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Five riders end up in the same paddock racing with the same brand of suits, but all with a very different background. Can you explain a bit about how your journey into the MotoGP paddock came about?– Lorenzo Dalla Porta [LDP]: I started in the Italian Championship, but the level there was much different from the Spanish Championship. We could ride less, and use less tracks, so after winning the Italian 125 championship, I wanted to go for the Junior World Championship which was mainly in Spain.
I won that championship in 2016, and back then, I already rode some races in the World Championship as a replacement rider. Since the 2017 season, I’ve become a full-time rider in the World Championship.
– Augusto Fernandez [AF]: For me, it was different, but also a little bit the same. I won the European Junior Cup, which was more or less on a production bike. Then I switched to the European STK600 championship, and I was Rookie of the Year before the class was canceled. I switched to the same class in CEV and I became champion.
When I focused on the CEV Moto2 for 2017, I got the chance to substitute for another rider in the World Championship. I did well, but I didn’t get a permanent seat for 2018. So, I returned to the CEV before receiving a call from the Pons team to substitute again. And with great results, I managed to stay with the team full-time for 2019.
– Danilo Petrucci [DP]: Most Italian riders are known to make their way up from minibikes to smaller classes, but I didn’t take that route. I rode a minibike for fun once, but my father - who has a lot of experience working with GP racers - was already a little bit afraid. Not about racing, but the costs! We are from a part of Italy where there is mainly country side and hills, and not so much money.
So, I started with trial bikes first and then I made the step to motocross. I started road racing when I was 15, and again, because of the costs, we started on 600cc four-stroke bikes. I did the STK600 European Championship, and then I moved to STK1000. I became Italian Champion and runner-up in the European Championship before going to MotoGP directly…. On the slowest MotoGP bike that ever existed! It was even slower in top speed than Moto2 bikes at the time, but in mixed conditions I managed to show my potential. This earned me a spot in the Pramac Team on a real MotoGP bike, and the rest is history…
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And for you also the future, Danilo. How do you see the future now that you are in the Ducati Factory team?– DP: It’s always challenging, and for a lot of people, this year is very important. But for me, every year is important. I have never had a year where I could relax, and this year, with Ducati, we want to win the championship. And if it’s not with me as the world champion, I will for sure fight to win my first race.
The difference between the bikes is not so much, but much more, the people working on the bike that makes a big difference. I already noticed this during the test, especially with the choice in the setup. I have been close to a win several times but there was always something missing. Now that I am in the factory team, it gives a lot of extra support, and the final push.
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You all live your passion: racing motorbikes. Is there anybody in particular that you consider your idol, or a big example for you?– Bo Bendsneyder [BB]: Valentino Rossi, definitely. When I started riding pocket bikes, I had a bike with number 46 on it, but when I really started racing, I wanted to have my own number and I just changed it around into 64.
– DP: For me, it was Loris Capirossi, probably also because I am a lot older than these guys, haha (points at the other riders). Mainly because my father started working with him in the 125cc class in 1990 and he won the championship that year, the same year as I was born. My father stayed with him until 1996, so from 0 to 6 years old, I was always around Loris Capirossi and I ended up wanting to be him.
– Jaume Masià [JM]: For me, my idol was, or is actually, Dani Pedrosa. I think he is one of the most talented riders in the way he rode his bikes. I think if he would have been a little bit taller, he would have been even faster.
Do you think your own size might also be a handicap on track, compared to Dani Pedrosa?– JM: I am taller than Dani, haha. But for me in Moto3, I think I have the perfect measurements for the bike. I still have a little bit of weight on the bike but this, for me, is not a problem.
I am more curious of the Moto2 bike, as it is even bigger than, for instance, the MotoGP Honda, but I don’t believe my height will be a problem.
So, for my family to always believe in me on my way to the top means a lot. I don’t think anyone can really make it without that.
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You all race in the same paddock, most of you on different brands, but you are all connected through your relationship with REV’IT!, like a family. How important was your family to get you where you are today?– DP: I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today without my family, particularly my father. I am really grateful to him because motorcycle racing, unfortunately, isn’t an easy sport in Italy, especially where I am from. In Italy, most kids play soccer, and to play soccer, you only need one pair of shoes.
In the beginning of my career, my father did so many things. He was trying to find sponsors, he got a van to go to the training with me, he was my mechanic; he was everything! He was so passionate about it, and for sure, he gave me this passion for motorcycles even if he never raced himself.
If I look back, we have overcome many many difficulties and struggles, but we made it. I never saw my father buy a new car, or even a new pair of shoes. My family sacrificed a lot for me, and thanks to them, I now race in MotoGP.
– BB: For me, it’s more or less the same. I don’t come from a family with a lot of money. When I was a kid, I played football and took swimming lessons alongside riding pocket bikes. And my father told me at some point, “you have to choose, because we can’t do everything.” Of course, I chose for the pocket bike and my family has always supported me.
It’s easy to understand that your family supports you when you make it to the world championship, but the road there is where you need the support most because it costs a lot of money. And aside from achieving good results, you don’t get anything in return like status or even financial compensation. So, for my family to always believe in me on my way to the top means a lot. I don’t think anyone can really make it without that.
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As we mentioned, your suit is what brings all of you here today. What can you tell about your personal preferences for your race suit?– DP: I think it’s difficult to explain. As everyone can understand, a race suit itself is not the best thing to wear as normal clothing! But on a bike, you need it for your protection and, at the same time, you want it to be as comfortable as possible; you need to move around with no restrictions. Because of the way it is made, it is also fitted to stay in a certain position, which is good on the straights but not so much in the corners.
It looks like it is easy to build a suit, but it’s not. If it’s not 100% perfect, you need too much energy to make the suit move the way you want. Luckily, I work with the right people so this is not a problem, haha!
Joking aside, I was happy to join REV’IT! in 2015 because even when I wasn’t considered a top rider, they took all my comments seriously and they put in the maximum effort to give me the suit that I needed to perform, and to get where I am today. And it means we created history together.
– LDP: I personally like my suit to be a bit on the tight side so it fits very close to the body. And when I have a new suit, I normally try to break it by wearing it directly; even if I don’t go out on the bike. It’s not really necessary, but I think it is also a little bit a superstition; like a ritual.
DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY OTHER SUPERSTITIONS WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR GEAR?
– AF: Yeah, I always start to put on my boots and gloves on the right side of my body; so, first my right boot and then my right glove. And also, when I get on my bike I start on the left side of the bike and I throw my right leg over it first. I have no idea where that comes from, haha!
– JM: When I am fast at a certain track, I always try to use the suit I am in at that moment for as long as possible.
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Most of you have just entered the World Championship, but you have been wearing racing suits for a long time now. What are the main things you saw change in your suits in your career?– BB: The elbow slider! When Marc Marquez was starting to touch the track with the elbow, we all tried to do it too, even when it was not needed.
– DP: For me, and I am a little bit older than these guys, haha, I saw a lot of changes in the stretch parts in the suit. Both the leather parts and the Kevlar parts became more flexible.
What do you think the future will bring for the leather suits that you wear on track?– AF: Maybe the shoulder sliders?! (smiles)
– DP: I think we will not use leather anymore in the future.
Really? What kind of material do you expect?– DP: I don’t know for sure, ask REV’IT!, haha. But honestly, I have no idea but I hope we can use more technical material than leather that we use now. We are always pushing to make the material better and better together, and I think this means, at some point, we don’t need leather anymore.
I was happy to join REV’IT! in 2015 because even when I wasn’t considered a top rider, they took all my comments seriously and they put in the maximum effort to give me the suit that I needed to perform, and to get where I am today. And it means we created history together.
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Back to racing; the last seasons have given us a lot of close races where a crash is sometimes around the corner. For instance, in the 2018 Moto3 race in Australia. What is your strategy when you are battling in such a big group?– LDP: Last year, I didn’t finish the race in Australia because of a crash, so it’s a good question. For me, it is important to always try to stay in the front of the group at all times. Some riders prefer to go to the back and then use the slipstream to get ahead, but for me, I like to stay at the front constantly because the risk of a crash is lower. Or at least that is the case normally.
– DP: In MotoGP, it’s different because it’s not close, because everybody is pushing but it is close because riders don’t go 100% to save their tires. And then, in the end, you start pushing. So, if you are fast enough to start at the front, you can manage the beginning of the race, but the last six or seven laps, it doesn’t matter anymore because everybody goes crazy to try to break away. Then the risk for a crash goes up, but before that point, everybody tries to control their own race and not take too many risks.
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Is there a limit to you guys when it comes to the aggressive behavior you see when racing becomes so close, especially in the last few laps?– JM: I don’t like to be too aggressive, and I like to keep my riding clean, but in Moto3, this is difficult because with so many riders around you, it means they’re likely to touch you. It is mainly young riders so, they need to find out what is the best way to race and get a good result. Touching each other on the bikes is normal in Moto3; I don’t like it but it happens.
– AF: It is the same in Moto2, in a way. I think it’s part of the game when you hit each other, as long as it is not on purpose. However, when they hit you, you think “ok, no problem”, but when it is an aggressive ride who does it, you have to prepare for this. Sometimes it means you have to be more aggressive when you pass him also, but that doesn’t mean you have to hit each other.
– BB: For me, it was a bit more in Moto3, also because the groups are normally bigger. You can get passed by 10 riders in a short period, while in Moto2, you ride in smaller groups during the race so you have to focus on fewer riders.
– DP: I had some problems with this in the past, haha. I think I am the most penalized rider in the last five years in MotoGP. We had many talks in safety commission with other riders. We have to discuss what we can do and can’t do based on data. But every accident is different so it needs to be discussed one-on-one with the safety commission. You can touch a rider, but you cannot compromise his race. For me, this is the limit.
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This year, for a lot of you, the results that are expected are much higher, either because of more experience or because of the team you are now on. How do you deal with pressure?– LDP: I have less pressure now, because I am with the same team that I had a great 2018 season with. So, I know what I can do. Last year, I got into a top team and I was even asking myself if I was going to be quick enough, but now I know that I am.
– JM: For me it’s the same as last year, I just keep working with the team and get the result. Last year I had my first year and I had some bad luck with crashes and injuries, but every time I came back I just kept on going. 2019 is the same for me.
– DP: For me, 2019 is the year without any excuses left. For sure, it’s a big opportunity as a factory rider. I was always competing against factory bikes, or strong independent riders, and now I managed to get the factory ride.
I was always asking myself if I would be better on a factory bike, so this year I will know the answer. I have to get the results, but nobody asks for me to win the championship. I need to always fight for the top 5, or even the podium, in every race.
For me, 2019 is the year without any excuses left. [...] I was always asking myself if I would be better on a factory bike, so this year I will know the answer.
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Last question: 2019. When will you guys be happy with the season?– BB: For me, a consistent top 15 finisher; so regularly in the points every race with some bright results close or inside the top 10.
– AF: For me, a few podiums this year would make the season good. And why not a win?! (smiles).
– LDP: I will try to win the championship.
– JM: For me, it is important to develop and always be in the top 10, and sometimes in the top 5. With that as a focus, we will see what will happen… And always beat my teammate, he is the first person I want to beat!
– DP: Last year, I lost the chance to get 5th in the championship in the last race, so this year we will have to have this as the target. It doesn’t matter if I have a one year deal; I need to perform like every year. Of course, I want to continue after next season, but first it’s the 2019 season.
OF OUR REV’IT! RIDERS
Now that you’ve gained some insight into the why and how behind our riders, make sure to follow their progression via the dedicated REV’IT! Racing Instagram page.