WSBK: Honda Banks on Jonathan Rea
Since 2006 Carlo Fiorani has been in charge of motorcycle racing activities for Honda Europe, the European branch of the Japanese manufacturer, and as a result involved in World Superbike and World Supersport as well as the two Superstock categories, 1000 and 600.
The 53 year-old Italian’s race-track-side successes as Honda man are plain for all to see: three World Supersport titles with Charpentier, Sofuoglu and Pitt, a European Superstock 600 crown with Gino Rea and 2007 World Superbike honours with James Toseland.
Before the Assen round, which saw a double victory for Hannspree Ten Kate Honda’s Jonathan Rea, World SBK sat down with Fiorani for his thoughts on who might become the new Toseland for Honda Superbike in the coming years.
Obviously the Irishman’s race winning results at Assen could not have come at a better time.
Carlo Fiorani says: "At the moment we are banking a lot on Jonathan Rea," declared Fiorani, a keen enthusiast of classic cars, sub-aqua and skiing. "He has the right attitude and manner of a champion. At the moment he’s still a bit ‘raw’, emotional and has to learn how to manage the situation, but as far as aggression and talent goes, Jonathan has nothing to envy from the other top riders".
Carlo Fiorani also sees a rosy future for the Hannspree Ten Kate Honda team’s Supersport rider, Michele Pirro.
"Michele is a different type of Italian, because he is modest, prepared to learn and isn’t prone to flights of fancy. He joins in the discussion and listens a lot to what is being said. In the last couple of months he’s made a big effort to work with a foreign team like Ten Kate. He’s managed to learn English and can now communicate better with the engineers."
"His Italian counterparts of the same age, in the past, didn’t have the same perseverance: in Honda we have actually had to give up on some very promising Italian riders because they didn’t know English and this does justice to Pirro. He’s proving to be quick but in the first three races has had a bit of bad luck with tyre problems and collisions. He could become the heir to Charpentier".
Fiorani left the MotoGP scene in 2005 after a period in which he was team manager of Rossi and Biaggi, amongst others, but he doesn’t miss it.
"Superbike is a very positive world," he added. "Over the last few years it’s become a lot more professional but the passion has remained the same. The relations between the teams and the people who work in the paddock are the same as they once were. There is healthy competition, as there should be, but there is also good sportsmanship. The human aspect is respected and this is appreciated by everyone".