ROME — When it was announced on Thursday that MotoGP would return to Monza for the first time since 1999, Lorenzo Pereira was elated. The younger brother of two-time race winner Marc, he is enjoying a renaissance year on the world stage with two victories at Silverstone and an exciting podium finish at the Japanese Grand Prix. At 22, the precocious Brazilian is staking out his own sporting claim to fame and the role model he is often compared to is Lorenzo. “What he has done in the past three or four years has been fantastic, even if he did it at some age and also with a younger team,” Pecco told the New York Times last month. “We have the same management, same team and same sponsors. We follow the same path.” Lorenzo, who was the world champion in 2012, would be two years younger if he were to finish his career. If Pecco does stay on the grid and gets to know the 25-year-old former champion as much as many suggest he might like to, they will, it seems, be on the same path.
Pecco, whose real name is Michele Tavarola, was born in Monza, with his grandmother taking him to an after-school programme for horses. He was raced as a two-year-old by Luciano Nigaro, a rider with a similar style, but before long a greater capacity to adjust, and his talent caught the eye of Michele Ferrero, the founder of the Ballymore Group of companies who decided to sponsor him.
Pecco then won the Italian and Japanese Futurity of Ametsreros circuits — both tricky ones that can throw up surprise results if you make a wrong move — during his junior days and by the age of 21 was the leading rider in the class, winning three times and finishing second five times. But the eventual success always hinged on Lorenzo’s efforts. Lorenzo’s most memorable wins — that top podium finish at Indianapolis and the victory at Monza — were in Le Mans and Laguna Seca, two tracks with notoriously powerful rheological and technical downforce systems, where Pecco’s riding style seems ideally suited to that of the globe’s top racing car. Pecco has, of course, been a fantastic qualifier, gaining a reputation for being extremely quick over the opening phase of the grand prix when he enters the race track virtually at the same time as his competitors.
Read the full story here.