Another man flying the flag for motorcycling at last week's Monza Rally was Andrea Locatelli. The Italtrans rider was making his second appearance at the event, after debuting last year. Luca Marini was taking part in the same category, and the Bergamo rider finished the race five seconds ahead of him.
“Monza was a really great experience– recalls Andrea- I have to say that last year's Fiesta was a little easier than the Skoda. I had to work to get to grips with it but I'm pleased, because rallies are always a great opportunity”.
Expectations were high ahead of the battle against Marini, and in the end you came out on top.
“I had an advantage over him in that I had some experience -admits Locatelli -perhaps Luca had a car that allowed better performance, as well as a brother like Valentino in the garage of course, who can always give good advice”.
How is your relationship with Marini?
“We've always had a good relationship, though maybe not a close one, in that I'm not part of the Academy and don't live in Tavullia”.
Last year Rossi said he'd like to have you in the Academy.
“Living in Bergamo, it's something to consider. We've talked about it in the past, but I have friends and sponsors in Selvino who have helped. I'm a real Bergamo native (he smiles), this is my home and I love it. Leaving it would be like abandoning family”.
It's already time to think about 2018.
“It will be another tough year no doubt, though I have the experience of this year. In Moto2 I've seen that you need to be patient, as each weekend can be the opposite of any another. Continuing with Italtrans is a plus of course, because I know the team and environment”.
Your team-mate also took part in the Monza Rally.
“At Monza Mattia and me were rivals. I really respect him, particularly in terms of his riding style and his methodical way. He's one of those guys who never gives up”.
How's your relationship in the garage?
“I have to say he's very willing. He spent some time explaining a few things to me and correcting some of my mistakes. It would be great if I could move closer to him next season”.
Is that the goal?
“I'd like to be top ten, but above all be inside the points zone every Sunday”.
Final question... if you hadn't become a motorcycle rider?
"Fortunately I finished high school, getting my diploma in mechanics. I might have gone into athletics, seeing as that has always appealed. Or cycling to be honest, I often train on the bike”.