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Roberto Locatelli: “Winning with Canet and Fantic felt like a leisure park”

LOCA’S IN(side)LAP – Get Roberto Locatelli’s inside view of the Fantic Racing Box as the former 125cc World Champion talks us through Aron Canet’s stunning Moto2 win at the Portuguese GP – the first ever victory for “Loca” as a Team Manager.


All the winning feels, a roller coaster of emotions

“I have experienced it nine times as a rider but winning for the first time as a Team Manager made me feel like a kid at the leisure park again. Standing on the podium and seeing my rider get emotional during the national anthem brought out all the feels, it was like entering Disney World, with a film starting in your head.” Roberto Locatelli’s eyes light up as he recalls the emotions of Aron Canet’s first ever Moto2 win that saw the Spaniard climb to the top of the standings in only his second Grand Prix with the Fantic Racing Team. 

A very special moment also for his Team Manager “Loca”, 125cc World Champion in 2000 and a nine-time GP winner himself. “It feels like touching something that makes you feel invincible. That won’t last for too long but, while everyone else was running, I slowed down walking from the pit wall to the parc fermé. I wanted to make this moment last as long as it possibly could. I remember the day I won my World Championship Title in Japan. I slowed down on the in-lap to make sure I could experience all the emotions even longer. I did the same in Portimao for Aron Canet. It was such a strong feeling, with Aron who had never won in Moto2 before, with Fantic entrusting me with this team manager role – and we made it happen at the second race of the season. Winning together with them made it feel as special as my own victories. There was also a bit of pressure after the missed opportunity at the first race but you don’t ever have to show it because you have to take the pressure off the rider. It is a bit like being a parent and Aron Canet is like my son on a sporting level.”


When the Fantic Racing box becomes home

“From the very first day, I saw a lot talent in Aron, he has this huge gift of speed but at the same time, an instinctive way of thinking not yet brought to perfection. We have worked a lot to create this mental condition for him that makes you feel part of a group, of our Fantic group, where you can feel at home. We managed to win on only our second race together because Fantic did not start from the Qatar GP, the work began at the Monday test in Valencia, on the day after the 2023 season finale,” Locatelli stressed. 

“I need 100 percent from everyone, from the rider but also from those who work behind the scenes, and Fantic enables us to express our potential to the fullest. This led to this almost calculated victory that had slipped out of our hands in Qatar because we had misjudged the tire wear. We have learned from that going into Portugal and Aron Canet did what he knows best – and won. Aron won together with Fantic and Fantic won together with him.”


What Aron Canet and Casey Stoner have in common

“From my point of view, what we have in our favour is the best rider in Moto2. If you put him on the bike, just by instinct, he makes me think of Casey Stoner,” says Locatelli recalling the two-time MotoGP World Champion with whom he shared the box in the 2005 season. “We were teammates, and when there was still a qualifying session on both Friday and Saturday, his time set on Friday would still be at the top of the standings on Saturday as well. It was just his overwhelming, explosive performance. I am not saying Aron is the same, however, he reminds me of this. Sometimes there are similarities between riders – just like it happens for all of us in our day-to-day life as well – and in the way he expresses his speed Aron reminds me of Casey. That is something I have realized since I started to work with him, since that already mentioned first testing day after the Valencia GP 2023.”

“Aron is very explosive and this explosiveness needs to be managed. I feel like he is showing that he can handle it. It’s his own traction control, not an electronic button but a mental one. If he continues to activate it at the right time, it is very likely we will see him battling for the top positions constantly, just like in Portimao.”


Looking for the perfect recipe, just like MasterChef

“Now it’s time to put a comma without finishing the sentence because it’s all part of a long journey that will go on until November. We are only at the very start of the season after two race weekends and you will always need to restart, try to do your job and make the most out of it. I like to use a simple example, it’s like MasterChef. We all have the same ingredients, the results come down to how we cook them. We have to do a good job with these ingredients that everyone has.”

“After that, may the best man win," Locatelli smiles. "When someone works well, they can also beat you, however, we want to work well to beat everyone else. Of course, you can't win them all but to always be in the fight, that is very well possible. We will always give our best and put one piece after another on a very long wall – but it’s not the Great Wall of China, we do have the tools to build it and we can do it. This is the spirit I work with here in Fantic, this is the spirit we take to Texas and also the one we want to carry on until Valencia.”


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