MotoGP: Italian riding a Valentino Rossi-tuned bike continues to turn heads

When not dominating the riding and promoting scene, Pecco Bagnaia is busy with his charity work

MotoGP: Qatar GP, day four

Venue: Al Wakrah Circuit, Doha Saturday, 13 November: Qualifying, 16:00 BBC Red Button & online Sunday, 14 November: Moto2 and Moto3 races: 09:00 BBC Red Button & online; MotoGP race: 14:00 BBC Two, BBC HD, BBC Radio 5 live & online Full listings

Riding a prototype bike, currently tuned by three-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, is making motorcycling star Pecco Bagnaia’s life easy.

The 20-year-old Italian is on his way to becoming an elite racer and currently racing in the Moto2 class.

The son of a GP mechanic from the tiny town of Emilia-Romagna, Bagnaia learnt about racing from his father.

“I’ve always had a passion for riding, since I was three,” he said.

“After a crash at home I decided that I wanted to have my own bike, my own outfit, and do everything on my own.”

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He has never been racing professionally, yet never taken an official lesson.

In addition to set-up work with Rossi, the Rossi Honda Factory BSB team also lets him keep a check on his practice sessions.

Many first-timers experience panic or alarm in getting on the bike for the first time, but Bagnaia takes advantage of the Rossi experience and doesn’t shy away from taking every possible practice session to improve his skills.

“I rode on the list of the Rossi factory squad in MotoGP practice three times and did very well,” he added.

“Not only did I do good laps, but I also did some pieces in Moto2 class.”

There are plenty of training options for the Italian in his home country but the Dean’s Crown Club of San Gimignano-Ballar, where he started racing at 13, will give him room to experiment, while in the spring he will do his best to balance both his commitments to MotoGP and the growing family that followed.

“I’ve been living with my wife and two kids for the last two and a half years,” he said.

“It’s going to be hard to balance, but we are sure of what the family needs. I hope to push myself to my limits.”

The next stage in Bagnaia’s career and career plan is to move up to the MotoGP category, one he rates as one of the two best on the planet.

After that, he plans to go on an around-the-world trip, considering Australia as one of his favorite countries.

“I could say Australia because it is like the Italians, colourful and very passionate about sport,” he said.

“There is many history behind that land and I want to see what it is like, and not only because I want to race in Australia.”

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