Italian version here.
Anyone visiting a FIM Superbike World Championship Round definitely knows what to expect, and one of the things they can be certain about is represented by the presence and smile of Lucio Pedercini.
The Team Pedercini Racing, founded by his father Donato and currently in Lucio’s hands, have been an institution in the WorldSBK paddock for many years now and even if the last few seasons were heavily affected by several issues, a boundless passion for racing pushed the Italian squad to go on. This year, even if they missed the first two rounds and joined the paddock in Assen with little testing behind, they were able to score points with Isaac Viñales, as he ranked 15th in Race 1 at Donington Park. It’s not an easy moment, due to the difficulties affecting the independent Kawasaki teams, but the aim is to grow constantly until the end of the season.
Palmen in Motorradsport was able to have a chat with Lucio Pedercini at Most, where the ex-rider from Volta Mantovana spoke about the current season and the past and present difficulties that his team is experiencing.
Lucio, this year you are facing a new season in Superbike with Isaac Viñales. How is it going?
It’s going well, considering that we had few chances to test. We thought we’d have more help from Kawasaki, but this year we’re seeing that they are struggling too and the other independent teams are suffering as well. In fact, we are close to Puccetti and Orelac teams. We are all somewhat limited by the bike…
For you, there’s also the fact that you started the season later than the rest of the field.
Yes, but in the end not much has changed. The bike is basically the same as in 2022 and therefore we haven’t see any big step, regardless of our investments. We do what we can with what we have, but it’s not easy to defend ourselves in this situation. In addition, differently from the other manufacturers, with Kawasaki we see a big gap between the factory bikes and those run by independent teams.
Have you already spoken to Kawasaki?
Not right now, also because they are uncertain too. I know they are trying to balance the performance of all manufacturers, but we need to talk to Kawasaki to understand what possibilities we have.
Are you considering to change manufacturer?
We are going through hard times, and in these conditions it’s also hard to find a rider and sponsors. Just look at Manuel Puccetti: he invested a lot and initially signed a former World Champion like Tom Sykes, but his team haven’t scored any relevant result yet in 2023 WorldSBK campaign. If nothing changes, it’s natural to think of other options.
Despite all the difficulties, this year you have taken a step forward compared to 2022.
Yes, we are working hard to do well. Unfortunately in 2022 we had problems with our rider at the beginning and from then on we had to change riders on several occasions, as those we hired often had to miss WorldSBK rounds due to their commitment in other championships. It is certainly difficult to work and grow if there is no continuity, in fact now that we are working with Isaac Viñales since the start of the season, we are seeing improvements race after race. He and the team understand each other better and better and this allows us to do quite well.
What goals do you have for the second half of the season?
Get as close as possible to the KRT riders and stay in front in the small group formed by us, the other independent Kawasaki teams and the two Hondas fielded by MIE team, whose level is more similar to ours.
And for the next few years everything is in progress.
It depends on many things, such as the budget and how competitive the bike is. Racing in these conditions is frustrating, because you hit the track knowing that you won’t be able to do more. Everybody knows that I am a great fan of this sport, but seeing that the sacrifices you make don’t bring results, and it’s not the team’s fault, makes you wonder whether this is worth the effort.
In recent years, the Pedercini Racing Team experienced some trouble, which started at the end of 2019. What gave you the motivation to move on without giving it up?
As I mentioned, the fact that I am a great and true fan of motorcycle racing. At the end of 2019 we were supposed to stop (after the separation from the mail sponsor Global Service Solutions, ed), but for me it was not right to end this project and therefore I reorganized the team for our 2020 campaign, also in good conditions considering that we were tight with time. The problem is that COVID-19 came: many sponsors had signed with us knowing that they would have seats in our hospitality, but the restrictions decided due to the pandemic prevented us from bringing guests into the paddock and this represented a real blow for us. Being able to come to the races and live the WorldSBK experience would have convinced the sponsors even more to believe in our project and put their sticker on our bike, but the restrictions made it impossible.
However, the team could hold on and continue.
Thanks to my passion for racing, but maybe it’s time to put it a little bit aside and look at the harsh reality. Unfortunately in this world passion counts less and less and this affects especially people like me, who come from times when passion was the most important thing and the paddock was filled with friendship and altruism. Anyway, I’m turning 51 soon and I’ve been in this world since I was 19, so it’s really hard for me to get rid of this passion. Sometimes I’m tired and wish I could stop, but even now that the summer break begins I can resist maximum one week, then I already want to get back to the circuit. Oh no, we don’t give up…
Palmen in Motorradsport is grateful to Lucio Pedercini for his kindness and wishes him and his team the best for the upcoming 2023 World Superbike rounds.