Franco Uncini steps down as FIM Grand Prix Safety Officer

A special Press Conference celebrates the MotoGP™ Legend’s incredible career and confirmed his successor

At the end of the 2022 season, MotoGP™ Legend Franco Uncini will step down from his role as FIM Grand Prix Safety Officer. An incredible advocate for rider safety over nearly four decades, Uncini’s impact on the sport cannot be overstated.

Uncini began his on-track career in the 250 World Championship in 1976, taking his first podiums and victories, and was runner up the following season. He moved into the premier class for 1979, taking a podium as a rookie and three more the year after. 1982 saw Uncini win the 500 Championship with seven podiums, of which five were wins, writing his name into the sporting history books. 

Following his retirement from racing, Uncini’s role in the paddock then became one of advocacy. A vocal presence as rider representative working towards better safety conditions from the mid-80s on, he was then chosen by the Grand Prix riders to represent them as their safety delegate from 1993. Since, Uncini’s presence has only grown and the Italian was named FIM Grand Prix Safety Officer in 2013, adding to his impact on the sport once more. After his tenth season as Safety Officer, he will now step down and leave a legacy that will be difficult to match, having dedicated his career to improving safety for his fellow riders and MotoGP™ Legends over nearly four decades.

The new FIM Grand Prix Safety Officer was named in a special Press Conference in Valencia as Bartolomé Alfonso, whose career began as a track marshal at Jarama before he moved to a new role in the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship as timekeeping coordinator and later Events Director at Dorna Sports. The next chapter saw Alfonso move to become General Manager of Lusail International Circuit in Doha, before he was named Managing Director of MotorLand Aragón in 2008. 

In 2018, Alfonso then became General Manager of Racing Loop, developing circuits and motorsport projects in different parts of the world, working with local promoters and sanctioning bodies the FIM and FIA. Alfonso has been a member of the FIM Road Racing Commission since 2012.

As he retires, the FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports would like to thank Franco Uncini for his decades of work and dedication, and wish him the very best as he steps away from his direct role in the sport – safe in the knowledge his legacy will be lasting and his presence always welcome in the paddock. Thank you, Franco.

FIM President Jorge Viegas: "This is a special announcement I think for all of us. As you all know, Franco has decided, already more or less a year ago, to leave his role as FIM Grand Prix Safety Officer, after 30 years more or less. After an incredible career as a rider he became the most important person for the safety of his colleagues. This is one of the most important tasks in our world. I tried to convince him not to go! I'm sure Franco, after few days or weeks, he may wonder why he decided this! But he has a family who will gain from him being home. I want to say that Franco is always welcome in MotoGP at the races. 

"We gave deep thought, along with Dorna, to find someone who is able to take on this huge responsibility with us. We gave a lot of thought to who could perform this task as Franco did. Tomé has been working for a long time in designing circuits, looking at the safety of circuits, and he will now be working only for the FIM. He will do his best to make all the circuits as safe as possible."

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports: "Franco doesn't know, but he's been so important to the development of the Championship. He was there first with me as a fan of MotoGP, and I remember when he was World Champion, and then later when I had the chance to join Dorna, one of the biggest experiences I've had is the personal connection with Franco, and from the beginning our personal friendship. As the President says, he decided he needs more time with his family but as I told him the other day, he has two families. And he mustn't forget this family! I hope he will stay close to us. His experience is very important. His relationship with Tome has been very important in the past, and it will remain so in the future The only thing I can say to Franco and his family is thank you for all the effort he has made during all these years. It has passed very fast! When I see photos of us at the beginning of our time in the World Championship it seems close, but really it's been 31 seasons. We've been working closely with him all that time, he started as rider representative, and his experience has been really fantastic. The only thing I can say again is, thank you very much."

Franco Uncini: "I'm here to announce my retirement and I have a long list of people to thank. For sure Carmelo Ezpeleta is the first, he's our boss! And a fantastic person. Mike Trimby, and IRTA President Herve Poncharal, and the past Presidents. FIM President Jorge Viegas and his predecessors. Then, the MotoGP Safety Commission. Carlos Ezpeleta! And Loris Capirossi, who I've spent the last ten years with! Thank you to, not all but almost, the circuits on which I've worked. All the IRTA, Dorna and FIM people. I'll stop here otherwise I'd be here for hours. I love it and I love this sport. It's been the centre of my life forever. Thank you FIM, IRTA, Dorna and the Safety Commission, we've done an extraordinary job for safety. I've had many sleepless nights but I'm happy and satisfied with what we've achieved. 30 years doing this job, 20 with IRTA and 10 with FIM. I'm a grandfather to two, I have two daughters, and my wife who has been at my side since 1981 and who still can bear me! Thanks, and thanks to my daughters. I need to slow down and make room for young people. I feel Tomé can continue this excellent job, and as the President said, Tomé was also my choice. He's the person I believe can continue this job. Thank you very much everybody."

Tome Alfonso: "I don't think anyone else has done what Franco has done for safety, and if we see if from the perspective of the tracks, that job hasn't only helped MotoGP but every racetrack for 365 days a year. I would like to thank him for everything, and I will do my best to continue his incredible work."

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