Renzo Pasolini

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Renzo Pasolini
Renzo pasolini 2.jpg
Renzo Pasolini in 1970
Nationality Italian
Born (1938-07-18)July 18, 1938
Rimini, Italy
Died May 20, 1973(1973-05-20) (aged 34)
Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Active years 19641973
First race 1964 350cc Nations Grand Prix
Last race 1973 250cc Nations Grand Prix
First win 1969 250cc Dutch TT
Last win 1972 250cc Spanish Grand Prix
Team(s) Aermacchi, Benelli
Championships 0
Starts Wins Podiums Poles F. laps Points
46 6 35 N/A N/A

Renzo Pasolini (18 July 1938 – 20 May 1973), nicknamed "Paso", was a popular Italian Grand Prix motorcycle road racer in the 1960s and early 1970's.

His unpredictable and unrehearsed racing style made him a crowd favourite. Pasolini's rivalry with Giacomo Agostini divided motorcycling enthusiasts, and while Pasolini's style brought mixed results (ultimately preventing him from winning a world title), it earned him a place in the hearts of many fans.

Career[edit]

Pasolini was born in Rimini, the son of a motorcyclist.

He began his motocross career in 1958,[1] after having shown great interest in boxing as well. A smoker and incorrigible party-goer, he was an uncommon athlete, as was his approach to corners while racing—a dangerous combination of balance and speed which always made him seem about to fall off his bike.

After performing well in motocross, Pasolini focussed on road racing while remaining active in other sports to keep physical form. In 1962, he debuted with the Aermacchi 175cc, when his two first-place finishes ahead of Giacomo Agostini spurred their long rivalry. Pasolini took a two-year break from racing to complete his military service and, while stationed in Sardinia, he met his future wife, Anna, with whom he would have two children, Sabrina and Renzo Stefano.

Pasolini resumed his racing career in 1964, racing Aermacchi 250cc and 350cc bikes at the senior level. In the 1965 Italian championship, Pasolini, racing a Benelli, finished second to Tarquinio Provini in the 250cc class and third in the 350cc class behind Giacomo Agostini and Giuseppe Mandorlini. 1966 was a year of varying results both domestically and internationally; most notable was the final race of the Italian championship, which Pasolini won on the then-new four-cylinder Benelli 500.

With a more competitive bike, Pasolini was able to rival the best, and this marked the start of a string of epic confrontations with Mike Hailwood, then riding a Honda, and the revival of his rivalry with Agostini, an MV Agusta rider. The 1968 season saw him second to Agostini in the 350cc championship, after having earned the 250cc and 350cc Italian titles.

1969 brought mixed results, causing Pasolini to lose out to Benelli teammate Kel Carruthers in the 250cc world championship. New regulations in the 250cc classification for the 1970 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season limited the category to two-cylinder bikes, which prompted the Benelli team to concentrate on the 350cc class.

After a miserable season, Pasolini left Benelli and joined Aermacchi, fresh out of a merger with Harley-Davidson.[2] Much of the 1971 season was lost to testing the Aermacchi/Harley-Davidson 250cc bike, which took much longer in development than had been anticipated. The resulting bike was not superior to most, and a number of up-and-coming racers increased competition; among them was Jarno Saarinen, to whom Pasolini lost the 250cc world championship in 1972 by a single point.

Death at Monza[edit]

Pasolini lost his life at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza on 20 May 1973.[3][4][5][6] The biker was not able to finish the 350cc race because of mechanical problems, withdrawing from competition with four laps to go, and fell during the first lap of the 250cc race. Jarno Saarinen, immediately behind him, was unable to avoid him and fell as well, causing a chain reaction ultimately involving twelve riders and resulting in Pasolini's and Saarinen's deaths.[7]

Much debate has surrounded the probable causes of the accident, with the most common explanation suggesting that a spill left on the track during the 350cc race (when Walter Villa's Benelli leaked on the penultimate lap, but the urge to collect championship points led the rider to continue racing despite the leak) likely caused the bike to slide. While it has been ascertained that race officials did neglect to order clean up of the track prior to the 250cc race—one rider, John Dodds, made his concerns known to authorities, only to be met with threats—Pasolini's fall and the damage sustained by his vehicle are consistent with an engine problem, likely a seizure of the pistons.[8]

The Ducati Paso[edit]

In 1986, Ducati Motor Holding, then under the ownership of Cagiva, introduced the Ducati Paso, named after Pasolini and designed by Massimo Tamburini, co-founder of Bimota.

Motorcycle Grand Prix results[9][edit]

Points system from 1964 to 1968:

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6
Points 8 6 4 3 2 1

Points from 1969 onwards:

Position 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Points 15 12 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1

(Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap.)

(key)

Year Class Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Points Rank Wins
1964 350cc Aermacchi IOM
-
NED
-
GER
-
DDR
-
ULS
-
FIN
-
NAT
4
JPN
-
3 13th 0
1965 250cc Aermacchi USA
-
GER
-
ESP
-
FRA
-
IOM
NC
NED
-
BEL
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
ULS
-
FIN
-
NAT
-
JPN
-
0 0
350cc Aermacchi GER
4
IOM
NC
NED
4
DDR
-
CZE
5
ULS
-
FIN
-
NAT
6
JPN
-
9 8th 0
1966 250cc Aermacchi ESP
3
GER
-
FRA
-
NED
-
BEL
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
IOM
-
NAT
-
JPN
-
4 14th 0
350cc Aermacchi GER
DNS
FRA
5
NED
3
BEL
4
CZE
5
FIN
-
ULS
-
IOM
-
NAT
2
JPN
-
17 3rd 0
1967 350cc Aermacchi GER
3
IOM
NC
NED
3
DDR
-
CZE
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
JPN
-
8 8th 0
500cc Benelli GER
-
IOM
NC
NED
-
BEL
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
CAN
-
0 0
1968 250cc Benelli GER
-
ESP
-
IOM
2
NED
3
BEL
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
10 6th 0
350cc Benelli GER
2
IOM
2
NED
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
ULS
-
NAT
2
18 2nd 0
500cc Benelli GER
-
ESP
-
IOM
-
NED
-
BEL
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
2
6 12th 0
1969 250cc Benelli ESP
DNF
GER
-
FRA
-
IOM
-
NED
1
BEL
-
DDR
1
CZE
1
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
YUG
-
45 4th 3
1970 350cc Benelli GER
-
YUG
-
IOM
NC
NED
2
DDR
2
CZE
2
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
3
ESP
-
46 3rd 0
1971 250cc Aermacchi AUT
-
GER
-
IOM
-
NED
-
BEL
-
DDR
-
CZE
-
SWE
-
FIN
-
ULS
-
NAT
-
ESP
5
6 28th 0
1972 250cc Aermacchi GER
-
FRA
2
AUT
-
NAT
1
IOM
-
YUG
1
NED
2
BEL
-
DDR
2
CZE
2
SWE
3
FIN
-
ESP
1
93 2nd 3
350cc Aermacchi GER
5
FRA
3
AUT
3
NAT
2
IOM
-
YUG
-
NED
3
DDR
2
CZE
2
SWE
4
FIN
3
ESP
2
78 3rd 0
1973 250cc Aermacchi FRA
3
AUT
-
GER
-
IOM
-
NAT
DNF
10 19th 0

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Renzo Pasolini biography at". Renzopasolini.com. 18 July 1938. 
  2. ^ "Renzo Pasolini career profile at". Iomtt.com. 18 July 1938. 
  3. ^ Some sources refer to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza where Pasolini was killed as Grand Prix of Nations (cf Circuit des Nations which is in Switzerland, not Monza, Associated Press, 1973), or as the "Nations Grand Prix at Monza" (Fallon 2010)
  4. ^ Walker, Mick, Mick Walker's European Racing Motorcycles, Redline Books, p. 78, ISBN 9780953131136, retrieved 11 October 2012 
  5. ^ Associated Press (21 May 1973), "Two Motorcycle Racers Die", Lewiston Morning Tribune, retrieved 11 October 2012, MONZA, Italy (AP) — Two motorcyclists were killed and several others injured Sunday in a mass spill at the Monza Autodrome during the 250cc class race of the Grand Prix of Nations [sic] 
  6. ^ Falloon, Ian (2010), The Book of Ducati 750SS: 'Round Case' 1974, Veloce Publishing, ISBN 9781845842024 
  7. ^ "Renzo Pasolini". Motorsport Memorial. 
  8. ^ "The True Cause of the Tragic Accident at the Start of the 1973 250cc Italian GP at Monza". Web.archive.org. 21 August 2006. 
  9. ^ "Rider Statistics – Renzo Pasolini". MotoGP.com. Retrieved 29 August 2008. 

External links[edit]