Flammini: Rossi? He'll join us soon
MotoGP and World Superbike, two similar championships that have never gotten along and often crossed paths in less than amicable ways. On the one hand you have the glamor of the prototypes, and on the other the more fan friendly passion of the production based series. They each have their ardent supporters, and trying to debate which is better could take a lifetime. And while MotoGP has a decidedly Spanish flavor to it, thanks to organizers Dorna and their CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, the production based series is decidedly more Italian, with the Flammini brothers, Maurizio and Paolo, at the reins. They were recently interviewed by Italian magazine Riders, and naturally they were asked about Valentino Rossi, they golden goose that everyone wants in their series. "I don't know if Rossi will come to WSBK, but I'm convinced we will have him in our family soon enough, in our automobile racing series," affirmed Maurizio, who is well aware of Valentino's passion for cars.
"MotoGP wants to try and be like Formula 1, but without Rossi they would be nowhere. But superbike hasn't copied anyone, and indeed some of the car racing series have actually copied us. Flammini Racing has organized the Superstars series for a few years now, and there are five former Formula 1 drivers on the grid, and nine different manufacturers. The paddock is completely open and fan friendly, and the racing is very exciting."
Stealing Rossi away from MotoGP would also be a form of revenge, after the introduction of some production based bikes into the Grand Prix world, in the form of CRT. But Paolo Flammini remained diplomatic on the topic. "MotoGP is an open championship, and it's not possible to move it towards production bikes - he explained - If they mandated something production based, the engineers would completely modify them after just ten days. Racers like to change things. I spoke to an engineer from a CRT team, who is using a SBK spec engine without a removable gearbox. They are trying to modify it now, and by the end of the year it will have little or nothing in common with the SBK engine. The two championships will always be different, since it's in their nature."
WSBK can also count on an Italian star of their own, in the form of 2010 champion Max Biaggi. But luring him into the series wasn't easy. "We had to put up some money to convince him - Maurizio recalled - He is a perfectionist. You need to discuss every little detail with him on the telephone for a half hour. But we love him. I hope he's happy with his career, and the great way he is ending it. My first impression of him was terrible though. I'd met him many times away from the track, and he is a totally different person; friendly and intelligent. But when he puts on the leathers, he becomes vicious."