It's been 30 years since Franco Uncini won his 500cc motocycle grand prix racing world championship, but he's found a way to stay on in racing and still enjoys every bit of it
Today, Suzuki are no longer present in MotoGP, which is such a pity – especially so when you consider the fact that three decades ago, it was a Suzuki rider who won the 500cc roadracing world championship. Born in 1955 in the village of Recanati, in Italy, started racing motorcycles in 1974. The talented Italian moved up the ranks swiftly and reached the pinnacle of the sport when he won the 500cc title in 1982.
For their September/October 2012 issue, Classic Racer magazine have done a fabulous interview with Uncini, who’s a MotoGP riders safety representative these days, a position he’s held for the last two decades. Here are some excerpts from what Uncini had to say to Classic Racer:
On getting started with bikes
The first bike I had was a Peripoli Giulietta [and] after that I moved to a Honda twin-cylinder four-stroke 125cc. When I turned 18 and had four years of experience, I requested of my father that I buy a Laverda 750SFC. I liked very much this bike, the orange colour and the noise was fantastic. The funny thing is, the 750SFC was no longer in production – they were changing the model and told me they didn’t have any left. I was insistent I would have this bike. Finally I succeeded and they created this bike from spare parts at Laverda.
On getting started with motorcycle racing
After about six months [after he got his Laverda 750], I went to Misano, which was only about 120km from my village, just to do some laps. After about three or four times testing, I invited my father, who was not in favour of this. When he discovered that I was quite quick, we convinced him to go racing. My first race was a production race called the Moto di Serie Championship, in 1974, and I finished third with my Laverda.