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MotoGP, GPone to one, Mamola: "The 2025 season with Marquez in Ducati? It will be a bomb!"

VIDEO - "Many people think Jorge deserved the official saddle, and he's leading the way. But an 8-time champion attracts a lot of media attention and has shown he can fight. This market operation will remain in history. Next? I'd like to see Pramac with Yamaha. Getting back on track on the RS500? exciting."

MotoGP, GPone to one, Mamola: "The 2025 season with Marquez in Ducati? It will be a bomb!"
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At Vallelunga, guests of the LCR Honda team, present for the Honda days, we met up with legend Randy Mamola, who the day before had taken to the track on the Honda RS500 (a surprise from Lucio Cecchinello), the bike he raced on back in 1984, 40 years later.

So many emotions then for the American rider who started with the iconic push start, followed on the track by the attentive eyes of his son Dakota, also a rider. A journey into the past then, but also an opportunity to talk about current events, among the latest sensational market moves. Primarily those of Martin and Marquez, but there was also talk of the future, with the possibility of seeing an American rider, Joe Roberts, return to the premier class after many years of absence. As always with his usual friendliness and smile, the American rider began the interview by singing John Denver's "Take me home, country roads."

It is exactly the right song to start talking about the fantastic experience you had yesterday here in Vallelunga. Lucio Cecchinello brought a three-cylinder Honda RS 500, the bike that you Randy rode in 1984 in Rothmans colors (Video proof here).
"It was between 1984 and 1985, in '84 it had the red white and blue, in Honda colors. That was the year I started the season late because I didn't have a bike, Suzuki stopped at the end of '83. I was lucky and thanks to Oguma san I participated in the first races like Laguna Seca. Freddie Spencer got hurt at an event at Donington and the rest is history, I paid my mechanics, that's why the team was red, white and blue. So it was quite an unusual day and for me very emotional because it's exactly 40 years since I rode this."

What was it like to jump on such a bike, a two-stroke? Obviously you didn't ride today's MotoGP but you did get on a Ducati 4-stroke MotoGP bike. A very different machine, with lots of electronics, what was it like to jump into the past?
"It's like what everybody would imagine, people who loved the two-stroke era still believe in the era. I also tried the four-stroke and believe in both. MotoGP is having an exciting time this season with everything that is happening. But don't forget that at that time Honda's three-cylinder was a high level technology. When Freddie Spencer brought this bike in, together with Lucchinelli, he won the title, yet everyone said, "Three cylinders? Four in the Suzuki, the Yamaha with the V4..." There was a lot of competition even back then. So I came here to Vallelunga at the invitation of Lucio Cecchinello and the LCR team, and you can see on social media the moment I uncovered the bike. It was quite funny because I was wearing the Honda leathers that I used at Goodwood last year, with my son Dakota, because they had brought some MotoGP bikes and Gabriele Mazzarolo from Alpinestars had brought it to me. I brought it here because it's Honda days and it was special because they asked me, "Can you get in your leathers now?" And I'm thinking why they need me to go out and ride? I put my leathers on, they told me to come outside and there it was. I understand that the bike is more than 40 years old, with all the movable parts, but to take it to the track and get on the first lap was amazing. It was funny because even though it was quite warm here and with the old radiator, we had to put tape to warm it up. The footage you see is of Dakota riding the red RCV213S, which was super fun, it surprised him a lot because I pushed it quite hard, hit a couple of corners and he couldn't believe it was a 500cc with the angle and the things we were able to do."

And you were on street tires.
"Yes, of course at that time we were using 16-inch, these are 17-inch. They're Pirellis and they worked well, but I admit I didn't push it too hard to the limit."

You had respect for the old mechanics.

"I didn't rev it so hard. I didn't push as hard as respect. I just just, that whole thing. I mean, the gentleman that owned the bike and his wife and the mechanic were there. They were so excited and, and everybody around was. The footage. I even Told Dakota when we put the camera on, I said I will do a push start, because I wrote you remember how fast. Me, Haslam, all we needed was two steps. Now that I'm 65 and older it took me three! "- he joked - "It all brings memories," the American continued, "with Lucchinelli, Uncini, Kenny Roberts, Barry Sheene, Freddie ... that era when they put motorcycles together, when you were changing engines, exhaust pipes to change the character of the bike, there was a lot of technology back then long before traction control. One of the things the three-cylinder did so well was the torque curve and the power of the range."

You rode both the four-cylinder Suzuki and Yamaha. What was different from the three-cylinder, better handling?
"Agility was another aspect, there was no weight. When you lift up the tank and see the frame there was nothing. As for the four-cylinder in those years, when we were at Paul Ricard, or in Austria ... the torque of the three-cylinder between gears changed gears faster, it was thinner but more powerful. The four-cylinder could rev higher, but when you changed gears it had a bigger gap in the transmission and it took longer to find the limit. When you were with Freddie and Kenny at Paul Ricard, Freddie would shift gears and it would just go. For me it was a bike built around Freddie, I had a hard time riding it even though I won on it and I finished second in the championship in '84. There's that photo of me with my leg off the seat, because the front whell was this wide and the back wheel was wider, and I always felt like I had to get more out of this bike."

As Martin does now. You were at Mugello last week, Marc was announced in the official Ducati team. What can we expect in the rest of the season and in the future?
"It's like we have a book and we have to rip out the pages and start to rewrite what's going to happen. For weeks it's been like flipping a pancake, but I think there are still now many people in the paddock who feel that Martin still should have been the one that got this position. We also know that an eight-time world champion is worth a lot, and he has shown that he can battle at the front. He knows and we know that the GP23 is close but the advantage is still with the GP24. When this happened I think Martin thought "okay, I'll make a decision without waiting and go to Aprilia." Aprilia is going to absorb him and as Massimo Rivola said if you can get them, make it happen. Jorge Martin is very special, and he is leading the championship. To bring things back into perspective, when you have an eight-time world champion, who in the past two years has been nowhere with the Honda, not to mention the operation ... so next year? Everyone knows it's a bomb. This market operation will remain in history, the next movement I would like to see would be Pramac takes Yamaha, and how great a story that would be. It would become a hero team, getting closer to the Yamaha perspective and helping them build the bike of the future. Between now and 2027 they will still have more than 50 races to be able to develop the Yamaha. How many years has Pramac been with Ducati? Imagine these teams working together. We need the Japanese to become competitive again , and everyone seems to have forgotten that the Japanese have always struggled against the Japanese in the championship. Stoner won in 2007 but it took another 12 years before Pecco came along. Now we are in the era of the European manufacturers, but Honda and Yamaha are pushing hard."

Can Joe Roberts, victorious at Mugello in Moto 2, aspire to MotoGP?
"He is doing very well this season. Looking at his overall career he has been racing in the championship for seven years, an opportunity that not many riders have. Of the rest, however, anything can happen; think of Quartararo, who in the year of his contract with Yamaha had won one race and didn't win any more. Two years later in MotoGP he was world champion. So Joe Roberts has the talent, he can beat his opponents at Mugello, being in the top positions all the time, and that's good. The new Pirellis divided the riders, some progressed faster and adapted better and that is what happened with Joe Roberts. The question is, can Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez push for the top 5? One of them should give way to Roberts. It is not an easy decision, it is clear. For Aprilia then it could be an added value thanks to the U.S. market."

 

Translated by Julian Thomas

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