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10 minutes with... Frankie Chili

Now in his tenth year of World Superbike racing, Bologna's blue-eyed boy is still showing the young guns the way. Control yourselves ladies, here's Frankie


Now in his tenth year of World Superbike racing, Bologna's blue-eyed boy is still showing the young guns the way. Control yourselves ladies, here's Frankie.


You raced in SBK during the Foggy period, which many think was the golden era of World Superbikes. Do you agree?
When Foggy was there it was nice and Superbike had a good year at this time. But also when Troy Bayliss and Colin Edwards were racing, they were very, very good years. Honestly, after 2002 the series lost a bit of its power, but now this year we have come back hard. All the Japanese are now in the series and they can all try to beat the Ducati, which is now possible. A long time ago it was only a Ducati battle.

Do you think it is better now that the Ducati can be beaten?
Absolutely it is better. Even last year when I was on a Ducati I thought this. It is a good motivation for a spectator to come and watch. When Chris Vermeulen was on a Honda it was good. Only Ducati racing is not interesting. This year is good, Suzuki has started very strongly, but now we can try to beat them. Haga has, Laconi and also Vermeulen, it makes the series very attractive. There are so many riders that can be fighting for a win, not like some years ago when it was only two, possibly three riders fighting for a win.

You have a reputation as the ladies' man of WSB. Why do you think the housewives like you so much?
Honestly, I don't know. I just try to do my job. I like to stay with my family, with my wife, so I don't know why another girl would like me. But it's nice to be like this. If it is male or female and they support me, I don't care.

You talk about keeping the spectators happy. Is that why you throw your leathers to the crowd?
It is for the spectators. But I only do it when I feel it is the thing to do. I don't want to always be without my leathers on!

You are often seen running around the track after a race in just your pants, isn't that dangerous with so many female fans?
No, absolutely not dangerous. Don't worry.

Any tips for pulling the women?
Be a good man, as well as a good rider.

You raced with Niall Mackenzie in 500 GPs. What do you remember of him?
He was a very, very good rider. Very fast, but also unlucky. And to win you need to have luck as well as a good team and good tyres.

Niall claims he leant the bike over further than everyone else.
Absolutely, he did. He leaned the bike a lot.

What is your best memory of your career racing in grand prix?
Maybe it was 1989-1990. In the 500s I was fast, then in 1992 I was third in the 250 championship but for me the best moment of the GP was when I came back for one race in 1995 with the Cagiva 500 at Mugello. We made a good practice, unfortunately in the race I made one mistake, but it was fantastic to come back after such a long time. Everyone was very happy.

Who are your racing heroes?
It is very hard for me to say. My heroes are Jarno Saarinen, but step by step in my career it changes. Kenny Roberts, Freddie Spencer, Mario Lucchinelli, Barry Sheene, anyone in a different situation was like a dream to me.

How long have you been racing?
I started racing in 1982, so 23 years.

And how many more years' racing do you have left in you?
I take each year one by one. If I'm being a protagonist in the race and I'm able to fight for a podium then I feel young. If you saw the race at Brno in July I was in a bad situation, I started the race in 17th, first lap I was 22nd and yet I finished in fifth. If I had three laps more then maybe I would be second. I am still fighting.