<b>FRATELLI D'ITALIA</b> - A STORY ABOUT FRIENDSHIP

FRATELLI D'ITALIA - A STORY ABOUT FRIENDSHIP

This is a story of friendship. A story of friendship forged by speed and solidarity. The story of Alex Farinelli, Enrico Crippa, Danilo Petrucci and Marco Benedetti.
04-15-2020
Sport

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“BROTHERS OF ITALY”

“Fratelli d'Italia.” The first words of the Italian national anthem. A song the country is proud of. A song that every Italian knows from a very young age, and sings along with passion, with vigor, with heart. Not just in times of celebration, but also in times of despair. It is part of what defines the nation we know as Italy, and the Italian people. 

“Fratelli d’Italia” literally means “Brothers of Italy” and there is a close-knit group of four “brothers” connected through a shared passion. A passion for motorsports, for speed, and the rush of adrenaline; sharing the same sense of humor and – being Italian – a common passion for food. Meet Alex Farinelli, Enrico Crippa, Danilo Petrucci, and Marco Benedetti.

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Fratelli 1

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WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

ENRICO

Most true friendships evolve over time and it’s often hard to pinpoint when it really started. Yet in this case, that moment is crystal clear to all of them; they share the same passion, norms, values, and humor. Danilo and Enrico first met in 2010. For Enrico, their friendship started a while back already.

“I started working for Nolan Racing Service in 2004. I have a lot of respect for all riders, but with Danilo, it is a different story. Seeing him come from Stock1000 into MotoGP has been an amazing ride. He’s always worked hard to reach his goals and continues to fight for his dreams and what he believes in.”

Over the following years, their friendship grew. Not because it was forced. It happened organically. Which is something that took Enrico a little bit by surprise. “I have met and worked with a lot of professional riders and the only one who became a very good friend is Danilo.

“When Danilo, in 2017, asked me if I would be up for working with him, I didn’t even hesitate. Working and almost living together with a MotoGP rider, in the premier championship of motorcycle road racing; for me there is nothing as exciting as this. I feel grateful that I am in this position…

What makes me feel proud, is that Danilo has always believed in me. He trusts me and I trust him 200%. I would say that trust is an important basis for a true friendship. Especially, since we sometimes have to be ready to face up to difficult moments of ‘MotoGP life.’

The opportunity that Danilo has given me is something that I don’t take lightly. He is one of my best friends and I want to help him to achieve his dreams. This dream that he already had since he was a child. Just to see how much effort, desire, and passion he puts into accomplishing his dreams is such an inspiration to me. Even in such a way, that this doesn’t feel like a job to me anymore.” 

ALEX

The first time that Alex and Danilo met was in Qatar in 2012. Danilo’s bike immediately caught Alex’s eye. “It had something familiar,” he remarked. “At first I didn’t understand what it was, but the moment that they turned the engine on and the mechanic was blipping the throttle, I knew what it was. It reminded me of my dad’s bike when I was a child.”

When getting to know Danilo, Alex saw something else in Danilo that made him gain even more respect for him than he already had. “Danilo just doesn’t stop. He fights every second, every minute, every hour of the day to prove what he is worth. Pushing himself to be better than he was the day before and show the world what he’s made of.”

From the first moment that Danilo hopped on his bike, was the moment that Alex believed in Danilo and saw what he was capable of. As a rider, but also as a person. “I felt an incredible amount of joy the first time I saw Danilo out on the track on his Pramac Ducati bike. Finally, he was given the opportunity to show his skills and I couldn’t be prouder of him for this.” 

MARCO

Danilo and Marco met for the first time in Mugello in 2014 and quickly realized they had a lot in common. “I was working at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello during the tire test to take pictures of my friend, Alex Polita. A few pit boxes away, the Ducati team was testing their new Panigale together with Danilo. I’d never met him before, but of course, I knew who he was.

At a certain moment, Alex Polita and I were having lunch at the circuit restaurant and the whole Ducati team came walking in. The whole team was in their official Ducati red team clothing, except for one person: Danilo! He was wearing a Homer Simpson T-shirt, jeans, and curly hair that was living a life of its own. This was the first time that we met each other, and we immediately just got along. Even though, I think it is impossible to not get along with Danilo! In 2015, Danilo asked me to produce a flat track video for one of his sponsors. This was the moment that we started to work together as well.”

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What makes me feel proud, is that Danilo has always believed in me. He trusts me and I trust him 200%. I would say that trust is an important basis for a true friendship. Especially, since we sometimes have to be ready to face up to difficult moments of ‘MotoGP life.’ 
Fratelli 2

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2016 PRAMAC RACING TEAM PRESENTATION

Shortly after, Marco and Danilo met again during the team presentation of Pramac Racing in 2016. Federico Cappelli, who was the media manager of Pramac Racing, invited Marco to film the presentation of the Ducati Team in 2016. “Here, I met Alex Farinelli, finally! We were already friends on Facebook, but we had never met in person. That evening was so much fun! I had never been to a MotoGP Team presentation and it was one that I will never forget!”

“From here, my friendship with Alex was born and my relationship with Pramac Racing strengthened. In fact, I got asked to film the Pramac Team presentation in 2017 and 2018 as well. All this thanks to Alex.” From this moment on, a beautiful, strong friendship developed. A friendship, that quickly lead to a good working relationship.

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ENRICO CRIPPA – COMBINING WORK WITH PLEASURE

Since then, the guys formed a close-knit group of friends and have been working together ever since. The fact that Danilo Petrucci already belonged to the REV’IT! “famiglia” for quite a few years is, of course, nothing new. But through Danilo, we also got connected with the other guys, starting with Enrico Crippa, Danilo’s friend and personal assistant. An inside joke is that we believe Enrico is partly Dutch! This tall Italian even understands a little bit of the language. With a good sense of humor and a lot of energy, Enrico travels around the world together with Danilo to assist him in whatever way possible. As a professional and as a friend. 

Danilo and Enrico already go way back. “As Enrico already mentioned, we’ve known each other since 2010 when I was racing in FIM Superstock 1000 World Cup and he was working for Nolan’s racing department. My father used to work in the MotoGP paddock for many years and knew Enrico was a good guy. Everyone knows Enrico as “Lungo,” which means “tall” in Italian. It makes it very easy when you are on the paddock to find him because he cannot be missed! We didn’t work together when I switched to MotoGP in 2012, but we always stayed in touch. In 2017, I was looking for someone to help me out during the races, but also just throughout the season. Not an easy job, if I may say so myself. I immediately thought of Enrico, as I already trusted him and he brings a lot of energy, but also can also calm me down when needed.”

Throughout the MotoGP season, Enrico takes care of everything. “Enrico is in direct contact with Michiel (the REV’IT! Racing Coordinator) and makes sure that all of my racing equipment is there at every single round. Besides that, he also welcomes our guests and does a lot of things that I cannot do, because my very busy time schedule simply doesn’t allow it throughout a race weekend. Enrico and I are a good team and everything runs smoothly. I think the reason that this works so well, is because we are good friends. It was a deliberate decision to ‘work’ with a friend. It’s not all sunshine and roses and sometimes Enrico’s job is also to calm me down or to stay with me when things don’t go the way we hoped, planned, or expected. The pressure is always on, so for me, it is important that I am being surrounded by people that I care about and that also care about me.”

There are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family. “Enrico is a little bit older than I am, so he is more responsible and experienced in this world. For me, he’s like an older brother. We have a lot of fun together, spend a lot of free time and holidays together, which probably means that we spend around 300 days of the year together. And trust me, it’s not easy to be around me all this time! But it works and he means the world to me.”

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MARCO BENEDETTI – MOVIE MAKER

When spending time together, Marco is often the one capturing these moments on film. His latest movie, which is dedicated to capturing the special relationship between the 4 friends, is something special. From “Lungo” to “Tappo” (the latter meaning cork), Danilo’s friendship with Marco is also a special one.

“Marco became a very good friend over the years. He doesn’t really live that far from me, but in another region; Marche. Everybody calls him “Tappo” (the translation is cork because he’s not really tall) and just from that, you can understand that he’s very funny. He loves motocross and he came from the off-road world. I’m very passionate about off-road racing, and we already had some mutual friends before we got to know each other better.”

“In 2015, that was the first time that we worked together in Mugello, but our best work has always been outside the MotoGP world. Marco absolutely loves his work, and this means that he always puts extra effort in making it amazing. Outside the MotoGP paddock, we are always free to film whatever we want, and we create very funny and sometimes emotional videos and photos. I always feel quite amazed by him because he really has a different point of view creating a video. There is no standard way for Marco, as he always wants to create something extraordinary. I think he makes the difference by doing that.

Besides that, he’s really good at listening to people and what they want. When we’re not working, the fun continues and we enjoy having dinner with our friends. Marco is another good person met along this long journey about bikes and racing.”

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ALEX FARINELLI – PHOTOGRAPHER

Via Instagram and our Race Report newsletter publications, we keep you up to date on the latest news from the world of MotoGP and WSBK. But did you know it is actually Alex who’s behind the camera of all the amazing images you see? They say a picture is worth a 1000 words and like no other, Alex knows exactly how to capture the moment. Whether it’s the perfect action shot, the determination in the eyes of the rider, the joy of winning a race, or despair of a weekend that didn’t go as planned. Both Alex and Marco work behind the lenses and definitely see each other’s strengths.

Marco says, “Alex is a great professional. He brought a breath of fresh air to MotoGP as far as photography is concerned. He is very ambitious, and you can tell that he really pushes himself to improve more and more. But besides the fact that he is a professional, he is also a good person and always there to help wherever he can. I can always ask him for advice or if I have questions about his photos, then he always takes time out of his day to talk to me. I see Alex as an example. He works hard and because of this, was able to work in the highest level of motorsports. I mainly work in the off-road series and work with some of the best athletes in the world. His desire to never give up, even though there are sometimes moment that things can get tough, makes us very similar.”

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Fratelli 5

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Danilo Petrucci – MotoGP Racer

When not travelling the world and riding his factory Ducati in the MotoGP championship, Danilo spends his time at home in the beautiful landscape of Terni, in the region of Umbria. To stay in shape, and have some fun as well, Danilo can be found on the motocross tracks in Umbria and surrounding regions of Marche, Tuscany, and Emilia Romagna. These are the places where the four friends like to get together to train and work, but above all, to have a lot of fun.

Marco describes Danilo as a good person with a very big heart. “For me, he is genuinely the most correct person I know. Alex is also a true friend and we often help each other in our work. This type of “teamwork” brings a lot of positive energy. We have so much fun, but besides that, we also understand each other and what our goals are. Enrico can best be described as “a madman.” Of course, in the most positive sense of the term. Our friendship is strong. There is a great respect among us, and I am proud to be able to call these guys my friends.”

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PRICELESS MEMORIES

Through the good and the bad; they are there for each other like true friends are. They only want the best for each other and when that moment comes, they are also there to celebrate together. “Proud moments, there are many,” Alex recalls. “But if I have to choose one, then it must be the MotoGP race in Mugello 2019. His very first victory in front of his fans, in his home country at one of the most beautiful tracks in the world! The atmosphere here is special to say the least, and not only for Italian riders.” 

The moment that Danilo passed the finish line, I felt this incredible feeling of pride throughout my body. I just couldn’t stop crying! After the race, when we both arrived at the park fermee, I called Danilo to take a picture of him. He came towards me with his arm raised and we hugged each other in front of all of these people. Taking a picture wasn’t important anymore. I just wanted to be in this moment, together with my friend.”

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Fratelli 7

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TAKING THE PISS

It is through motorsports that these “brothers” initially connected, but being Italian, food is of course also very important. “Dinner is an excuse to be together, we talk about anything and are not afraid to take the piss out of each other!”

The last time the friends had dinner together was in Siena. Story goes that at the end they all had to book a hotel room as one of the friends kept pouring wine into all their glasses! Anyway, amongst friends, some things should remain unwritten and unsaid. 

Uniamoci, amiamoci;
L’unione e l’amore

Let’s unite, let’s love;
The union and the love

Love, friendship, and passion.
What more do we need in life?