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Uncini: "The new MotoGP regulations will not make everyone start from scratch"

VIDEO - "In my opinion in a couple of years the engines will return to today's performance, they will not be completely redesigned. MotoGP without Suzuki is strange, like a piece is missing."

Uncini: "The new MotoGP regulations will not make everyone start from scratch"
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Franco Uncini has tied his entire 500 career to Suzuki, with the fantastic world title he won in 1982 representing the true gem of his career. Uncini is therefore an integral part of Suzuki's history and participated in the Suzuki Motor Fest along with two other great riders such as Marco Lucchinelli and Kevin Schwantz. He led the way for fans during the parade on the Riviera track and was sought out by the many fans to sign autographs and take photos with a public that has always loved him.

He decided to say goodbye to the role of safety officer for the Federation at the end of 2022, but the lure of the track and racing is still very strong, in fact Franco will return to the MotoGP paddock this year in a brand new role. We talked with him about a number of topics, and as always Uncini offered a unique and very interesting point of view.

You were leading a platoon of more than 500 bikes on the track today!
"Really, there were so many of them and really it was a very nice scenario. It was nice this event, despite it being the first one they organize at this level, so I have to just give them kudos, really kudos. Then being part of the Suzuki family is always a pleasure."

You are not the first person to define Suzuki using the term 'family'.
"Absolutely. I tell you, back in the 1980s' they considered me part of the Suzuki family. They have always had that mentality and have continued to have it to this day, in fact it has remained a family. Me, Marco, even Kevin, when they call we are there, if it is possible of course."

A shame not to see Suzuki in MotoGP, do you miss it?
"I don't just miss it, but I miss it so much. Besides, I think Suzuki was the most beautiful bike, aesthetically the most beautiful, beautiful coloring, competitive, absolutely competitive. So that they decided so suddenly to stop racing, really hurt me a lot. And I still say that there is something missing from MotoGP by Suzuki being missing. It's a pity that with a bike that came to a very high level they quit so suddenly for no real reason, because nobody gave the reason why they decided to quit. They just quit. Strange. Too bad."

With the new MotoGP regulations they are starting from scratch, maybe they feel like coming back.
"I don't agree that they are starting from scratch a little bit, because really already the reduction in displacement, in my opinion, is seen from the perspective of keeping the engines that already exist.That is, from 1,000 they go down to 850 displacement, but they definitely don't change the engine completely, so they won't have to make investments to completely redesign the engine and do it all over again. In my opinion it's a reduction in displacement to keep the engine as it is."

So you think it won't change that much from today?
"My guess is that in one or two years they will be competitive again as they are today. But it is true that they want to reduce the electronics a little bit, get rid of the lowerers in the chassis, all of this will probably affect the performance quite a bit, so they will certainly go slower initially. But for how long I don't know, because in my opinion the 850 displacement is still a little bit too high. But it's a choice they've weighed, a decision made together with the Manufacturers and the promoters, so they've definitely thought it through."

You at some point decided to stop, with a cool mind what do you think?
"I was traveling the world not only for the 21 GPs, but I was also traveling the world when I finished the championship, because clearly by making the requests for changes at the various circuits I was traveling even after the end of the world championship. Then the various circuits would call me if they had any issues, and then I would go and inspect the circuit together with them and then decide on the alternative to what they wanted to propose. It's perfectly fine if the circuit is in France, if the circuit is in Spain or if it's in Italy, because then you come back in a day or two days at most. But this was also happening in Argentina, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, so I was taking so many flights that at some point I said to myself it's time for me to think a little bit about my family, to think a little bit about my life, my friends, and so I did."

But do you miss it?
"I miss it, I'm not hiding it, there's no point in hiding it, I miss it because I miss racing. In fact, the Federation offered me last year to do several GPs, then I agreed to do only three and this year I'm going to do as many and I'm doing them as an appeal steward, which would be the steward to whom the riders, if they are penalized by the permanent stewards, appeal. If they want to appeal a decision, they do it to the steward appeal panel."

It will be a difficult job, not everyone likes Spencer's performance.
"I'll explain, it's difficult because actually the stewards, the permanent stewards, have at their disposal so many more images than we, let's say we from the outside, from the public, see on television because they have access to helicopter images, onboard camera images, CCTV images. You know each circuit has 30, 35, internal cameras, so they access a lot of information that from the outside you can't see. Maybe an image that you see through broadcast, regular TV, looks like one thing to you when you go and see it from other perspectives it's a whole other thing, so I have to defend a little bit the work of the marshals that may not seem exceptional, but I'm telling you they have a lot more images available to them than what we see. So I say a lot of times if they have decided this way, despite the fact that I think I disagree, I rely on their decisions."

Liberty Media will come in, do you think Ezpeleta will step aside and change everything?
"Initially no, because Liberty Media knows very well that if MotoGP has reached this point it is definitely thanks to Carmelo Ezpeleta and his team, including his son who has taken over a little bit in the last few years and is doing very well, he is almost taking over from his father. To me he's very good, so I think at least until 2027 they will remain in charge. Of course I don't know if they actually have that much desire to stay, they have dedicated so much time, I would say their whole life to the sport. Since the investment has worked out, today they might as well enjoy a little bit of all this money that is coming into their pockets. They also have a lot of passion, though, so I think until 2027 little changes."

 

Translated by Julian Thomas

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