FERRUCCIO ZANCHI | UNKNOWN TALENT

When Team HRC put out the news that they were getting back into a full effort in the MX2 class in 2024, the other teams surely took a deep breath and figured they had a new challenger on the starting gate.

When it was mentioned that 17-year-old Italian Ferruccio Zanchi would be their rider, a rider who had finished fourth in the EMX250 championship of 2023, a lot of eyebrows were raised. Something of an unknown, Zanchi has shown ridiculous speed on the Honda 250 machine and even won his first ever race for HRC in this year’s pre-season.

Now, with a handful of pre-season races to come and probably more testing, you get the idea that this teenager might turn some heads in 2024, similar to when Red Bull KTM signed an unknown rider in Tom Vialle, a handful of years ago. Of course, that relationship ended with two MX2 World championships.

While we can’t be sure Zanchi will have success in the MX2 class of 2024, he is showing potential. For Zanchi, the moment he was approached by HRC was a shock to him, but a dream come true for the young Italian.

“Being picked up by Honda was a big surprise,” Zanchi said. “Because they came to me at the last round in Great Britain and asked if I was interested and I was very surprised. Of course, I wanted to ride for them, and I said yes and then we waited for the word from the Japanese, and it was agreed. We raced yesterday for the first time, and it was good.”

Now, riding for a privateer team in 2023 and then the HRC factory team in 2024, there is a huge jump in machinery, and no doubt, a factory bike will always outdo a privateer machine. It was for Zanchi, very noticeable.

“Yes, a lot different. I was riding KTM last year and the first time I rode the Honda was at the start of January, so I had less than a month to get used to riding the Honda. The bike is incredibly good, and we did some testing before pre-season races, and made some nice changes to the engine and the suspension. We made huge steps with those things, and I really enjoy riding it. I use a lot of torque on the bike and the bike has a lot of torque in the mid-range.”

And having five-time World motocross champion Tim Gajser as something of a mentor under the HRC tent, Zanchi couldn’t ask for a better role model. Gajser, always friendly and helpful to his team-mates, this 17-year-old knows how lucky he is.

“Tim is very helpful, a great rider and also a great guy. Whenever we are training, he is always helping me and I can watch him and see how he does it, because he has a lot of experience, and I can learn a lot from him. I really enjoy it and I am looking forward to the season and find out what I can learn from him.”

So, now as he works his way through the pre-season and eventually arrives in Argentina for the opening round of the 2024 MX2 World championship, Zanchi will feel more than comfortable in the HRC team and can hopefully reach more of his childhood dreams.

Photo Credit: Bavo Swijgers

Author: 
Geoff Meyer

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