Just before he took his stunning debut victory in the Moto2 class, MCN caught up with Valentino Rossi protégé and Forward Racing rider Lorenzo Baldassarri to find out just who the young Italian is and what makes him tick. Warning – the answer to question five might have changed since Sunday’s San Marino Grand Prix!
How did you get into racing and what was your first bike?
My first time I started was at three years old on a minicross bike – I wasn’t able to ride a bicycle without stablilsers, but I started on a KTM 50cc bike with my father. I first raced a pocket bike when I was seven.
What’s the reason for your number, your logo, and your helmet design?
For my helmet, it’s because last year I did Mugello race with a new Italian livery, and it was a nice design from Aldo Drudi. We decided to keep it, because I liked it and because the race went well!
When I was racing pocket bikes, I used the number 34 because I liked Kevin Schwantz, but I had to change it because it wasn’t available. They gave me seven and I kept it, because three plus four is seven and it became a lucky number for many reasons.
What sacrifices have you made for racing?
It was very hard to get here. My family made many sacrifices for me too, because I started the world championship after winning the Rookies Cup. I was on an uncompetitive bike, and it was really hard to get to where I am.
What is your favourite thing about racing?
The adrenalin, the speed, and being in a close race. It’s a nice feeling, and I like competition even when it’s not on a motorbike! The VR46 Ranch especially is very good for that, especially with Vale. At the moment I’m the fastest there though!
What’s been your proudest moment?
I think this year in Mugello when I came back to the podium after a difficult start to the season. With the Italian crowd, the home race is never easy, but it was a good race for me!
What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is trying to beat Zarco this year, since I lost the battle in Mugello with him by a few tenths!
Could you change the rear wheel on their bike?
Ehhhhh…. I’ve never tried with a Moto2 bike, but when I try at the Ranch with the dirt track I was sweating more than I do during a race!
Tell me a funny story from the paddock
When I crashed in Brno a few years ago, while I was doing some track familiarization with my scooter! It was the first time I had brought one of my friends to the track, and him, my brother and I were all on the scooter. We crashed at 70kph in shorts… we were destroyed! I managed to crash on Thursday before we even started!
Which race bike of the past would they like to ride?
I would love to ride some 500cc two-strokes, maybe Vale’s 2001 bike. Just to see what it would be like!
What did your teachers say when you said you’re going to race in GP?
One time when I went away to go racing, when I came back to school eventually my teachers and classmates cheered because they thought I had disappeared!
Which racer do you aspire to?
In motorbikes, my idol is Vale, because I like his lifestyle as well as his racing. He is the example I’d like to follow.
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