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Roberto Locatelli: Eyes on the stars, feet on the ground

LOCA’S IN(side)LAP – A pitstop at the Space Center Houston, another amazing Pole Position by Aron Canet and a race that turned into a real rodeo challenge at the first corner. Get Roberto Locatelli’s inside view on Fantic Racing’s Grand Prix of The Americas. 

“Standing on the podium at the Portuguese GP, in my world, felt like walking on the moon.” This is how Roberto Locatelli recalled the emotions of his first ever victory as a team manager thanks to Aron Canet’s maiden Moto2 win in Portimao at only his second attempt with the Fantic Racing team. 

For the third round of the 2024 season, the Moto2 World Championship then moved on to Texas, the land of cowboys and rodeos, of adventures and discoveries – and a unique opportunity to get to know those who have experienced firsthand what it feels like to “walk” in space. It was none other than astronaut Luca Parmitano, the first Italian in history to carry out extra-vehicular activities with 6 hours and 7 minutes of spacewalk, to show some lucky Fantic Racing team members around the Space Center in Houston. 

“A place that became famous also thanks to that iconic phrase 'Houston, we have a problem'," Locatelli explained. "We were guided around by Luca Parmitano who actually knows what it feels like and what you experience going to space. It was a special and unique visit. Listening to his explanations, we were absolutely amazed and open-mouthed with astonishment. It was like a typical scene of children going to see something they had dreamed of for the first time. It was a wonderful experience, it was almost like walking on the moon, again.”

“Austin, feet on the ground”

Fantic Racing’s mission then continued on track, on the iconic Circuit of The Americas. “We had touched the sky and we came back down to earth to live the Grand Prix of Austin,” continued Locatelli. Once again, the weekend started off in the best possible way with Aron Canet grabbing his second Pole Position of the season.

"With the whole Fantic Racing squad, we did a perfect job leading up to the pole. We achieved a very good performance in qualifying and, of course, we expected much more from the race. We were ready to put in the work as we do in every Grand Prix because we know perfectly well that you always have to keep your feet on the ground – and we had prepared for a kind of race, however, we had not expected to drop so many positions after an unfortunate start. Starting from pole position in Texas, you are on the outside approaching the first corner, a very unique and sharp turn. Being on that outside line on a wider track, a lot of riders managed to place themselves on the inside making us go too wide. As a result, out of the first corner Aron was almost down to tenth place. From then on, it was an uphill battle.”

“We still take the positives. To finish the GP in ninth position showed us that Aron Canet is committed to bring home any result that is within our reach. That is exactly what we have been telling ourselves all winter long. To win is not the only aim but obviously we are here to win. What we did this time around is getting more important points for the championship as the standings are very tight in this first part of the season. Aron sits in fourth position now and is still very much in the fight for our goal – that is to be among the top guys throughout the 2024 season.”

COTA, a unique race track

For Xavi Cardelus, the Grand Prix of The Americas was all about getting to grips with a very special track. “The only time Xavi had raced in Austin, an injury had prevented him from doing many laps. So he found himself with a big task that takes its toll on those who have to get used to this unique track for the first time. On one hand, you experience the excitement of a beautiful layout with 20 corners per lap, on the other hand it is very demanding for the riders. All of that made it a challenging race but Xavi completed it gathering a lot of experience and a lot of information that will definitely be useful for the European part of the championship awaiting us now. Until Kazakhstan, which is new for everyone, we will be racing on our historic European tracks where we are confident to perform well also with Cardelus.”

The Spanish GP scheduled from April 26th to 28th marks the start of this long European tour. Being a home race, Jerez is a special event for Spaniard Aron Canet. “With Aron we go to Spain to bring home once again what we can aim for – and not only us but also the whole MotoGP and Moto2 paddock has seen that Aron Canet is one of the top riders of the category. We are committed to do a great job in Jerez. That is our task and our goal,” Locatelli stressed.


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