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Introducing Luca Scassa

March 09, 2007

Chris Martin

While he may be an unfamiliar name to many AMA Superbike fans, FBF MV Agusta’s Luca Scassa is the rising star the Italian motorcycle manufacturer chose to tie its fortunes to.

The charismatic 23-year-old from Arezzo, Italy is already a proven commodity on the global scene, having finished in the top seven three consecutives seasons in FIM Superstock 1000 Cup, including last year’s fourth-place showing in which he rang up three podiums, two poles, and a win.

The switch from Europe to the United States is an uncommon career move for an Italian racer, especially one still climbing the ranks (unlike predecessors Alessandro Gramigni and Giovanni Bussei). However, MV Agusta has World Superbike aspirations for both its exotic F4 1000 racer and Scassa, and decided it best that the two grow together.

Scassa admits he was surprised when he first became aware of the opportunity, but once the reality set in, he gladly said yes. “I didn’t believe it. I said, ‘No. It’s not possible. Not going to happen.’

“(MV Agusta) saw something in me because of last year and the years before. They like the way I work. Eraldo (Ferracci) came to Italy in May to see me and how we work, and how I can ride, especially. He said to my parents that he probably would ask me to come here. The factory asked me if I was ready to come here, and I said yes. Because another year in Superstock… I almost won it this year, I think I can come over. It’s stupid to stay just to win (the championship). If you don’t win, you’re a loser. I think I’m here, my image is pretty good, because what I did at my age, and this is a really good opportunity. I had to catch it.”

While Scassa brings with him a record of experience and success on the F4 platform, he understands the immense task before him. In addition to having to develop a machine that, while competitive in Superstock-guise, has virtually no history in Superbike competition, the Italian will be seeing each circuit (other than this weekend in Daytona) for the first time when he arrives to compete at it.

“It’s nice here. It’s totally different. We start from Daytona -- that I think is the most different track. The banking is hard to get used to. But now I’m pretty used to it. We have to work on the bike, because it’s totally new. It’s completely new. The factory is working hard, but we need to improve. But we’re not worried to do it so quickly…

“The base is good, but we have to improve everything. We have no traction control now, no anti-wheelieing. The power is okay, but -- for Superstock would be too much. For Superbike, it is a little bit not enough. But I’m sure we will be better.”

Scassa admits being a bit overwhelmed when he first arrived at Daytona International Speedway for his first AMA Superbike race week, but he’s steadily worked his way up the timesheets, jumping up from 30th on Wednesday morning to a fourth-row starting slot for Saturday’s race.

He laughed, commenting, “Last time I rode was at a small track near my home in Italy in mid-February with a friend of mine on Kawasakis from Italian Superstock. I said, ‘Okay. Next time, a Superbike in Daytona.’ That was really… ooh. I was worried about that. But I’ll start 16th. (Akira) Yanagawa is with me in line, so that’s pretty cool.

“On Wednesday we had some problems. The bike’s completely new. It just did one hour of testing on a small track in Italy just to see if it can go forward. It could. We came here, and yesterday I had three times the same problem and (teammate) Matt (Lynn) once. That’s why he crashed. But the engineers are working well and they fixed it immediately. They understand why, and they did a good job today. No problem, as you can see. We are growing up. The first time I came here -- ‘44, ‘43. Yesterday -- ‘43, ’42. Today -- ‘41, ‘40.

“The bike is good in the infield. I was behind (Ben) Spies today and (Eric) Bostrom. Bostrom after corner two, he passed me, and then the right-left, until the straight, we were together. So it’s pretty good. We are finding the good setup.”

Asked if he had set any concrete goals for himself this year in America, Luca said, “No. My goal is that the bike will be ready for World Superbike. I don’t need to win the championship. I just need to learn Superbike, because it’s another world, and you can do a lot of things. Unfortunately, we are not too much ready for Superbike, because we have not too much to try. Because if we could try also the angle, the swingarm longer, it could be difficult.”

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Luca was well aware of the competition that awaited him in the AMA Superbike championship. “In Italy we have satellite TV that talks about only racing. So I saw all the races last year. I knew all the guys. The brothers Hayden, (Jake) Zemke, everybody. In Italy they are famous. People who like bikes, and Superbikes especially, they know everybody.”

However, this early in his AMA career, he’s had little chance to talk shop with any of his new rivals. “Just with Spies and with Matt, and a little bit with Roger Lee. I will have time.”

Especially since Luca will be living stateside rather than commuting between races. “I will live near the team, near the crew. I will have a house. I will be alone, now, in a few weeks. My parents are here now, but they will leave. They have jobs. My dad is a postman and my mom has an insurance (agency). So I will be alone, and probably in some weeks my girlfriend will be here, which will be pretty cool. To be in USA at 23 with a girlfriend will be cool.”

485 Posts
Great interview!
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