EICMA 2019 was also where Italian fans warmly welcomed the new world champion, Lorenzo Dalla Porta. The King of the Moto3 attended the Milan Motor Show on Friday and, between events with sponsors and a glimpse around at what was new in the world of engines, he was literally swamped by his fans. What's it feel like signing all those autographs?
"It's a great pleasure to have all these people around," said Dalla Porta. "It's nice being popular and being able to transmit something to the public when I'm racing. I race for myself, but I'm really happy to entertain my fans."
But they actually already had a big party in Montemuro, your town, when you went back home after the triptych.
"Yes, it was more like a welcome back party," Lorenzo said.
You returned after almost a month away, traveling around the world. A month that was practically perfect, with 3 victories out of 3 and the world championship. What did you feel on the plane when you left and on the one when you returned?
"It couldn't have felt better than this," he said. "Even before the triptych, in Thailand, I had finished the race in second place because of small mistake at the last turn, but I felt good. This year, I didn't feel pressured, since I always tried to find the positive side, without getting mad. I always believed in it."
When did you realize that you could do it?
"We had set the objective of winning the world championship, along with the team, when I signed my renewal with Leopard last year. They believed in me, and I in them, and already in Qatar we felt strong. Maybe we had a turning point in Thailand. That second place was the definitive confirmation because I was in a complicated moment. My grandmother had passed away, and it was one of the most difficult weekends of my life. But I approached the race in the right way, and I realized I could do it."
Were you uncertain or did you already feel like a champion?
There could have been so many obstacles. I can't say that I felt unbeatable, but I really believed in myself after the race."
Now you're a world champion, but next year you'll be up for another challenge in the Moto2 with the Italtrans team. What do you think you can improve?
"I really don't know. I think I'm okay psychologically because I won, and so my mentality was right. Technically , there's always something to develop, but nothing in particular comes to mind."
Your victory in the Moto3 comes 15 years after the last time an Italian won in the minor class. The category was still the 125cc and the champion was Andrea Dovizioso who, in 2004, had won his only world championship. Why hadn't we won in 15 years, and why was it you who won?
Honestly? I don't know. The experts and the people at home have to say why I won. I did a bit of my own thing. I wanted it so much, and I had to work hard. This world championship is the result of so much work and so many sacrifices. I've never put myself in the shoes of others who haven't won in the Moto3 in 15 years. Maybe no one has ever managed to be as constant as they were fast because, it's true that there have been difficult seasons, but also good ones, like this one, where lots of really fast Italians were on the grid. I did it."
But being a world champion for someone your age also means making sacrifices. What did you miss out on these years?
"In the end, I'm a guy like any other right now, except when I'm racing. In the last few years, I gave up my studies, but I actually never really liked sitting behind a school desk, so it wasn't a big loss. But I remember when I started. This is a really expensive sport and, for many years, I couldn't afford lots of things."
"I couldn't go out with friends at night, buy fashionable clothes and phones. I couldn't afford lots of material things because I knew that we had to save in the family. But now I'm fulfilling lots of my desires. I obviously don't throw money away, but now life has improved somewhat."