There could have been no better setting than the “Galleria di Marco” within the “Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli” for the presentation of the team that will, in a certain sense, bring Marco Simoncelli back to the world championship. We are talking about the SIC58 Squadra Corse, that now adds a new chapter to its story, begun in 2013 with two riders in the pre Moto3 CIV, with its arrival in the Moto3 world championship, while still maintaining a team in the CEV Moto3 and CIV pre Moto3 series.
There were many guests in attendance at the presentation, which got underway with a video message from Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna chief (and one of the team's sponsors): “We have worked significantly with Paolo in recent years, and it's very important that he's now reached the world championship with his team. It will be a great challenge and he will have our full support”. The star of the show was of course Paolo Simoncelli who, visibily moved, thanks everyone who has contributed to this process, also explaining how it all came about: “Much of the credit for the birth of this project goes to Aldo Drudi, who pushed me and helped me create a team. We started with youngsters because I believe that developing young talent is the greatest thing, and we will in fact continue to compete in the CEV and the CIV. I always tried to instill in Marco the strength of believing in one's goals and that's what we'll try to do now with the team's riders. The hope is that we can continue to do well in the world championship”.
The most important development is that the world team will have only one crew chief, in the shape of Marco Grana (former crew chief to Enea Bastianini), for both riders: “We made this decision to avoid any conflict that might arise with two crew chiefs. Of course each rider will have its own work group, led by a manager but I think having just one crew chief will bring harmony”. Another important member of the team is Fausto Gresini, a friend, and partner to dad Paolo: “It was only natural that I help Paolo along the path, right from the start, with our shared desire to develop young riders, and I'm pleased we're now in the world championship. I have a conflict of interests I guess (he laughs) but the competition will be enjoyed by everyone”. Carlo Pernat, another important figure in the SIC58 outfit: “We'll definitely have fun this season, and we'll do it above all for he who's watching us from over. It's a pleasure to collaborate with Paolo on this project”.
The two Hondas will be entrusted to riders Tony Arbolino and Tatsuki Suzuki. Arbolino has been a member of the SIC58 family since 2014, and it is he who achieved the team's first international victory (in the 2016 CEV), but the excitement of debuting in the world championship can be clearly seen in his eyes: “I'm really please to race with this team again, it's difficult to explain the emotion. I think having just one crew chief is a great thing, also considering his experience. I'm coming from the CEV where I battled against many strong rider, so I think I'm ready to do well; I'd like to be one of the best rookies, and to learn from the best. We hope to achieve some positive results”.
Suzuki is the more experienced of the pair, having already completed two world championship seasons, and also has a certain affinity with emotionally charged teams: “In my first two days I raced with the CIP team, Shoya Tomizawa's former team, so being in this team is very special in terms of the passion it has. With this year's bike we can really aim high. It's a big jump in quality for me, thanks to which I'll be able to measure my potential. During 2016 I learned the importance of qualifying and this year I'll aim to finish the championship in the top five”.