Give Gas Crash! T-shirt
These six words are my all-time favourite racing quote. They are the words of Giampiero Sacchi, the urbane team owner and racing enthusiast who gave Valentino Rossi his first GP ride in 1996. I love them because they read a bit like a haiku, a Japanese poem.
Sacchi is summing up VR's riding during his rookie GP season in Italian-English: just give it heaps of throttle, without even thinking if the tyres are up to temperature. The words are taken from my Rossi biography, MotoGenius, available on Amazon as an e-book. This is the full excerpt; it's quite funny...
"It was necessary for me to ride crazy because my bike was so slow, and when you ride like this all the time, it’s possible you crash," says Rossi. "At Assen it was damp, I started 20th and after three laps I was second, then crash. Crazy!"
That accident brought matters to a head within Sacchi’s tightly budgeted little outfit. "You can imagine that all these crashes weren’t good for the team," Sacchi recalls. "Many came from Vale just not thinking; the tyres, cold. Give gas... crash! So we take him into the motorhome and I say: "Vale, how is it possible you crash so much?".
Rossi remembers their chat like it was yesterday. "I remember Sacchi’s words, he say to me: ‘If you continue like this, the maximum possible is that you become like Kevin Schwantz (who had recently been forced into retirement by aching injuries), but if you want to become like Max Biaggi (then riding the crest of a wave in the 250 class), it’s necessary you change.' So I say to myself: fack, I continue like this!"
NB: see diagram for how to measure yourself!