Cycle News - Archive Issues - 1980's

Cycle News 1982 01 27

Cycle News is a weekly magazine that covers all aspects of motorcycling including Supercross, Motocross and MotoGP as well as new motorcycles

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Marco Lucchinelli World Champion . By Dale Brow n In 1981 the oddsmakers predicted that Americans Kenny Roberts and Randy Mamola were . the favorites to win the World 500cc Road Racing Championship. But when the season closed in Sweden, it was a 28-year-old Italian, Marco Lucchinelli, in the driver's seat winning for Suzuki. "L kv" fi ld h uc y won rve wor c ampionship rounds in 1981 and eventually finished several points ahead of Mamo la, the runner-up. during the off-season there were rumors that Lucchinelli would sign with the Marlboro-backed team that was being organized by many-time world champion Giacomo Agostini. The rumors were squashed when the announcement was made that Lucchinelli had signed with Honda of Japan to contest the 1982 World 500cc Road Racing Championship Series, teaming with American Freddie Spencer on the new NS500 two-stroke triple. .. Bor~ 1O.,Spezla , ~taly (near Gen,?a), L~cchinell! s adult hfe has ~n vaned. Pnor to hIS motorcycle rac10g career, M~rco served a stin~ as a shipboar~ walt~r ~nd worked 10 t?,e Euro,~~n mus~c industry as .a gopher 10 tounng rock concerts. In fact, Lucchinelli's music career is on the upswing. He recently recorded two songs on the EMI label, and will be a guest entertainer at the upcoming San Remo music festival in Italy, an event somewhat comaprable to our Grammy Awards. _ We met with Marco following a photo session in a West Los Angeles studio, where he was posing for shots to be used in the Honda press guide. Although he speaks some English, and appears to comprehend nearly everything that is going on, the interview was conducted in Italian. Lucchinelli's friend - and now teammate - racer Roberto Pietri, who speaks several languages, served as interpreter. Currently residing in Imola, Italy (three blocks from the track there) , Lucchinelli resides with his wife Paola and one-and -a-half-year-old Christiano. What does it mean to you to win the World Championship? Winning was everything to me. Since 1977 I've been talking about it but I couldn't win a world championship. Everyone told me I was talking too much and not doing so much, although I was sure I could do it. I showed everyone that I could do it. Since 1977 ,I told people I could do it, so it meant everything to me to be the 1981 world champion. I What made the difference in 1981? The only difference was a little bit of luck . Everything fell in together at the same time.. Maybe I could have won it last year, but I had tire problems and motorcycle problems. This year weworked in the winter before the 1981 season on tires and the frame and engine were a little better. Nothing broke, and I didn't fall down. I concentrated on .doing what I have always done , the best I can do . This year's world championship was one of the hardest ones to win. When we came to Sweden I had won five world championship rounds and I could have lost it to Mamola, who had only won two. It used to be that when you won more than four you pretty much had it in the bag, but this year after winning five Mamola still could have taken it away from me. Now that you have won the World Championship, how did you and Honda get together? Since June 1980 Honda was talking to me, even before I became World Champion. I went with Honda, first of all because I am fascinated with the name Honda it's the biggest company. I am the first Italian to ride with Honda. Giacomo Agostini has won many World Championships but never ridden with Honda. Also, now that I have won the World Championship that is like the end of my dream because I've already accomplished something being the World Champion. Now I am out to accomplish another world championship, or make a motorcycle; that is an other accomplishment I want to make. NOw the motorcycle that Honda has . got out, I am going to make it work. Nobody has had it before. Freddie will get it first and then whatever comes out of that they made it. I'll make the bike and we will see in another year. Have you ridden the NS500 yet? No , I haven't tried it yet. How do you think you will fare in the 1982 World Championships with this new motorcycle? Do you think you will be able to develop it fast enough to place significant impact on the World Championship? I haven't been on the bike yet, I have to go to Italy and we'll try it. After that I'll go to Brazil to test tires. Now is when the work starts. Our goal as far as preparation is concerned is to make that bike good enough to finish in the first race of the world championship series in Argentina. There in Argentina we can measure ourselves and then have another month to work on the bike. I will be able to make the bike good enough to finish with the leaders, although maybe not win with it right away. The world championship is a long one, so many races . . . TIle top people will have new motorcycles also. Yamaha will have a brand new motorcycle for Kenny (Roberts) - and Suzuki will also have a brand new motorcycle. Each of them will have to work very hard too , so . . . Who is going to be the :1~est to heatIor the World Champi ip nat year? For me , always Kenny . Kenny is the hardest one to beat. If there is a good bike for Barry Sheene, he is the only other rider who is a big worry for me . Is this your fint appearance at Daytona? ' No, I was in Daytona in 1977 on a 750 Yamaha, but it was horrible. Have you ever ridden the big fourstrokes, the Formula One ? Nothing like we have here now. In 1975 I used to ride for Laverda in the 24 hour races and that is the big fourstroke experience I have. This type of thing that you race here in America , the Formula One, the closest they get to it is the Formula One in England which is nothing like this. Are you looking forward to it? I am looking forward to it. Daytona is something that I want to do and i '11 bring a lot of satisfaction. But m really looking to the World Champion• ship and that is what I'm after.

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