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Guareschi - A ‘father’ to Fenati and Bagnaia

Guareschi - A ‘father’ to Fenati and Bagnaia

Vittoriano Guareschi speaks at length with following the Moto3™ race in Qatar - the first in which he took up his new role with SKY Racing Team by VR46, the squad thought up by Valentino Rossi.

Formerly a rider as well as Team Manager at Ducati, 42-year-old Italian Guareschi is overseeing the project headed up by Rossi. With much attention from Italy and riders Romano Fenati and Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia promising much, Guareschi looks back over the season-opening event at Losail.

Things looks great across practice as Romano Fenati topped all three sessions, but then it all appeared to go wrong in qualifying…
Regrettably, Romano had massive chatter which he had not been suffering during practice. We immediately looked into solving the problem. It turned out that he had a broken shock, so obviously things didn’t work out as they had over the previous two nights. Romano just couldn’t ride properly and it was actually a miracle that he qualified where he did (eighth on the grid). As soon as he came into the pit lane, we realised what had happened. We sorted it out for the Warm-Up but, after that, the bike just wasn’t responding as well as it had been at the start of the race weekend.

In the race, the results did not reflect the pace you had established earlier on in the weekend; Bagnaia finished tenth and Fenati 12th.
With Romano, we all had in mind that he should have been capable of challenging for the podium and that he could be very strong right from the start. As it was in the end, the bike just couldn’t managed the rhythm it had before he suffered the problem with the shock – it just ate up the tyre. Actually, he completed the final few laps of the race with practically no rubber left on it and that is why he was dropping back through the order. Back on Lap 3, he had set the fastest lap of the race, but that was more down to his talent because, overall, the bike wasn’t allowing him to challenge.

On the other hand, ‘Pecco’ really showed what he could do. Last year, he had to suffer a lot of frustrating races and couldn’t get comfortable with the bike he had underneath him. In Qatar, I think he realised that he was really in a position to fight and convinced himself that catching the group in front of him was possible. He kept up a good pace and, sure enough, he found himself battling with Antonelli and McPhee who were battling with each other. Overall, we are very pleased with his race; he finished just eight seconds behind the winner and picked up his first ever World Championship points. It was a good start!

The pace your riders managed very much proved that they could both fight at the front of the field. What are your realistic goals at the moment?
Qatar allowed us to garner crucial information and experience, not least with a brand-new package - as our bike is. We are now also more aware of some of our weaknesses and we’ll have to be careful in those areas. The real objectives? We want to be able to get on the podium as much as possible this season and then try to challenge for the title next year. In 2014, we will have to pay the price for our inexperience in this category, but being aware that we can mix it with the protagonists at times.

What should we expect from Round 2 in Austin, Texas?
I hope to have a very positive weekend. I wouldn’t know exactly where to place us just yet, but I do believe we can be fighting for significant positions. Hopefully we won’t hit any trouble this time, although you never know in racing…!

After Ducati in the premier class, this is your second experience as a team boss; what are the most significant differences you have witnessed so far?
There is a big difference. With this, my job is much broader. In a larger setup like Ducati, each person is dealing in very specific areas, but in this case my job is…well, a bit of everything! This really is a great adventure for me. At the end of October last year, this team was nothing at all – we didn’t even have a screwdriver! We have been working very, very hard over the winter. So, for me, this is a very new challenge.

And your relationship with the riders must be quite different…
It certainly is. These guys (Fenati and Bagnaia) haven’t really matured as riders just yet. Back at Ducati, on the other hand, I was working with top riders in the sport who knew exactly what they were doing and exactly what they wanted. Here in Moto3™, my role is to be a bit more like a father!

What about the role of Valentino Rossi? In Qatar, we saw that he was paying great attention towards the team. What impact does he actually have?
Valentino leaves you plenty of room to be able to work in your own space, but there is always that constant curiously and he is keen to know what is going on and how things are going. He worries about things a lot! Don’t forget, this whole project was born out of his VR46 company alongside Sky Italia and he is extremely eager to help promote the careers of young, up and coming riders in order to make them World Champions one day in the future. And that is what we are all about.

Moto3, 2014, Francesco Bagnaia, Romano Fenati, SKY Racing Team VR46

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