It was nice to see Marco Lucchinelli satisfied and smiling in the Suzuki stand at EICMA in Milan, where the ex-rider received a surprise gift from the Hamamatsu-based manufacturer, also there with all the models used in the racing sector.
The RG Gamma Marco rode to win the 500 class title in 1981 was alongside the new GSX-R 1000, which bore the historic winning livery today: “It is an emotional experience for me to receive this gift – Lucky was happy – It is a beautiful surprise and I am truly happy! Both the bikes are beautiful, mine that I rode to win in the half-litre, and this new one too, with the exact same colour scheme as the one I raced in 1981. I would like to thank Suzuki for this special dedication that came as a surprise.”
The two sports periods are impossible to compare, although Lucchinelli finds some common characteristics: “In my day, the bikes were not as safe and the tracks were more dangerous – he explains – whereas now everything is much more controlled and managed. The riders today are professionals from the time they are very young, but one thing is certain: back then, like now, whoever has more throttle wins, in other words, the best.”
You know Suzuki quite well: what do you think of the Ecstar factory team’s season?
“I was disappointed by Suzuki’s MotoGP season. Last year, a bike like this with Maverick Viñales finished on the podium and won. It deserved results worthy of it and it is certainly not the manufacturer’s fault.”
Whose fault is it?
“The riders. Not so much Rins, because he was unlucky. In his rookie year, Alex was injured straight away and missed a few races. Andrea Iannone, on the other hand, after the first two -good- races seemed to be a bit lost, so the team went in the wrong direction for development of the GSX-RR and, as I said, it is not the company’s fault, but the fault of the riders who give the engineers indications.”
On Sunday, the Grand Prix of Valencia will decide the winner… or has it already been decided?
“For the Ducati to win, it will take a miracle. It will be extremely difficult for him, but Dovizioso could also win. However, Marquez would have to crash -which would be more likely- but in any case, it wouldn’t be enough unless Dovi crosses the line in first place.”
Has this championship been conditioned by team orders?
“I don’t think so. I think we have just heard a lot of rumours. I do not think that there have been team orders this season, because Dovizioso deserved to win each one of the six races he won with the Ducati Desmosedici. This championship will also be won by the number one rider, in other words, the one who deserves this number plate, as always. And even in the 2015 season, in the battle between Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi there was no team play or anything like that with Marquez, because the best rider won.”