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‘Marathon man' Franco Battaini preparing for the new season on foot

‘Marathon man' Franco Battaini preparing for the new season on foot

‘Marathon man' Franco Battaini preparing for the new season on foot

Not many riders take their physical preparation for a new season quite as far as Franco Battaini. The Campetella Racing rider has yet to clock up a single kilometre on his Aprilia this winter but he's racked up hundreds on foot as he prepares for his first preseason test at Valencia on the 6th and 7th March by concurrently training for a marathon in his hometown of Brescia, Italy one week later.

"I have competed in the Milan marathon several times in the past but this will be my first time in Brescia," commented the 31 year old, who has won the 250cc Privateer of the Year title for the past two seasons. "It requires a very intense training schedule which includes daily jogging sessions of up to 30km depending on whether I am working on endurance or resting. I am not intending to win the marathon but I would like to improve my personal best, which stands at 2 hours 59 minutes."

Battaini, who is also a regular competitor in triathlon events, admitted that his training schedule was more to do with his own personal fulfillment than preparation for life as a motorcycle racer. "Obviously a rider doesn't necessarily need this level of fitness or sacrifice, but I do it because I enjoy it. Obviously I have bad days but at the same time I love the challenge of a long distance race."

Turning his attention towards the test and the new season, Battaini added: "Being a privateer has obvious disadvantages. I haven't ridden since the last race of 2003 at Valencia almost four months ago, so it is strange that we are starting there again. As far as this season is concerned it will be more difficult to get top results in the 250cc class. I have been the best privateer for the past two seasons with sixth place both times but this year it will be tough. I have seen De Angelis and Porto get good results straight away on the official Aprilias and also Elías on the Honda.

"All I can do is concentrate on my strengths – I know my bike like the back of my hand and although the kit will be new its performance is always very similar in terms of chassis and suspension. I also have a lot of experience at this level and that is a factor which could prove valuable, especially in the wet races."

Perhaps Battaini's secret weapon, however, will be his marathon stamina and his ability to go the distance without ever dropping his head. It is these very qualities which have seen him collect four pole positions and seven podiums over the past seven seasons, despite never being given a chance on factory machinery.

250cc, 2003

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