The years go by, but instead of diminishing, the worries increase. Next season, Stefania Palma will have two children in MotoGP. We are talking about Valentino Rossi and Luca Marini, two guys who need very few introductions.
On the day when the Doctor blew out 42 candles, mother Stefania dedicated some time to us to exchange a few words about her kids and the season that awaits them. On the one hand there is Vale, called upon to deal with a new adventure on the Yamaha of the Petronas team, on the other hand Luca, making his debut in the top class with the Ducati.
An adventure where stimuli and curiosity are not lacking, but at the same time also all those worries when having to deal with speed.
"What can I say, I'm old by now - Stefania, Luca and Vale's mother, said jokingly - children help to keep us young, even if there is always concern with bikes. Even if the years pass, you can never get used to it. That worry accompanies you from Thursday until Sunday evening ”.
Stefania, but today is Valentino's birthday! Let's leave the worries aside for a moment and talk about something nice. First, did you give him a present?
“Sure, like every year. I went out yesterday to buy it. Vale already has a lot of nice things, but I am of the opinion that a little thought is always appreciated (smiles) ".
This year he’s 42. Time seems to go fast…
“It's true, time passes quickly, but Vale is always young and smiling. This is the most important thing, since my idea of him is that of a guy who loves life and racing, like so many others. Then it is true that the years pass, but I prefer not to focus too much on the number ”.
Stefania, a few more weeks, and then the World Championship starts. Are you ready to see your two children at work?
“I'm curious to see them together on the track, but the thing that excites most is to see Luca with the Ducati. The day Vale told me that Luca would race in MotoGP with a Ducati touched me, obviously in a positive way. I like this idea of Luca with Ducati, an all-Italian challenge, like a patriot ”.
In Qatar we will see them together on the track and maybe they will even have to face each other. Who will you be cheering for?
"But look, I am of the opinion that this challenge on the track will unite them even more. I am of the opinion that the relationship between Luca and Vale will become even stronger than it already is now. Luca will certainly have the opportunity to grow and learn by watching Vale and at the same time Valentino will have further stimuli ”.
On the subject of Valentino, yesterday the Yamaha presentation took place. Did it affect you not seeing him there after so many years?
"Yes, but now there is a new challenge called Petronas and personally I am very curious about all of this. I am convinced that Vale will have a good opportunity to show what his motivations and ambitions are in this new adventure. He is training to be ready for the new season ”.
“Time passes, but Valentino is always Valentino”. It seems like a cliché, but do you share it?
"Yes. And do you know why? ”.
“Because at 42 he still knows how to excite. It is true, perhaps we no longer see him on the top step of the podium, but he is still there on the track, duelling with many guys much younger than him and putting his passion into it, as if he were half his age. This is one of the things that I continue to appreciate in him, that he knows how to excite. Obviously, winning is another matter entirely, but lately winning in MotoGP is very, very difficult. "
What will MotoGP be like without Rossi?
“That’s a good question. I don't know, I prefer not to think about it. I hope we will have many young guys who will entertain us and excite the public, as he has done all these years. I believe that Vale has done a lot for this sport, bringing people together and at the same time becoming an example for many riders. I think he has been something positive for two wheels ”.
Vale and Luca: how similar are they?
“One of the things I appreciate most is their complicity, but above all the ability they have to listen. Maybe they are sitting on the sofa at home talking to each other and I say something in a low voice, and they both turn round immediately ”.
We’ve talked about Vale, let's move on to Luca. He said he is fascinated by this new adventure with Ducati Esponsorama.
"A lot and I realized it even more on the day of the team presentation. Luca's eyes, when they looked at the Ducati, said it all. You could see his gaze, but above all how he caressed and touched the bike, he conveyed a great desire to ride it. And there is another thing that struck me".
“Luca gets off the bike exactly like Vale does. They are identical, the same, they look like the same person. It's incredible".
In the last season, the riders also discovered Covid.
"I too have been infected. The virus does not spare any of us, regardless of whether you are Valentino Rossi or not. It was a complicated situation, especially having to stay away from your child. In fact, I left him something to eat outside the door, to avoid any contact, but unfortunately I caught it too ".
Stefania, the last two questions: are you ready to become a grandmother?
"Let's wait. But if it happens sooner or later, we will try to be ready ”.
During this long interview we have talked about emotions, joys, but also worries. So I ask her what she thinks of Marc Marquez and the bad injury that happened in Jerez.
“What can I say? Riders are first of all men. I suffered for Marc, even though he is not my son. I suffered for him when he got back on track the second time after the operation. It was impressive to see him after just one week on that bike. Crashes are part of racing, but what he did after just seven days really impressed me. Exactly like Lorenzo did in Assen ”.