Only days before his incredible debut Moto3 win at Assen, MCN caught up with Aspar Mahindra rider and Valentino Rossi protégé Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia to find out how the 19 year old ended up where he is!
How did you get into racing and what was your first bike?
When I was six years old I started racing! When I was little I saw my uncle and father going to the track and I always wanted to try it. I started when I was five on a Beta minicross bike, and then when I was seven I started racing – and I haven’t stopped since then!
What’s the reason for your number, your logo, and your helmet design?
I race number 21 because I like Bayliss so much. My number was always 41 before, but when I arrived in the world championship there was already brad Binder, and in the first year I used number four then switched to 21.
On my helmet there is a line in the middle with my tattoo on it! I also like archery, so there is an arrow on it too.
What sacrifices have you made for racing?
Yes, but every rider has to make sacrifices if they want to do something good. My biggest is that I’ve moved to another home near to Cattolica last year – that was a big sacrifice but not my only one.
I’m happy to make them though, because I want to stay here – it is the bill you need to pay. I moved to be close to the VR46 Academy and it is worth it. It gives so much to us, training at Misano, at the race, with go-karts now too. It’s the best way to prepare for a good job.
What is your favourite thing about racing?
Fighting! I love when you’re at a circuit, someone goes a tiny bit faster, and all you want to do is beat him! It’s the best feeling – your body wants to do the best. Podiums and finishing ahead of the group is always a good feeling too!
What’s been your proudest moment?
In Le Mans last year, my first podium was a big moment. But this year in Qatar was as good, because the bike wasn’t as fast and it took 110% to stay in front – to finish third was amazing.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is to arrive in MotoGP and to win a world championship! But when you win one, you always want to win more, three, four. The challenge is to keep winning!
Could you change the rear wheel on their bike?
Yes, I can! The front is more difficult, but I can do it myself!
Tell me a funny story from the paddock
In the Aspar team it’s fun that we’re all a family and that we’re always joking with someone! In 2014 in Team Sky at Brno, it was Ferragosto, a big festival in Italy. We started a huge water fight in the whole paddock on the Friday night!
What did your teachers say when you said you’re going to race in GP?
They didn’t want it! I started to not go to class, and every time I went away they told me when I came back ‘you can’t do this, it’s no good for you, it’s better if you study and continue with school.’ I know that, but I wanted to go racing as well – that’s the sacrifices you make.
Which racer do you aspire to?
I think every rider has a different style, and I think everyone has their own story. I want to make my own story. Of course, if I can do something like Valentino, that would be good!
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