Poggiali story

Manuel's biography!

 

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Manuel was born on 14th February 1983 in San Marino and is an Aquarius. From one born on St. Valentine's day you would expect him to be a heart-breaker, instead Manuel has been with Michela, a 23 year old girl, for about seven years. She is also from Chisanuova, a town in the Republic of San Marino. For more than a year Manuel has been living with his maternal grandparents, before he used to live with his mum, Antonella and his sister, Cristina. His father, Claudio, passed away in 1999 from an illness, since then, at an age he shouldn't need to think about this, he became the head of the family. It was his own father who made Manuel develop a passion for motorbikes at a tender age.

Everything started on a night at the end of summer 1993 when Manuel's aunt and uncle decided to take him to Luna Park in Miramare, Rimini. After using up all of his game tokens, aunt, uncle and nephew went to the minimoto track were little Manuel was forced to watch the older ones having fun on the bikes which were more suited to him than to them, however without his mothers and fathers permission, nobody would take the responsibility of allowing him to take a ride. He was only 10 years old and they bought him a minimoto after he really wanted them to buy him one. And so it was… From Chiesanuova he traveled to the minitracks of Romagna: Miramare, Cattolica and San Marino. He also used to play football but he preferred much more to be on a bike than kicking a ball. He had a lot of fun on his little bike, it was really special, not like when his dad used to take him out on his Suzuki and he fell asleep on the tank!

In 1994 he had his first race, at the end of the season he was 5th in the Italian Championship of his category and he was offered his first official bike. He was 11 years old and he won his first race in Civitanova Marche on his Pasini. He confirmed his 2nd position in the championship with full marks. In these days he was doing well at school and he would have continued to get on well until motorbikes would no longer be such a game for him, but something more. He was a small factory rider and to be “factory” meant finding the bike ready for you when you arrived at the tracks and you only had to pay board and lodging.

In 1996, he ran into a not-so-happy season in which he finished 11th maybe because of new rules or because of his weight which was clearly heavier than his rivals.

1997 was the last year of minimotos and Manuel won the championship on the threshold of 14 years of age. Just as he turned 14, he raced a 3 year old Honda 125 at this first GP at Misano, finishing 12th.

In 1998 Manuel's real professional career started and with the Massimo Matteoni team, he won the Honda Trophy and the Italian 125 Championship, as well as two tests in the European Championship out of the four taken place. The first fans to watch his first GP with angst were his family and friends, but it just so happened that on 1st July the “Manuel Poggiali Fan Club” was founded in Chiesanuova and his uncle, Giuliano, was the president. That year, he also debuted in the 125cc Motogp at Imola but it all went wrong: he crashed both Friday and Saturday because of his inexperience in the wet and he went home without having raced because he broke his collarbone.

For his first season in the world championship in 1999 he chose Aprilia, but the passing from Honda to Aprilia was very difficult and not surprisingly he finished 17th. That year he missed the Czech GP because his appendix was operated on and in October of the same year he has kidney stones removed. In 1999 it was very difficult for him too, due to the death of his father.

In 2000, he went to Derbi with whom he achieved his first podium after finishing 3rd in Assen, but he was still 16th in the championship. That podium was only a sample of what he would experience the year later, with Gilera, when he got on the podium eleven times, two times on the highest step and above all he won the world title.

2002, still in 125s, it should have been a year of “confirmation”, in reality it was a very unfortunate year: the two DNFs and a bike clearly inferior to the Aprilia of Vincent, he saw his second world title disappear from him in the last race.

It was time to change: after a meditated decision, finally the passing to 250s with the Aprilia team which had also partnered Biaggi, Capirossi, Rossi and more recently Melandri. The 2003 season started with 2 victories, the first being very surprising (since he started 23rd on the grid).The maintenance of the 1st position in the championship standings for the whole season allowed Manuel to grab his second world title of his career in his debut year of the new class, despite the danger from the experts of the class Rolfo, De Puniet and Elias.

His little experience in the middle class has meant that for the 2004 season, Manuel has chosen to stay in the 250 championship and will start it as world champion, however he has decided to keep his lucky number 54 because of the unlucky 2002 season when he was riding with number 1 on his bike. This year however it didn't go well.There might have been personal problems or misunderstandings with the team, but it was a disasterous season:six crashes during races, two races not competed and placements between seventh and seventeenth positions. There was some sign of a comeback with two third places at Mugello and Philip Island and the win at Rio which proved only a one off in a terrible season.

by SILVIA LAVEZZO

traduction by KIRI


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