we have the rider in the 250 class then it could be easier to find budget. If we have a result with an Italian rider we will get TV coverage for the sponsors."

Seeing more of the Kopron Team Scot, in whatever class of racing it continues in, is something that this year's success will almost guarantee. An overnight success story that only took 140 years to complete.


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