Giacomo Agostini was the latest protagonist of our Live broadcast and he let us into his trophy room, 364 of them are there, a real treasure for the man who can be defined, without any flattery whatsoever, as the King of Racers.
Above you can see the interview but remember, Ago is never a man who can be taken for granted: he spoke of the golden age of motorcycling, of the great champions of the past and also of the present.
This is what he told us.
"I have never quarrelled with Lorenzo; I have always admired him and will continue to do so"
“I would have liked Lorenzo to win the title with Ducati, but it didn’t happen. I didn't want to talk bullshit, saying that he had won everything and I'm sorry he didn't. I’ve always liked Jorge, I admire every rider who gives me joy; from Lorenzo to Valentino when they have done great things, but if they don't do them, then I can't lie. There is no need for us to make up because I have never quarrelled with Jorge; in fact, I’ve always admired him and will continue to do so, for me nothing has changed."
"Marquez has nothing to prove, he doesn't need to change bikes"
“Marquez doesn't need to change bikes to prove what he's worth. Nobody can say that Marc wins because he is with Honda, it is his wrist that makes him win. We all know he could also win with another bike; he has nothing to prove. "
"Yamaha will also give Marquez a hard time"
“Yamaha, at least from what we could see in the winter tests, was ready the most. Development has stopped, so it has a good chance. It has four good riders; Quartararo is proving to be very fast so he will have the chance to do some good races. Marquez was not fit with his shoulder, but thanks to this inactivity I think he will get back to 100%, it will be a great battle, but I think Yamaha will also give Marquez a hard time”.
"If I were Ducati, I wouldn't let Dovizioso go"
“Dovizioso is the one who has given Ducati the results, I don't think there are any other alternatives and I wouldn't let him go. I think Miller is ready to join the factory team, even if he wasn’t lacking anything in Pramac; it can still be important from a psychological point of view.”
"Valentino racing at 40 years old? The difference is all in the head "
“Valentino in a private team? When I raced in Yamaha the team was mine, so it was private, but I won 3 championships. It's more of a mental factor: if the team of technicians remains the same and if the manufacturer gives a 100% factory bike, the only thing that changes is the people who pay your salary”.
“Valentino wants to continue even if he doesn’t score any more great results? Each rider does what he feels, you can’t criticize him or give him advice. I can only speak for myself: when I started not winning 12 races a year but only 3 or 4, I began to think that it would be better to give up my place to someone else; when I finished second and everyone said I was finished, I felt humiliated. I thought it was the right time to stop, decline comes for all sportsmen. Everything comes from your head: at 20 you don't reason much, the more you go on the more you start to think, and you misplace small things, but you still feel strong. As a young man I used to do the long fast curve at Monza at 240 km/h and if the bike went away from me, I would laugh; if I did it now, I would cry!".
“My best comeback? When I passed 35 riders at Paul Ricard "
“At Paul Ricard, I was with the Yamaha 500 and we had to push-start the bikes. I pushed the first time and it didn’t start, I pushed a second time and again it didn’t start. I was now out of breath, but I pushed the third time and it fired up, but in front of me there was no one, they had already done the first corner. I thought of doing only a few laps and then stopping, but I started to see the other riders, so I summoned up my courage and began to push hard. In the end I overtook 35 riders, beat the track record three times during the race and came within a second of Barry Sheene who won."
Monza 1973: "It was only the day after that I realized that Pasolini and Saarinen were gone"
“It was a dark day. I had just won the 350 and was celebrating together with Count Agusta, waiting for the 500 race. I heard the start and 30 seconds later then nothing more, I began to worried and then I heard the sirens. I only realized what had happened the next day, at home, I thought that two champions like Pasolini and Saarinen had gone in a moment. "
"The Morini is the bike that remains in my heart"
“The Morini is the bike that remains in my heart because it is the one that gave me the first victory in my life. The second was the MV Agusta and the third the Yamaha with which I won at Daytona on my debut. The MV was a great motorbike, but to ride a great motorbike it takes a great rider and with Yamaha I showed that it was not just the MV that could fly”.
"There were those people who admired me and those who said they were faster than me but that I had the best bike. First of all, I never had my bikes because I was the son of Count Agusta, of Commendatore Morini or of the President of Yamaha but because I deserved them. I had started with little; my father didn't want ne to race and he didn't even give me one lira, I bought a Morini and I came second in my first race, then I won in my fourth beating all the factory riders".
"Read didn't pay too much attention to fair play. The strongest of all? Mike Hailwood "
“I owe respect to a lot of riders, starting with Pasolini, then Mendogni, Spaggiari, Read, Redman, Taveri, Sheene, Roberts, Lucchinelli. Read was a very aggressive rider who didn’t think twice about passing someone without permission and was not very correct. He was very good, and he never gave up. But the rider who made me suffer the most was Mike Hailwood. He was the strongest because he didn't know how to set up the bike, but he rode it like a violin, he didn't care if it moved around. He raced at the Tourist Trophy, he won in every category; during the year he did one race a year with the MZ, which never won except when he rode it."
"The emotions that the Tourist Trophy gives you are unique, like the risks"
“If you don't think about the risk, the best track was the Tourist Trophy, racing there gave me an incredible joy. It is a circuit that gives you everything: from first-gear curves, to wheelies at 240 kilometres per hour, to jumps, to descents, to climbs. Winning and racing there for a rider is a unique emotion, but you always have on your mind the fact that you mustn’t crash."