Marco Melandri of Italy (Photo by Luca Bruno/Getty Images)2019 Getty Images
MotoGP hero, Francesco Chicchi, has been wiped off the planet after his horrific plane crash in Chile this week.
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Italy are now looking to breathe new life into the sport, starting with their own local hero, Giuliano “Pecco” Bagnaia.
What a remarkable rise the 23-year-old bagnaia has had over the past six years.
Beginning as a stock-car racing driver on the Monster Energy Supercross series, just two years later he was living the dream of chasing the European Touring Car title, a move which he did so emphatically by becoming Rookie of the Year.
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It wouldn’t be the last time he would go on to enjoy a great season – in 2014 he starred in GP2, finishing in fourth place – but by that point he was only just beginning to live the life he would have year after year after year.
Having notched up a number of impressive results, he made the big jump to the MotoGP level in 2015 and made an immediate impact.
Having, at that point, won one of his two season debuts he was promoted to the Moto2 championship at the end of the season, where he was one of the best in the world, eventually finishing second.
Then, and this has been something which has been unheard of in this sport, he won his second grand prix.
His feats continued this year, becoming the first rookie in history to win four races and earn Rookie of the Year honors, collecting 13 points more than third placed Alessandro Farnell.
And with such a tremendous career ahead of him, it is no surprise to see Pecco, at the age of 23, already thinking about retirement.
But Pecco hasn’t given up on racing and if he can get his weight down, we could see him return at the next race in Qatar at the end of February.
Whoever follows Marco Melandri out of the sport will struggle to reach his astonishing achievement of winning 13 races in one season – it’s pretty phenomenal and speaks to Pecco’s talent on and off the track.
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