LCR Honda team owner Lucio Cecchinello takes his Honda Fireblade out for a midnight ride around the streets of Monte Carlo, during the F1 GP week...
Former 125cc GP racer, Lucio Cecchinello set up Team LCR back in 1996 and, of course, LCR Honda are in MotoGP today, with their talented rider Stefan Bradl finishing the 2012 season in 8th place aboard his LCR Honda RC213V. And while team boss Lucio, now 43 years old, doesn’t actually race anymore, he’s still pretty handy on a motorcycle. Last year, he rode a Honda Fireblade at the Circuit de Monaco on the night before the F1 race there. And as it were, a charismatic Italian race team owner riding a Fireblade around the streets of Monte Carlo in the dead of the night, during the F1 GP week, made for an interesting story. Cecchinello wrote about the experience for the July 2012 issue of Inspire magazine. Here are some excerpts:
“It’s a very particular atmosphere that you experience in Monte Carlo during the F1 Grand Prix. A unique event, full of history, great challenges, glamour, VIPs and many celebrations. A small city that in a few weeks becomes a majestic Colosseum. A racetrack of 3.5km made up of curves, chicanes, tunnels, down-hills, hairpins and straights where an F1 car can reach 300km/h amongst the footpaths, in between the buildings and the zebra crossings! The week before the GP, tens of mega yachts land at the port, thousands of tourists crowd the hotels, the restaurants are fully booked and the traffic is heavier than usual. I still feel a strong emotion, admiring all the arrangements that must be done to create such a great scenario… leaving aside the shivers that overrun your body every time you hear the sound of an F1 engine that peals in between the buildings.”
“The Saturday night before the race is the longest of the year, the bars in the city centre remain open until dawn, hundreds of people line up in front of the discos for hours, the yachts are full of guests… I receive the Total dinner invitation, the Red Bull party invitation… but in the middle of the night, I feel the desire to go mad for a while, taking my motorcycle down to the racetrack. Without saying goodbye to my friends I take the exit of the wonderful Red Bull hospitality and I go back home to open the garage.”
“I put my helmet on, still wearing my black tie, and I switch on the engine and I warm it up at the Vista Palace. I stop for a couple of minutes, admiring the beautiful night view of the Principality and the delightful stretch of water in front of the Lavarotto beaches lit up by tens of boats. The emotion is strong. I start the engine again, first gear, then second and third, turning right, then left and then right again. I arrive at the Monaco entry, take the voide-rapide accelerating, I exit, reaching the starting grid using my imagination. For an instant, I become one of those riders, ready to experience my own GP aboard a bike, but I know it’s just a dream, impossible. But tonight I want to realize my dream, exceeding every limit and using my fantasy.”
“I reach the first corner, Santa Devota, up the hill… I am part of the race now: Beau Rivage, Massenet, Casino, Mirabaud Haute, scratching the footpeg on the Grand Hotel curve kerb, Mirabaoud Bas, right at the Portier at full gas… I cannot explain the sensation when I listen to the music of my four-cylinder 1000cc engine rumbling inside the tunnel, I arrive at the Tabac, left and right to the Polls, right again at the Rascasse… and slowly I come back to reality. My heart beats drop but my heart is full of joy because once again I can say that daydreaming can make everybody happy.”