Last weekend, at the renowned Enzo & Dino Ferrari circuit od Imola, Italy, one of the most exciting classic Italian events of the year took place, the “200 Miglia di Imola Revival“. The event is actually a tribute to the Imola 200 race of the 70s/early 80s and this last one was just its 4th edition, but nonetheless it is quickly becoming one of the most popular rallies in Italy, thanks in most part to the former Champions that have shown up in the first three editions to make a few laps for both classic and modern racers.
This time around both rider and motorcycle line-ups were absolutely awesome, starting with 15-time World Champion Giacomo Agostini and 3-time champ Luca Cadalora, both of whom lapped with Eddie Lawson’s 1986 Yamaha YZR-500 (the red and white one with the number one plate which won the Championship that year), a 1990 YZR-250 as well as a modern Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP provided by the Yamaha Factory Racing team with a special ‘50th Anniversary‘ livery and the ‘1Ago + 3Luca’ race number.
On the Honda side, the guest of honour was the legendary ‘Fast’ Freddie Spencer, the mighty American rider who won both the 500 and 250 classes in 1985 when he was still a kid (until last sunday, when Spanish wonder boy Marc Marquez took the records away from him for a matter of days, he still was the youngest rider ever to win a race and take the pole position in GP Racing’s top class) and performed a bunch of laps with his old 1985 Honda RS250RW machine. Also making an appearance on the track last Sunday there were 7-time World Champion Phil Read, two-time Champ Carlos Lavado from Venezuela and former Supersport Champion Fabrizio Pirovano: if you like taking trips down memory lane, you will just love our massive photo gallery.
Giacomo Agostini is still the rider that has more victories than anyone else in GP racing and is still a very familiar face in the paddock and still closely follows not only the races, but also the riders.
“Ago” has been highly impressed by MotoGP rookie Marc Marquez during pre-season testing and tips the Spanish youngster to beat Freddie Spencer’s still standing record of the youngest rider to win a GP race in the premier class.
Marquez has twelve races in order to beat Spencer’s record - with the Silverstone round being the last opportunity. Agostini said about Marquez: “Marc is an incredible talent, but he still has to mature like a fruit on a tree and this year of experience will help him. I’ve been amazed of what he’s obtained so far and I’m sure that he can beat Spencer’s record. I don’t know in which race, but I can say that he’ll win one of the first twelve. I do think that it will be difficult for him to beat Spencer’s other record, as the youngest rider to ever win a premier class championship. I wouldn’t want to add pressure on Marc. He’s such a talented rider and has a long career in front of him and trying to beat that record wouldn’t be ideal.”
Agostini also talked about Valentino Rossi and his return to Yamaha and his relationship with reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo: “In history your greatest rival has always been your team mate, and for the moment their relationship seems almost romantic, but when the first race comes around they will have to battle against each other. Respect is important, especially if you’re fighting on the last lap. I think that they both respect each other, but a real friendship is almost impossible. Valentino is a rider with lot of experience and nows how to ride well during races. Lorenzo has learned a lot and has a lot of experience despite being young. Both are very hungry for victories.”
When you’re a 15 time World Champion like Giacomo Agostini, people ask your opinion on the current racers and the racing legend was recently interviewd by the Gazzetta dello Sport to find out his take on what will happen between Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, now that Yamaha threw a lifeline to the Italian and his return is already being felt, if it’s confirmed that Yamaha bought out Lorenzo’s personal sponsorship contract with Rock Star.
The reigning World Champion in his recent interviews has played down any talk of future tension, believing that his relationship with Rossi will be better than it was in the past, but most paddock observers believe that the intense rivalry between the two will kick in once again if Rossi should return to his winning ways and will be excaberated if Yamaha can’t manage the situation.
“When you have two roosters in the same hen house, one wants to be more of a rooster than the other one. I experienced that with Hailwood, Read and also with Bergamonti: the thing you desire most is to beat your team mate who has the same bike as yours, because that’s where you see who is stronger. Rossi will win again at Yamaha, but it won’t be easy, I think he can win one or two races a season, but not dominate like before as his rivals are younger and have improved,” commented Agostini.
Agostini was also asked who he believes will win the next title and his answer was Lorenzo - almost without hesitation - but admits that Lorenzo will have trouble defending his title if Dani Pedrosa should continue with the strong streak with which he ended the 2012 season.
The legendary Giacomo Agostini decided to celebrate his 70th birthday (June 16, 1942) with Yamaha during this weekend’s British GP. The GOAT (15 World Championship titles) and the Japanese team with the help of Ago’s wife Maria (who is Spanish) and their two children, Victoria and Giacomino organized the party.
Agostini raced for MV Agusta for most of his career before switching to Yamaha and gave them two titles, one in the 350cc category and their first ever in the 500cc class.
Saturday night in Yamaha’s hospitality ‘Ago’ was joined by a host of racing stars including current Yamaha Factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies, the recently retired Loris Capirossi and a number of living legends from Grand Prix racing history including Phil Read, John Cooper, Angel Nieto, Franco Uncini and Jim Redman. James Toseland turned up to sing Happy Birthday to the former champion and even Valentino Rossi crossed the Yamaha doors once again to wish Agostini a Happy Birthday and give him a special AGV helmet.
Going up for auction to support the Papageno Foundation that helps autistic children will be this special edition Yamaha YZF-R1 signed by motorcycle legend and 15 time World Champion Giacomo Agostini.
On display at the Hotel Hilton in Amsterdam until December 24th, this one off R1 has the spectacular red and white graphics of Yamaha’s 50th Anninversary editions and also replicates Agostini’s famous yellow #1 plate and the bike has a number of special parts.
The auction is organized by Netherlands BV-Automotive through the special www.R1-Agostini.nl website and bids can be placed from Sunday February 12th to Sunday February 26th, 2012 and the highest bidder will also receive an AGV Ago Replica helmet.
With Valentino Rossi on a gag restraining order by Yamaha, and probably happy about it today and Ducati’s Filippo Preziosi playing more or less the diplomat, but admitting it was a “bad test,” because expectations were sky high after all the PR barrage that surrounded the Italian’s move to Ducati.
The legendary Giacomo Agostini, was asked his expert opinion on Rossi’s test and the 15 times World Champion was as suprised as everyone.
“Well, I didn’t expect Rossi to be so far from the front, even if they’re only at the beginning, but a gap of 1.6s is not irrelevant. Unfortunately, the Valencia test is emblematic, there are no more tests until February and the championship starts in March. Vale will have to work hard to win.”
Alex Brigg’s Rossi’s long time mechanic, twitted that Rossi’s body (shoulder) was letting him down, but Agostini didn’t completely believe this, “I don’t think so. If he did a lot of laps, I could believe it, but today [Wednesday] he didn’t run so many laps, and don’t forget that several weeks ago he won a race, so I’m certain that he’s recovered from that injury.
If Giacomo Agostini was disappointed, we can imagine how worried Rossi’s fans are.
Over 10,000 fans showed up at the 200 Miglia of Imola revival event that took place at the beginning of October was a big hit. The event organized with the help of Dr. Claudio Costa, saw some of the great riders of past like King Kenny Roberts, Giacomo Agostini (who also rode Valentino Rossi’s M1) Steve Baker, Paul Smart hit the Imola track on their original or replica bikes.
If you’re a lover of vintage racing motorcycles then you should have been at San Remo (Italy) last weekend when the 2nd annual Ospedaletti circuit commemoration was held.
Legendary racers like Bandirotti, Masetti, Liberati, Duke, Ambrosini, Lorenzini, Ruffo, Ubbali, Provini, Redman, Taveri, Hailwood, Agostini, Bryans, Pasolini and Read all raced at the Ospedaletti iconic city circuit and this year’s event saw marques like MV Agusta, Aermacchi, Benelli, Bianchi, Bultaco, Ducati, Gilera, Guzzi, Kreidler, Yamaha, Honda, Laverda, Minarelli, Mondial, Morbidelli, Morini, Motobi, Norton, Nougier, Ossa, Parilla, Patton, Rumi motorcycles racing and on display.
Enjoy the pics which include Giacomo Agostini on his MV Agusta and check out the video of a Matchless G50 crashing during one of the heats.
Celebrating 80 years of the Assen TT includes an appearance by Giacomo Agostini with his 1975 bike, together with Jorge Lorenzo and a special livery with the number one designed for the occasion. Tomorrow, Agostini will lap the MotoGP Assen track with his original bike and while he just sat on the Yamaha M1 today, he has previously expressed a desire to try it. In fact it seems that he will complete a couple of laps with the M1, going from the OW23 with 120hp to the 240hp of the M1.
Present at the unveiling of the historic bike were Giacomo Agostini, Jorge Lorenzo fresh from qualifying in the pole position, Yamaha Racing president Shigeto Kitagawa and Ferry Brouwer from Yamaha Classic Racing. Agostini says: “Tomorrow I will have the chance to ride the “past” and the “present;” the first and the latest world champion bikes. My OW23 was like a bicycle with 120bhp, but used to get power at 6000rpm…whilst the M1 has 240bhp!” See our live pics in the gallery below.
For those of you who will be attending the Dutch GP this year will have a further treat besides the usual top notch racing, motorcyle legend Giacomo Agostini will be attending the event to pay homage to the 80th Assen TT and will ride his celebrated 1975 YZR500 OW23 racebike at the ‘Cathedral’ on June 26th.
This is the original machine that he rode to his last ever world title victory in 1975 and has special significance as it was also the machine he rode to victory on at the Assen TT in that year. This rare and historically important racebike is being flown over by Yamaha from Japan for this occasion, and is a rare opportunity to see and hear it being ridden by Agostini on track as he did 35 years ago.
Check out the interview with Agostini who speaks pretty good English and maybe Yamaha Racing will give him the opportunity to try the M1, a legend certainly deserves it.