Pecco: The Moto3™ Boy Wonder
Posted on: 30 November, 2016
4th in the World Championship.
And all of 19 years old.
Francesco Bagnaia aka “Pecco” took the Moto3™ World Championship by storm in 2016 and rode the circuits like a total boss. A beast on the brakes, he flaunts his late braking at every corner.
Pecco aces it on the MGP3O
So, why have his victories rocketed in the Mahindra Aspar Team? “Every time I tell my team something, they listen to me,” Pecco acknowledges. His tie-up with Mahindra began in 2015. “It was important for me to continue with them for a second year to understand the bike and help develop it. My riding style is adapted to the MGP3O.”
Pecco debriefs his Crew Chief, Mauri Soli
But there’s more to Pecco’s wild success. Apart from his never-say-die attitude, this boy wonder trains hard at the famed VR46 Riders Academy. When not racing, you will find him being tutored relentlessly by Valentino Rossi aka ‘The Doctor’ and other coaches at the academy.
Spread across 100 acres of green rolling hills outside the town of Tavullia in Italy, the academy or ‘The Ranch’ is a dirt-track of 1.8 miles. It was bought by Rossi’s father, whose original idea was to use it for car drifting. How ‘bout that!
The academy nurtures young Italian talent, helping them to improve their skills and control of the bike.
Pecco kicks up the dust at The Ranch Pecco with ‘The Doctor’
It was in 2013, when Pecco debuted in the World Championship; he got a call from Alessio Salucci aka Uccio (Rossi’s right-hand man). “I was at the Australian GP and I remember feeling really happy when I got the call.” After a slew of disastrous races, it made his season debut end on a brighter note. The Italian teenager has come a long way since then, growing leaps and bounds. His training has made him a killer rider and here’s how:
1. Master of focus
“Vale has helped me to concentrate more and keep calm in the race.” Pecco’s extreme aggression while riding cost him dear in his season debut. He ended up clashing with other riders and crashing out of the race. “Now I understand that it’s better not to be so aggressive at the start of the race.” It helps to stay cool and maintain a grip on the tyres first. “You can go for the attack in the last laps of the race.” Wise words by our boy wonder!
Leaning in – Pecco trains at Misano
Vale has helped me to concentrate more and keep calm in the race.
2. Riding with the best-of-the-best
The riders who train with Pecco at the academy are the who’s who of the MotoGP™ World Championship Series. “It’s important to train with other riders because you learn more. Every day is like a competition.” Although racing is an individual sport, the academy gives riders the feeling of being part of a team. “It increases competitiveness and makes you a better rider,” says Pecco.
But has he raced The Doctor himself?
I race with Vale and he wins every time. I’ve only won at MiniGP. Either way, I like to ride with him a lot.
Hanging out with the other riders at the academy
3. The perfect student
Pecco is a dedicated and hard-working pupil. Apart from Rossi, he is tutored by Idalio Gavira and Uccio. “Every time they ask me to do something, I never say no. I always listen to them.” His coach, Gavira is firm with him – constantly pushing him to do better. “He observes me on the track during the practice sessions and comes to the box to tell me if I made a good racing line or not.”
Pecco with his coach, Gavira
Every time they ask me to do something, I never say no. I always listen to them.
4. Training even on race day
On D-day, Pecco puts all his training to good use on the track. But he doesn’t stop at that. After his race is done, he heads over to the Yamaha box at the European races to watch The Doctor in action. This is when all of Vale’s lessons come to life. “I meet Vale and tell him about my race and how it feels on the bike. Watching him race also helps me understand his teaching better.”
The races and training keep him away from home for lenghts of time; you’d wonder if he misses his family too much.
“There are times I miss them. I keep in touch with them with a message or a call and see them over the weekends. But I love working, so it’s not too hard to stay away from home.” Spoken like a true passioneer!
But I love working, so it’s not too hard to stay away from home.
With racing giants for mentors and his round-the clock training, it’s a no-brainer Pecco had a great season. The Italian moves up to Moto2™ next season with the new Sky Racing VR46 Team.
Ci mancherai, Pecco and grazie for a fantastic season 2016!
Photo courtesy: VR46 Riders Academy