Yesterday Capirossi, today Franco Uncini. The Sunday Facebook Live of GPOne sees us catch up with the Safety Officer of the world championship, Franco Uncini. In addition to talking about his commitment on the track to protect the riders, the former two-wheel champion revealed his future hopes about the start of the Championship, as well as some anecdotes that have seen him protagonist in the past.
However, the attention is turned to the present and it is from here that we start.
“Finland could be the first possible race - he began - even if the situation of other nations must be carefully evaluated. Actually, we have to wait until the other countries are free to move. Personally, I would say that July could be a good month to start the world championship ".
If this were the case, we would start from the KymiRing…
“I have to inspect it and it is still to be reviewed, since the circuit has to meet all the safety-related requests that we have put forward. We must therefore be sure that everything is in order, even if for the moment we just have to wait. "
In recent years, Uncini has seen a lot of circuits and these are the ones that have remained impressed on his mind.
"I like Sepang and Mugello, but also the Assen of the past, with 34 curves in seven km. It was a city circuit that turned into a racetrack over the weekend. "
In addition to these there were also those that were considered to be dangerous…
"I remember Opatija (Croatia), the old street circuit - he mentioned - that was a dangerous track".
Attention then shifted to the issue of safety.
“My decision to get involved in safety for the riders came about in 1979 at the request of the riders themselves. I was therefore elected by my colleagues as a representative. Then, in 1982, following the request by Suzuki to become an official rider, Mike Trimby asked me if I could communicate to him all the requests to be presented to the circuits for adequate safety. On the one hand, I made a commitment to be competitive, on the other, to protect the life of my fellow riders. "
Ah yes, your fellow riders, you have certainly had a lot of those over time…
“Kenny Roberts was my benchmark, but I also valued Sheene, as well as Spencer and Alan North. Spencer was someone who started and cleared off completely, North instead was impossible to outbrake. And then I also remember Lucchinelli, he was a Gascon and I didn't want to be his copy, I preferred to be different, so as a result I probably amplified my seriousness ".
And what about Gardner, who was involved in that bad accident in Assen…
"I can’t remember anything about that incident, except that I was in a waking coma for five days. The bruises under my eyes lasted for a year. "
In recent years, safety has improved so much on the track, but apparently it is still not enough.
"The Simoncelli accident is a risk that we are still unable to face, because there are no materials capable of withstanding such a great impact force. A lot has been said about that matter, from the airbag that could have been really important, right down to the helmet or the sensors, but the truth is that it is not yet possible to defeat the force involved in those types of collisions. "
Returning instead to the present, in the MotoGP calendar there is Portimao, which is however considered to be a reserve track.
“Portimao is homologated for Superbike, but not for MotoGP, since an A grade of homologation with respect to B of the production-based series is needed. However, there is no big difference between these two approvals, especially if we consider those related to the Moto2 and Moto 3 riders."
Staying on the subject of safety, there is also the link between the FIA and the FIM.
“Years ago, the FIA communicated that the run-off areas were to have been exclusively on asphalt and this was a problem for us. In the end I managed to get gravel, an example is Austria, where I asked for a decrease in the amount of asphalt. Now even the FIA have accepted a good compromise between asphalt and gravel ".
As mentioned, there is no shortage of anecdotes from the past and one of these also concerns Capirossi…
“With Loris we went to lap at Sepang a few years ago. I entered the track and after a few laps I started pushing hard. Loris overtook me and later began waving his hands at me in an agitated way. When we were in the pits, he said to me: “You are an idiot, you haven’t ridden a motorbike for 30 years, why are you taking such risks? (Smiles) ".
Uncini also has an anecdote about Capirossi...
“He was a fast rider; I remember that at last year's Aprilia party he was the fastest on the track. Then Iannone made an effort but he only shaved seven-tenths off his time”.
Watch the video on Facebook or HERE ON YOUTUBE and don't miss all the anecdotes and comments!