Tony Cairoli – the legend has still got the pace!

Images: Ducati

The legend keeps growing with Antonio Cairoli. One week earlier a retired Cairoli was throwing hats to his adoring fans at the Airoh stand at the Maggiora GP the next he was making his Ducati racing debut in the mud and the dry and running up front!

Since retiring from full time race a couple of years ago, Cairoli has been doing the odd race here and there and been competitive every time. He did a few races in the USA running top five pace before becoming KTM team manager and doing an MX2 race at the Balen International race in Belgium last year. He competed against his rider that day in Liam Everts and won the event.

Now, after almost two years of no racing bar that MX2 race, Cairoli comes out on a brand new bike with all eyes on him and gets a win in the mud and then passes Lupino to lead the second, drier moto before tipping over and finishing a close second with Lupino riding well to hold his good friend at bay.

These aren’t even Cairoli’s best conditions and he still rode a GP level pace after basically two years away from high level racing – and he still had that never give in and push to win inside him! The guy is an all-time great and every time we get to see him racing, it should be appreciated, and he proved every time just how good he is to be this fast in now his late 30s. What a rider.

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Cairoli clearly loves racing but even his friend Lupino was impressed with his pace, saying: “What a show! Good starts and a hard fought race with my mate Antonio Cairoli who always gives us a great race.”

See some action in the Ducati video below:

Cairoli said: “Not the conditions I was expecting for my return to racing but it was still cool. Thanks to all the fans that came despite the rain.”

It was a great day for Ducati going 1-2 in a big event, and as Lupino mentioned and both riders showed in every condition – the Ducati’s starts are great as is the pace around the track. Ducati, like Triumph, are coming in hot and are the real deal, it is great for the sport to have two manufacturers with such a big brand entering the sport on such a competitive level.

And, with Antonio Cairoli, Ducati have a guy who can still perform and bring even more eyes to the project but Lupino deserves a lot of credit too, he is a great test rider and still, clearly a fast racer. IF they both race a GP later in the year, they have the pace to be competitive and, right now, Ducati couldn’t have asked for much more.

Learn more about the Ducati project and their plans with Paolo Ciabatti who Andy McKinstry caught up with in Maggiora.