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Cadalora: Rossi on for a perfect 10?

Cadalora: Rossi on for a perfect 10?

Three-time World Champion Luca Cadalora shares his memories of Misano, talks about his greatest rivals and discusses the 2015 title battle.

Cadalora won three world championships during his illustrious career, one with Garelli in 125cc (1986) and back-to-back titles with Honda in the 250cc class (1991 &1992). In 1993 he made the step up to the 500cc class and he finished as runner-up in just his second year on the Marlboro Yamaha.

He was regarded as the best Italian rider in the premier class before Rossi and Biaggi emerged and he won the last 500cc race to be held at the Misano circuit in 1993. Cadalora spoke to ahead of the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini:

What was it like to be a rookie from the 250cc class racing against Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz and Mick Doohan?
“It was a difficult time for Italian riders because all the top teams were full of Americans who laid down the law. It was not easy at the beginning, as we had to make a few changes to the setup of the bike. But with a little patience we got there, and took our first victory at Donington.

That marked a turning point for me and it was very satisfying to pull it off against those guys. Racing with them was really exciting, but I was never intimidated. More than anything I tried to learn as much as I could from riders who had much more experience than me.”

You won your second race at Misano on the old layout in 1993, since then they have not only changed the direction of the circuit, but also made some alterations to the track. What do you think of the new layout?
“Thanks to the VR46 Academy I have ridden the ‘new’ Misano quite a lot. I found it rather difficult and it took me quite a bit of time to get familiar with it and every time I go out on it I learn something new. You can approach the track several ways, but to be truly effective and fast, there is only one ideal line, and perhaps not the most obvious one.

The old layout had some tricky sections like through the Carro corners (turns 12-14 now) and in the last part before you head onto the start/finish straight, especially when you take into account the bikes we were on then as well.”

In your time in the 500cc class, who was the best rider you faced?
“Ever since I started riding in the 250cc class, my reference was always Eddie Lawson. I was lucky enough to know him well. He was already racing in the 500c class with Agostini and inspired me not only by how he behaved, but by the way he setup a bike and also his style on track. I tried to learn as much as I possibly could from him, and then afterwards I got to ride against Schwantz and Rainey, with the latter my teammate and one of the strongest riders I ever got the chance to race against.

After Rainey’s tragic accident, my toughest opponent became Mick Doohan. As a human being he was great, always polite and nice, but as a rival on track he was very tough. Sometimes I had the satisfaction of beating him, but mostly I had to settle for being content with finishing as runner-up behind him.”

The 2015 season sees teammates Rossi and Lorenzo fighting for the title, who will win at Misano?
The ingredients for an incredible race are all there. Lorenzo is a tough cookie and will do everything in his power to make life difficult for Valentino. I think they are three riders who can win, as while Marquez might be effectively out of the title fight, he will be hard to beat. It is those three who will battle it for the race win.”

Who will lift the title?
“It is a two-way battle between Rossi & Lorenzo. If Rossi can continue as he has so far, then he would end up with a rather good score in his ‘report card’ at the end of the season. Maybe even a perfect ‘10’… in more ways than one!”


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