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Melandri and Hopkins pay tribute to retiring Fanali

Melandri and Hopkins pay tribute to retiring Fanali

One of the most experienced figures in MotoGP, Fiorenzo Fanali retired on Sunday in Valencia after more than 40 years of working in the World Championship.

Two of the most recent riders to work with senior mechanic Fiorenzo Fanali in his long and distinguished career, Marco Melandri and John Hopkins, thanked the experienced Italian as he retired from Grand Prix involvement on Sunday - at the Gran Premio Parts Europe de la Comunitat Valenciana.

In a career spanning more than forty years, working for factories such as MV Agusta, Cagiva, Yamaha and Kawasaki, Fanali built up tremendous knowledge of the sport working with numerous big name riders such as Eddie Lawson, Randy Mamola, John Kocinski and Max Biaggi.

In his most recent role as John Hopkins´ crew chief Fanali assisted the American in his adaptation to the Kawasaki team in 2008, though rider injury and a less than competitive Ninja ZX-RR made their one year collaboration a difficult one at times.

Hopkins, however, is fully appreciative of the work Fanali did in his final year in MotoGP, saying, `It is a shame to see him go but he wants to spend more time with his family, and it will be a pity because he is great guy and I have really enjoyed working with him this year. Although we have struggled with the competitiveness of the machine it has been great being with Fio as he has definitely been out there making the best of the machine as possible.´

`I have learned a lot from him,´ continued Hopkins. `You are always trying to draw as much experience and knowledge as you can from people and Fio was great for that. He has been around for such a long time and it was a real pleasure to work for him.´

Melandri, meanwhile, paid a massive tribute to Fanali, declaring, `Fiorenzo is maybe the biggest teacher I have had in my life. When I moved onto MotoGP with Yamaha he taught me many, many things. It was not easy because the bike was difficult and I had injuries, but he was always close to me and he never gave up. He taught me a lot technically but also in terms of lifestyle.´

The Italian rider who has just moved from Ducati to Kawasaki added, `I´m a bit sorry because I´m going into the garage he has been in, but I am also happy because he had a nice career and a long career and now he can enjoy his family life.´


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