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MotoGP, Marcellino Lucchi: "Better to have a life as a tester than two years as a rider"

VIDEO - The legendary Marcellino at the Aprilia All Stars: "I talked about it with both Pirro and Savadori, they are good at their job and must continue. The 500? I remember it well, a beast."

MotoGP, Marcellino Lucchi: "Better to have a life as a tester than two years as a rider"
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Wandering around the pits at Misano during the Aprilia All Stars, it was wonderful to admire so many motorcycles that have made the history of the Italian manufacturer. But history cannot be written without the men who made it possible, and in Aprilia's case it's very easy to think immediately of Marcellino Lucchi, a sort of Michele Pirro ante litteram, the test rider who went as fast as the official ones and who often gave more than one bellyache in races to riders theoretically on another planet.

Marcellino in Misano was strolling among these very bikes in the pits when we met him, in particular he was admiring Noale's last 500, the one that Jeremy McWilliams raced with before Aprilia decided to stop this project and devote itself to the RS Cube, another bike developed by Lucchi. As always very kind, it was a pleasure to chat with Marcellino, who retains that almost sullen look, a mirror of a nice but combative soul.

What can you tell me about this Aprilia 500?
"I would say I know them very well. I didn't do all the development with this 500, but I did two races on it because Doriano Romboni was injured, and I must say I remember both of them well. It was a really tough bike to ride, a bike that with the electronics that we had at the time was really hard to ride, it was always wheelieing, the horsepower it had was a lot for its weight. I would say that the electronics were not adequate, so the guys who rode it and were able to go fast on it were pretty tough."

Of course, the Cube was not like a lamb by comparison....
"The RS Cube was difficult in the beginning. Aprilia was right at the beginning with working on the electronics of a 4-stroke. There was a lot of power, but the delivery was nasty. It was much worse to ride than the 500. But slowly we started to smooth out certain aspects and second there was a lot of room still to work, but then the project was ended, because we know that at that time Aprilia was sold to Piaggio. But that experience we had with the Cube was then very useful for the V4 that became the basis for the RSV4, a winning bike. The experience the engineers had with that Cube was very useful for making the bikes that came later."

People often talk about Pirro as the first fast tester for a manufacturer, but this record belongs to you.
"I came before Pirro, I would say. In my category, I was a tester who even bothered the official riders a lot. I even won a Grand Prix, when I was racing I was always fighting with the best in the category. A tester must be a fast rider, but also very sensitive. Back then even the engineers relied much more on the feeling you could give them. Today with the technology that is there, the rider has to more confirm what the electronics say and what they think the bike should do. For me, though, a fast and sensitive tester remains the most important thing."

But have you ever regretted not trying to be a full-time rider?
"I realized that I liked being a test rider much more than being an official rider for a big team, also because Aprilia gave me the chance to do wild cards often, or to replace injured riders, and I always did the job. I also talked about it with Michele Pirro and Lorenzo Savadori, I told them that it's better to be a test rider in certain teams at a certain level for a lifetime, than to be a rider a year or two and then be left stranded. You are a good test rider? Then capitalize on that. Then even from the factory riders when you make a bike that goes fast, you have recognition. It's a great satisfaction, I'm so happy with what I've done and if you ask me today if I would have changed that career for the factory rider career maybe I'll say no."

You once promised me that you would write a book about all the strange things you brought to the track. Will you keep that promise?
"I would love to! Kind of like Pernat did, right?"


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