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‘Great to bring Marco’s colours back to MotoGP’ says Paolo Simoncelli

Marco’s Simoncelli’s father Paolo will bring his son’s distinctive colour scheme back to the MotoGP paddock in 2017 with a Moto3 team that has already garnered success – notably at Jerez last weekend when teenager Tony Arbolino won by 58 one-hundredths of a second…

The Sic58 Racing Team is no more an adventure, is a reality. Last Sunday Arbolino won his first race in the Junior World Championship on the same Spanish circuit where Marco Simoncelli in 2004 claimed his first pole position and GP victory. A sign? “A confirmation,” says Paolo Simoncelli. “Tony won the photo finish with only 58 hundredths of a second of advantage. I couldn’t believe it.”

With this in mind, Simoncelli goes back to the start, when this project took shape. “It all started four years ago. At the beginning it was really hard for me to return in the paddock, but I had to do it. I did it to survive, to keep on living. I did it for the same passion and enthusiasm that we were sharing with Marco,” he says.


“I decided to start with the kids. The idea was and is to use my experience to support some talented kids to shine. Working with these kids has helped me a lot. I also needed to keep my mind busy. The first riders were Mattia Casadei, who is still racing with the colours of the SIC58 Racing Team in the Moto3 class in the CIV, the Italian Championship, and in the Red Bull Rookies Cup. The second was Kevin Sabbatucci. His story is related to Marco and he became part of the family. He raced with us for three seasons. Casadei is still with us and he is fighting for the Italian Moto3 title this season. The final round is this weekend at Mugello.”

The project started with two riders in the Italian Championship CIV in 2013, nowadays Paolo Simoncelli lines up six riders in three different championships (Italian Championship, Junior World Championship and Red Bull Rookies Cup).

Next year the big jump. The Sic58 Racing Team will make the debut with a two-rider line up in the Moto3 World Championship. “Landing in the GPs after the first steps in Italy and Spain was the target. It’s great to bring back the colours of Marco in the MotoGP paddock. Marco is in the heart of the people. It’s an incredible phenomenon as we can see from the number of visits to the Marco Simoncelli Museum in Coriano, Italy. They have doubled compared to last year. I’m also stopped thousand times when I walk in the paddock. I like to see that the fans, the people in general, loved Marco.”

For his debut in the world championship, Paolo will bring in new challenger Arbolino. The 16-year-old talent who is racing with him since the second year of the team and became PreMoto3 Italian championship in 2014. “Tony won with us the PreMoto3 class in the Italian Championship and since 2015 he is racing in Spain in the CEV that has become the World Junior Championship.

“The incident last year at Le Mans was really scary and represented a stop in his career, otherwise he could have been already landed in the world championship this year. Now he is fully recovered, but we need to consider that they are still kids, even though they do a job like adults.”

“From being a young kid, he has become a pro. He will be the next world champion,” predicts Simoncelli.
“I don’t say next year, but in the future. I call him “an artist of the bike”. The secret of this kid is that he is enjoying riding. He is having fun. He faces the bike as a friend. I like Tony for his temperament and determination. And the funny story is that he was the one to choose me in 2013, not vice versa.

“I was testing in Vallelunga with my two riders. It was the first test session after the winter and the weather was terrible. It was cold and rainy, so I told them to take it easy and be focused. Already at the end of the first straight they were fighting like if they were duelling for the victory on the last corner. As a result, Casadei crashed. Back in the garage, I closed the doors and explained them what the test are and I told them that the test was over. We were all heading back home although it was a two-day testing session. Tony Arbolino, who at that time was only 12 years-old, assisted at this scene and told his father: ‘Dad, do you know that Paolo sent everybody back home? Next year I would like to race with this team.” And it went like this. “He chose me and we have a mutual trust”.

The second rider of the Sic58 Racing Team will be Tatsuki Suzuki, a promising 19-year-old Japanese rider who is already racing in the GPs. “Tatsuki is at his second year of experience in Moto3, in addition he wanted to change from Mahindra to Honda, so it was perfect. I like the idea to race with a Japanese rider on a Japanese machine. We will race in fact with Honda.”

The Simoncelli family has a special relation with Honda since Marco was racing with the Japanese Manufacturer in MotoGP.

How much is difficult to go back to the MotoGP paddock? “At the beginning it was so hard. For two years I didn’t even watched the MotoGP races. Now after three years racing in Italy and two in Spain, I’m ready,” states Simoncelli. “But I will continue with a junior team in the CIV and the CEV, because I want to continue support and invest in these young talents that I think are skilful.”

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