WHO IS? Lorenzo Gondola
At the start of this year’s Trial125 World Championship Italy’s Lorenzo Gandola was not even on the radar of Trial Magazine – to the point that at round one of the five-round series in Spain we never even got any action pictures! ‘Who is this young rider?’ was my immediate thought when I spotted him on the top step of the podium. He had easily won the last two rounds of the 2016 championship in Italy at Chiampo, but maybe this had been due to a little bit of home advantage? Over the course of the 2017 championship we became more and more aware of this shy young rider. We apologised at round two for not taking any pictures, and I promised him: “If you win the Trial125 World Championship I want an interview”. He smiled and in a quiet unassuming manner replied: “I will try”. For such a young man he is very calm and thoughtful with his answers. Speaking with Mario Candellone, the experienced motorcycle trials journalist who runs the Italian website: www.phototrial.it, he said that Lorenzo was most certainly a good prospect for the future of Italian riders in the Trial World Championship
I must firstly once again apologise for not taking any pictures of you in Spain!
No problem, you were not the only one! It just makes the podium pictures more valuable – he says, grinning! Maybe I need to be more exciting with my riding so that you do notice me. At the first round I was not sure how strong the other riders would be but I remained focussed on my own riding and was more than happy to take the twenty points.
Tell us about your introduction to the world of trials
As with most young riders it came from my father and a friend. I am sure you can imagine that coming from Italy we have a strong interest in anything with wheels. Valentino Rossi has done so much for the two-wheeled sport that we are all very passionate about motorcycles. My father had seen motorcycle trials and knew it would be a good introduction for me.
Did you ride in cycle trials first or was it straight onto a motorcycle?
Electric motorcycles are very much a part of the future of trials and I started my career on one. As I progressed with it I also started to ride a cycle trials bike. It was quite interesting to see how much the electric motorcycles have progressed at the TrialE Cup in France; I was very impressed.
Is there a youth system in Italy run by the federation?
Yes, we have Team Italia which is supported by the Italian Federation. It gives youth riders a way to enter into the Trial World Championship and the European Championship as well.
How did your education go?
I know just how important education is for later on in life, and I actually enjoy school which makes everything just a little bit easier. At school we do not practice or train for any particular sport but if you start to excel at any particular discipline the school does show an interest and encourage you. Vocational education is in place that prepares you to work in a chosen trade and to learn its skills, which is what I enjoy the most.
When did you start to compete in the European Championship?
I started riding In the European Championship last year and realised just how competitive I could be. I had previously won several junior titles and the 125cc Championship. The atmosphere was very good with the other riders and I explained to my father that it would be good to do the final two rounds of the World Championship on the 125cc.
Were you surprised to win at Chiampo?
I approached the two-day event the same as I have for every event but with it being my ‘home’ round I did train that little bit harder on the run up to the event. On day one I was a little nervous but took a clear victory. Believe it or not I was more nervous on day two and nearly lost the win after a very poor second lap! My fellow Italian rider, Mirko Spreafico, pushed me all the way. With the Italian national anthem playing it was a very proud day for both of us. The icing on the cake was the celebration of my birthday on the same day!
Tell us about 2017
I knew Billy Green would be good, and the one to beat if I was to be world champion. He is a very strong, determined rider, and at every round I would have to be at my very best. For some reason I could not settle to a good rhythm in qualifying but I did not really let this bother me. The wins in Japan on day two and Andorra had Billy on the back foot and I opened up a small advantage. In France both Billy and I were beaten by Fabien Poirot, who stood very proud in his home GP on the top spot of the podium. Despite the disaster in Great Britain in qualifying, where I finished last, I knew that a good sensible ride would give me the title and that’s exactly what I did, despite riding at the very front of the entry and having to ride the hazards first.
What is the level of support from Scorpa, is it direct with the factory or with the Italian importer?
The Scorpa deal is direct with the factory. They had seen my two wins in Italy in 2016, which must have impressed them. We talked about my ambitions in motorcycle trials, which resulted in the three-year contract running from 2017–2019. I was very pleased to sign for this term as it gives me some stability knowing that I will not be swapping and changing machinery. The 125cc Scorpa is a superb machine which resulted in me winning the 2017 Trial125 World Championship. It’s very much a standard machine with small changes made to suit my riding style.
Your minder is your father?
Yes, my father Cristiano is my minder and father. We work very well together as he understands what I am thinking – well, most of the time!
Tell us about your plans for 2018
I will move to the bigger engined Scorpa as soon as possible. The winter months will be all about training and setting up the Scorpa. It’s quite a change from the 125cc to the 250cc so it will all be about adjusting my technique and riding style. I have already ridden the 250cc and, along with the extra power, the suspension starts to work more efficiently so we will focus on getting this set correctly as well. Before I close I would like to thank everyone who has made this World Championship win possible – thank you!
62 TRIAL MAGAZINE Gold: 2017 Trial125 World Champion.
Spain; on the way to win number one.2017: The win in Andorra opened up a small advantage.
2016: Chiampo Italy – Podium time.
64 TRIAL MAGAZINE
2017: A disaster in qualifying in Great Britain put him last.
2017: France was a tough round.