Lucio Cecchinello was the first guest of our June live chats. On the Anniversary of the Republic the patron of the LCR team touched on various issues including the crisis that has affected the independent teams. There is talk of 2020 and also of 2021 with the market obviously holding centre stage.
Lucio also expressed a thought for Carlo Ubbiali, 9 world titles, who passed yesterday at the age of 90, and who briefly wore the colours of the LCR team as a consultant.
"We have been forced to face a surreal situation - Lucio began by talking about the crisis - we are a private team and we were able to have advances from the sponsors, thanks to which we paid the initial costs, then we received the green light from Honda to suspend the leasing costs of the bikes. We have therefore been able to manage the situation, expanding the extension of the credit line with the bank. This is not a dramatic situation, but we have to calibrate everything well ".
What do you expect from the future?
"At the moment, our level of concern is also extended to 2021. The sales projections of the companies for the next year are currently negative and the motorcycle industry is strongly affected by all this."
Speaking of the rider market. Would you like to have Petrucci in LCR?
“At the moment we have Cal as a rider and our priority is to renew with him. The choice is not only ours: we have an official bike, therefore the HRC has an important voice in the choice of the rider. I think Danilo can adapt well to the Honda style, he has in some ways that way of riding that Stoner had, he also has the strength to tame an RCV. I'd like to have him, since it could be the first time for an Italian rider with LCR".
What is the deadline with Cal?
"I believe Cal had decided to retire after the Phillip Island accident. In my opinion it is a normal reaction for a rider who knows he is in the final stages of his career. Maybe he was thinking of stopping because the successful operation to put his ankle back in place was long and difficult. But then he considered extending his one-year contract because he still doesn't feel finished. Furthermore, I am of the opinion that the lockdown has made people understand how much we love our job. I too have occasionally thought about going on for a few more years and then I will dedicate myself to something else, but now I understand how much I care about our sport ".
Staying on the subject of riders: do you think Miller can get closer to Stoner?
“I believe Casey has been the biggest talent of the past 20 years. Without adequate and specific preparation with the bike he could interpret the vehicle to perfection by making the best lines to take the bike to the limit. He was able to do really extraordinary things, making us dream. I still remember the pole on his debut in Qatar: he arrived at the circuit in the last minute because of a problem with his plane, it was Friday morning, 17 minutes were remaining before the start of the session. He set the best time in FP1, then took pole the next day. Miller has all the characteristics to ride a large-displacement motorcycle. At the time, Suppo wanted to focus strongly on him, even though I am of the opinion that Jack deserved more assistance. I never understood why they put him under contract, without giving him the maximum support. To date, Miller has shown that he has all the right cards to fight with the best. "
What do you think about Valentino? A reader jokingly told us that if he raced in Moto2 he would have won in all categories…
“It is incredible how inexhaustible Vale's passion for motorcycles and his motivation is. Vale doesn't have to prove anything to anyone, since for two decades he has been the best. He certainly has no financial problems, but I don't think that, after being the benchmark in the premier class, he wants to try other categories. Among other things, it is worth admiring how much help he gives to the young guys in the Academy. I know for sure that he has refused important sums, with five zeros, to welcome riders who are financially willing to pay for access to the Academy themselves ".
Do you think Vale wants to prove to Yamaha that it made a mistake in not confirming him in the factory team?
"It might also be a motivation, but at the same time it is true that Yamaha will give Vale maximum support and assistance. I take the view that there has been a transparent conversation between the manufacturer and the rider regarding 2021 ".
How do you view the Honda in these winter tests?
“Tests are made for testing and in Malaysia we had some good impressions. Marc instead was suffering from his shoulder surgery and his physical strength was not at 100%; I spoke to Alzamora, his manager, whom I know very well because we raced together. They weren't that concerned about the stopwatch, but about Marquez's health. In Qatar, however, there were big problems, given that the bike did not turn in the fast corners. The new wings ended up coming under fire and it is for this reason that they asked us for one of Nakagami’s 2018 bikes to have a confirmation from a back-to-back test. We therefore realized that the aerodynamic aspect, in circuits with fast corners like Qatar, was one of our weak points.”
Have you ever had proposals to switch to a different manufacturer?
"Sure! Every time a constructor starts a project after a couple of years, he realizes that he has to get bigger to acquire more information. I was contacted by KTM and Aprilia, while in 2016 there was a discussion with Suzuki. Our priority has always been to renew with Honda for historical reasons and interest from our sponsors ".
How do you see Iannone on the Honda?
“Iannone has great potential, I think he can also go well with the Honda too. But I am convinced that with the Aprilia he can do well and in Noale they believe in him ".
What do you think of the four-year deal for Marquez?
"On the one hand, it is something new; on the other, it is clear that Honda wanted to put a barrier against other manufacturers. HRC is a reality that has a very personal relationship and I take the view that Marquez will forever be a Honda man. I think Marc has no interest in changing teams. It's something that in some ways unites him to Doohan ".