Niccolò Canepa has been a true Yamaha man for several years now. Among the commitments with the Endurance, the role of coach for the riders involved in SBK and the next participation in the CIV SBK riding an R1 managed by Team Keope, his agenda is really full of Iwata-branded commitments. At Misano he was present during the day in which the Japanese manufacturer presented its Racing projects to the world, with a supply chain created to accompany the riders from the very beginning to the dream of SBK and MotoGP.
An idea that represents a great opportunity for those who, like Canepa himself did as a boy, dream of becoming a professional driver and look for the safest and most reliable way to do so. We talked about it with Niccolò, also letting us tell his impressions of the SBK tests in Barcelona which saw Toprak finish with the best time of the session.
“The bLU cRU project is beautiful and I was involved from the beginning in the role of ambassador – Canepa told us – What Yamaha does for young riders is wonderful, it makes them grow as kids and potentially accompanies them from the entry categories to SBK and why not to MotoGP as well. When I was a kid, there was no such project and it was even more difficult to get to the top. Now Yamaha gives you all the tools you need and you have to put the talent into it ”.
It also seems like a great way to protect families who want to help their children try their hand at the track.
“This supply chain helps you, because when you are starting out you always risk getting scammed in the paddock, instead if you tie yourself to a brand and a team that is part of this project, you know that they are trustworthy people, that the bikes work and that the mechanics are prepared. So put your child in the hands of the right people too. This is a great peace of mind for parents who want to help their children in this adventure “.
You are fresh from the SBK tests in Barcelona, how did it go?
“It will be a hard-fought world championship, now there are no easy championships. We have Toprak in the house, who is an incredible talent. Yamaha won everything last year, it was en plein, but we know 2022 will be complicated. Bautista will be strong, I myself have done many tests to improve the bike and Razgatlioglu’s best time in Barcelona is proof that we are ready to start this season ”.
The most hated question of the moment: will Toprak go to MotoGP?
“I’ll give you the most hated answer: I don’t know! I can say as an enthusiast that I would like to see him in MotoGP one day, although I would be sorry to see him leave SBK because he is giving us incredible races, he drives them in an incredible way. However, it would also be right to bring such a talent to MotoGP. In my opinion he doesn’t even know it at the moment “.
You have ridden both SBK and MotoGP, do you think Toprak would adapt easily with his style?
“He has an incredible talent, even if SBK rides differently from MotoGP. But precisely because he has this talent, I’m sure he will adapt quickly. He has the skills to do it, he manages to have an incredible confidence with the bike, he manages to understand it at all times when he is at the limit and this he can also do in MotoGP. I will have to adapt his style to him, but he will succeed ”.
You will have a busy season, tell us about your goals for 2022.
“In Endurance we want to win, we have a winning package but in the last two years we have had some bad luck. But we are ready, we have done a lot of tests and we are in good shape. I am not looking to start with the 24H of Le Mans. For MotoE, it was nice to get back to ride it and do it with Team WithU RNF, managed by GRT. I stay with my family and I found the Energica a lot lighter, it remains very fun to drive and even if the purists of motorsport don’t like electric motorcycles very much, I have a lot of fun with it. When you drive it gives you a taste and it will be a very hard-fought championship. There will be riders with very different experiences, it will be a bomb in my opinion ”.