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MotoGP, Kocinski: "the footprint we Americans had in GP racing has disappeared."

VIDEO - "we need to have good American riders to fight for the championship, but it will take the right investments and infrastructure. I feel I can be one of those people who could use their experience to help the new generation in  getting us back over here."

MotoGP, Kocinski: "the footprint we Americans had in GP racing has disappeared."

Between the arrival of Liberty Media and the new collaboration between Team Trackhouse and Aprilia, it is possible that we may be witnessing the first steps of a revival of star-studded motorcycle racing in MotoGP. There are many rumors about the possibility of a second MotoGP round, if not even a third, in the States, and it is safe to assume that as a result of the more than positive results in Formula 1 thanks in part to the intervention of Liberty Media, the popularity of the sport is truly witnessing the beginning of a new growth phase.

After all, in the history of the sport the American imprint has been strong and enduring, recalling among the many legends such names as Kenny Roberts Sr, Eddie Lawson, Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey, Kevin Schwantz, Randy Mamola, Roberts Jr. and the late Nicky Hayden. An imprint now faded by the almost total absence in MotoGP of U.S. riders, and whose return would surely give renewed popularity and internationality to an exciting but predominantly Italian-Spanish driven championship. We talked about it with John Kocinski, one of the last American riders of his generation, who won the title in 250 in 1990 on his Yamaha YZR, then repeated the feat in the Superbike championship six years later on a Honda RC45.

Interview by Tiziano Niero

What do you think of this GP, are you looking forward to a second GP here in America?
"It's my first time back to a Grand Prix in quite a long time," Kocinski interjects, "and to come here and experience this, its been an amazing experience. It's just incredible to see this whole show again play out live. If there was a chance to have another Grand Prix in America, it is something that we would definitely welcome."

There has been a lot of talk about Liberty Media, and talking to Randy Mamola, he said former riders should be involved more. There is a difficulty of dialogue between the needs of the competition and the organization.
"It'll be interesting to see the positions they'll take this championship, it all seems very positive, for sure it's a bonus to rely on the past performers who did very well. be able to use their knowledge and experience, we all make mistakes and we learn from it and to be able to pass that knowledge on and perhaps keep other people from making mistakes I think is a huge asset so I'm all for it."

What do you think of this weekend in MotoGP?
"Well, if the Sprint race has any indication Maverick Vinales is looking very strong. Being an ex-rider and in the championship you're constantly working even in the warm-up with different tyres and settings to make that next step so we'll see in the race if anybody was able to know that you work continuously, even in the warm-up. We'll see if any rider was able to close the gap to Maverick but at the moment he seems to be strong and his rhythm good but i think there's no reason why today we don't see him score his first victory."

Let's talk about the American school of riders, you belong to the golden age. What is the situation like today?
"When you look back, 30 years ago Americans had a pretty strong footprint in grand prix racing but unfortunately over time that footprint has disappeared. I guess I was one of the last ones, when I got out it was sort of the end of it. So that part is unfortunate so you know I'm here now and it would be interesting to come back and get involved and try to change that because the championship needs more Americans in it, but not just to having Americans there to fill the grid, but to be able to have some good riders who can fight for the championship."

You said that you were one of the last American riders from that time. Did you already have that impression at the time that there were no other riders coming up to take your place?
"I was never used to looking in the rear-view mirror, so at the time I didn't pay much attention to it - you always think there will be someone else coming, but history has shown us that there wasn't anybody coming after me. That unfortunately led to the demise of our footprint in the championship, as I said before. But like everything, it's going to take investments and the right infrastructure to make it happen again, and I feel confident that I can be one of those people who could lend their experience to getting us back over there, but in a a competitive way and not just being there."


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