From riding to team management
What follows is an interview with Italian rider Pierfrancesco Chili, who retired at the end of the World Superbike Championship.
How are you feeling a month after your retirement? A new man?
Pierfrancesco Chili: "Not all that much
has changed, actually. I'm still training as if there were a race coming up. Who knows what might happen, after all? After Bayliss' amazing race in MotoGP I might even think again myself. Seriously, though, the decision has been made now and I'm sticking with it."
There was a bit of a party atmosphere at your last few races. What was it like to have so many people showing so much affection?
PC: "I really must thank everybody involved. I have to say I felt quite emotional when the Brands Hatch race director asked me do a lap of honour to say goodbye to racing fans in Britain."
And you got a big hug off Carl Fogarty at Magny-Cours!
PC: "Of course! Any bad feelings between us were cleared up a long time ago. Now we've got a good relationship based on mutual respect, so much so that I've told Carl I'd be happy to team up with him one day."
When did you actually decide to retire as a rider?
PC: "This year, when I saw I couldn't keep up with the best of them any longer. If you can't win you don't have the stimulus to carry on. That's when I decided it was better for me to retire. In the last five laps at Magny-Cours I still managed a good turn of speed though. That last championship point was a source of great satisfaction to me."
So what are you going to do now?
PC: "I'm working hard in my beach concession in Misano. I've got big plans for it."
What about becoming a team manager?
PC: "I'd love to. If I had the right people on board I'm sure I could do a good job. I'm not saying I know everything there is to know, but I wouldn't be a beginner either with all my experience. Nothing is settled at the moment. I'm waiting for a few issues to be cleared up before I make any final decision."
On the subject of experience, what do you think our youngsters, Lanzi, Fabrizio and Polita can achieve in SBK?
PC: "Lorenzo is going to be under a lot of pressure, and life won't be easy for him, but he's got what it takes to pull through. Michel still needs a lot more experience but he's got the potential to be a top rider in years to come. Alessandro has done really well in Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, and even though he's only doing his apprenticeship in SBK, I'm sure he'll show what he's made of even in his first season."
SBK Press Office