What other people have to say about Johnny Cecotto Here   you   can   read   what   other   people,   who   have   been   in   any   kind   of   way   connected   to   Johnny   Cecotto,   have   to   say   about   him.   This   can   be   friends, fans, stewards, racing drivers, technicians, photographers, media and so on. Everyone has his own thoughts about Johnny Cecotto.
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Jon Ekerold: World Champion Motorcycle Racing 350cc in 1980

"Johnny   Cecotto   first   came   to   the   attention   of   the   world   with   an   astonishing   performance   in   the   1975   Daytona   200   mile race.   It   was   a   perfor-mance   that   had   the   journalists   searching   for   new   superlatives,   and   when   it   was   announced   that   the kid   would   contest   the   250   and   350   world   championships   on   works   Yamahas,   the   racing   world   could   hardly   wait   for   the action   to   begin.   But   Johnny   was   to   prove   to   be   more   than   just   a   great   racer.   He   had   those   indefinable   superstar   qualities that   attract   crowds   and   have   the   press   frantically   reaching   for   their   note   pads.   When   we   heard   the   news   that   Johnny   had both   won   the   250   and   350   GP's   in   France,   beating   the   great   Ago   in   the   process,   we   were   totally   stunned.   I   was   to accompany   Kork   Ballington   at   the   200   mile   race   at   Imola   and   I   figured   it   would   be   a   great   opportunity   to   see   Cecotto   in action.   At   the   6th   gear   sweep   after   the   start   and   finish   I   had   my   first   glimpse   of   Johnny.   He   was   the   only   one   not   to   rolling   off   and   he   had   the   big Yamaha   squirming   all   over   the   place.   But   what   struck   me   more   than   anything   else   was   how   smooth   and   effortless   he   made   it   all   look.   I   will   never forget   the   sight   of   young   Johnny   trying   to   make   his   way   to   the   victory   rostrum   after   the   race.   With   the   self-confidence   of   a   man   who   seemed   to   know he   was   destined   to   be   a   champion,   he   strode   through   the   thousands   of   delirious   Italian   fans,   leathers   around   his   waist   and   dark   glasses   in   place.   He was   pure   superstar.   The   French   Grand   Prix   350   at   Paul   Ricard   in   1980   was   undoubtedly   the   finest   race   of   my   career.   It   was   the   first   opportunity   I   had of   racing   against   the   man   while   being   at   the   peak   of   his   ability   and   it   was   a   treat   for   me   to   be   able   to   witness   his   awesome   skills   up   close.   Johnny Cecotto   was   without   doubt   one   of   the   finest   motorcycle   riders   ever   to   grace   the   Grand   Prix   scene.   He   was   extra-ordinarily   skilful   and   he   possessed   a fierce will to win. To have beaten him in a straight one to one fight was an incredible thrill for me". All words taken from the book "The Privateer" with kind permission of Jon Ekerold

Pentti Korhonen: Former Finnish Grand Prix Motorcycle Racer

"Well,   if   you   ask   me   why   Johnny   was   so   good:   in   my   opinion   he   was   a   very,   very   young   person,   only   19   when   he   came   to   the GP.   It   was   not   normal   at   that   time   and   he   was   a   very   light   guy   and   I   think   he   was   very   lucky   because   he   did   not   know   how good   the   European   riders   were.   I   mean   he   didn't   even   realize   to   be   afraid   of   Braun,   Agostini   etc.   Of   course   all   tracks   were new   for   him   and   it   was   really   amazing   how   quickly   he   learned   for   example   Paul   Ricard,   he   was   a   very   good   pupil.   Of   course Venemotos   was   a   good   help   with   the   factory   Yamaha.   The   Italian   fans   took   him   "home".   Anyway   after   an   amazing   start   he got   some   problems   for   succession   and   he   retired   too   much   and   was   too   busy   with   PR-promotions   and   nice   girls.   It's   not easy   for   a   19   year   old   teenager   to   handle   all   this   publicity   and   l   think   he   (or   manager)   made   a   mistake   to   let   him   race   500 and   750   classes.   For   sure   he   would   have   dominated   250   and   350   classes   for   years.   Johnny   was   always   a   gentle   rider,   never   any   dirty   things.   He   was simply   very,   very   fast   and   I   think   he   used   his   machines   very   smoothly   if   you   understand   what   I   mean.   I   remember   once   in   Imatra,   the   Finnish   GP,   I think   it   had   to   be   in   1975.   For   example   I   had   raced   there   since   1969   and   Johnny   was   the   first   rider   who's   idea   it   was   to   use   riding   also   the   walking street   (you   remember   Imatra   was   a   street   track)   in   the   station   corner.   His   bike   was   very   light   and   so   was   he,   so   he   could   make   it   although   the   step from   the   road   to   the   walking   street   was   about   20   cm   and   the   corner   speed   was   about   130   km/h.   Nobody   before   Johnny   took   the   risk   (or   even   think about   it)   for   crashing   or   destroy   the   wheel   on   that   tramp.   In   Imatra   we   had   very   bad   showers   and   toilets   (as   almost   everywhere   in   those   day's)   in   the paddock   and   I'm   quite   sure   that   Barry   Sheene   and   Johnny   burned   this   toilettes   one   year   and   we   got   new   ones.   Barry   and   Johnny   also   did   some   harm in   the   Valtion   hotel   because   they   destroyed   some   rooms   but   you   know,   in   those   day's   riders   were   living   like   the   last   day   while   so   many   got   killed   on that   kind   of   tracks.   Once   we   went   to   the   Venezuelan   GP,   I   think   it   was   1977   in   350   class.   I   had   a   very   good   start   and   got   problems   with   my   engine   and I   dropped.   I   got   it   solved   and   finished   4th   but   the   organizers   didn't   realize   my   result.   Think   about   that,   we   were   in   South   America.   Then   was   the   start of   the   250   and   I   had   told   Johnny   that   if   he   wouldn't   help   me   I'll   loose   my   points.   Just   before   the   start   Johnny   stopped   the   whole   circuit   and   said   the organizers   that   no-one   would   start   the   250   if   Pentti's   result   is   OK.   And   that   happened   very   quickly   (but   I   never   got   the   price   money).   They   said   though they made my result just because Johnny wanted".

Marcel Ankoné: Former Dutch Grand Prix Motorcycle Racer

"Yes,   I   do   have   some   memories   about   Johnny   Cecotto.   Back   in   1975   we   had   a   Daytona   200   team   with   the   “golden   racing leathers”   together   with   Wil   Hartog,   Boet   van   Dulmen   and   Rob   Bron.   I   was   there   for   the   very   first   time   and   had   to   get   used   a lot   to   this   kind   of   circuit.   Already   there   it   was   clear   how   talented   he   was.   He   immediately   qualified   3rd   and   after   a   lot   of problems   at   the   beginning   of   the   race   he   made   it   to   3rd   spot.   No   one   could   have   imagined   this.   I   enclose   2   pictures   from me   with   Johnny,   probably   he   lapped   me   here.   As   a   comet   he   came   into   the   front   in   the   Grand   Prix   field.   With   the   support   of Ippolito   he   knew   to   get   the   right   equipment,   he   learned   fast   and   finally   he   did   beat   them   all.   Me   myself   didn’t   do   that   much Grand   Prix’s   back   in   1975   due   to   a   injury.   I   clearly   remember   the   Italian   Grand   Prix   in   1976   at   Mugello   and   the   speed   he   had there   in   the   350cc   class.   In   1977,   my   last   Grand   Prix   year,   I   went   to   the   Venezuelan   Grand   Prix.   This   was   a   result   of   course   because   of   the   fact   that Venezuela   now   was   also   counting   in   the   Grand   Prix   circus.   There   I   also   did   visit   the   Ippolito   building   at   Caracas.   Also   after   his   motorcycle   racing career   he   just   went   on   with   Formula   and   Touring   cars.   Just   like   his   predecessors   Surtees   and   Hailwood   who   also   reached   the   top   in   that   racing branch. To be short: a real talent of nature".

Roberto Ravaglia: Multiple World-, European- and National Touring Car Champion

"I   raced   the   first   race   with   Johnny   the   first   time   at   the   Salburgring   in   1985   with   BMW   635   Team   Schnitzer   (on   the   same car because   the   race   was   500   km   (250   km   for   each   driver)   and   I   realised   immediately   how   good   driver   Johnny   was.   Since   1985 to   1992   I   raced   on   same   competitions   (touring   cars)   with   Johnny   and   I   had   a   lot   of   good   race   battles   for   race   position   and for   that   I   can   say   that   Johnny   has   been   one   of   the   best   drivers   in   touring   car   that   I   have   seen   in   my   race   driver   career,   a driver with a lot of personality, quick and with a very good preparation in term of technique".

Henk Hindriks: Head Pit Steward of TT circuit Assen from 1977 until 2019

My   dearest   memories   about   Johnny   Cecotto;   "In   the   seventies   he   was   a   real   greatness.   Most   drivers   started   in   250   and 350cc   class   but   Cecotto   immediately   got   to   battle   also   in   the   big   750cc.   He   had   real   great   sponsors   but   also   very   faithful fans.   Cecotto   was   very   much   beloved   and   he   was   also   approachable   and   knew   how   to   handle   with   that.   For   me   he   was   a racing   driver   who   never   made   trouble   in   the   pit   lane,   which   was   sometimes   different   at   that   time,   for   instance   with   the smoking   of   other   drivers.   Also   Johnny   was   very   grateful   for   what   we   meant   as   officials,   he   showed   that   we   all   needed   each other.   The   big   money   wasn’t   the   most   important   thing   at   that   time.   What   is   really   clear   on   my   mind   is   the   enormous   fire crash   which   happened   in   the   “knee   curve”   back   then   (now   the   GT   corner)   but   fortunate   nothing   bad   happened   there.   For me he still is one of the biggest drivers and I will not forget him ever”.

Dr. Ulrich W. Schiefer: Manager of the AtTrack GmbH Company

"Johnny   Cecotto,   an   analytical   engineer   in   the   body   of   a   hot   blooded   South   American.   We   started   working   together   when he   was   driving   for   BMW   and   I   was   head   of   BMW’s   worldwide   touring   car   activities   in   1994.   Since   then   he   had   already   left two   motorsports   lives   behind   himself.   For   anything   what   comes   later,   there   is   probably   no   better   learning   bench   for   how physics   of   driving   works,   than   being   Motorcycle   world   champion   and   driving   in   Formula   1.   The   very   first   impression   I   got about   about   him   was   his   extreme   desire   to   achieve.   And   this   comes   in   combination   with   an   extreme   egoism,   when   it   comes to   any   kind   of   prerequisite   in   order   to   be   successful   on   the   race   track.   This   power   is   breathtaking   for   anybody,   who   isn’t used   to   it.   But   already   the   second   view   shows   clearly   that   this   is   a   nearly   not   to   copy   recipe,   when   continuous   success   is required.   Describing   the   way   how   Johnny   behaves   and   works   at   the   race   track,   is   a   blueprint   for   any   young   driver   to   become   successful   in   motor racing.   The   reason   why   there   was   all   the   time   a   small   crowd   of   high   performing   guys   around   himself   was   that   he   never   asks   anybody   to   do   more than   he   would   ask   himself   for.   And   this   means   long   nights   for   engineers   and   mechanics.   He   basically   will   never   stop   searching   for   clarity   and solutions   until   the   slightest   doubt   is   wiped   out!   We   haven’t   worked   together   for   a   long   period   when   I   asked   him   to   drive   for   my   Bioendurance   team (www.bioendurance.de)   in   2006.   And   he   had   a   period   behind   himself   when   he   was   purely   doing   business   and   not   driving.   It   was   impressive   to   see how   he   just   comes   back   to   the   track,   analyses   the   situation,   sits   in   the   brand   new   car   and   is   initially   quick.   He   had   never   driven   a   Subaru   before   and even   more   had   no   experience   with   4wd.   But   nevertheless   he   comes   in   after   two   or   three   laps   and   provides   you   with   a   bunch   of   actions   how   to   alter the   car   in   a   performance   gaining   direction.   It   is   always   a   pleasure   for   me   to   have   him   in   my   team   and   should   there   be   a   future   opportunity,   I definitively   will   not   forget   to   ask   him.   I   also   look   forward   to   the   future   of   his   son   whom   I   call   "little   Johnny".   Being   prepared   with   the   Genes   of   Johnny and having Johnny as a teacher, I am sure that he will be a great one on international race tracks in the future!".

Emanuelle Pirro: Multiple National Touring Car and ALMS Champion

"I   feel   honoured   to   be   able   to   write   a   few   lines   about   Johnny.   I   believe   he   has   been   a   great   driver   and   a   rider   with   whom   I had   a   lot   of   nice   battles   and   competition.   Especially   in   our   BMW   M3   days   we   both   were   very   competitive   and   wanted   to win.   I   was   a   bit   jealous   of   his   "special   relationship"   with   BMW   Motorsport   management   which   admired   very   much   his   past successes   as   a   bike   rider.   So   I   wanted   to   beat   him   on   the   track   with   four   wheels.   I   have   to   say   in   those   days   we   were   not "best   friends"   because   the   level   competition   and   the   rivalry   was   very   high.   But   also   because   of   our   "Latin"   character.   Johnny could   get   very   "hot"   at   times   and   in   this   situation   you   better   stay   away   from   him.   Thinking   abut   it   now,   I   have   to   say,   it seams   a   bit   silly!   But   we   were   young   and   "hungry"   of   success.   When   we   did   a   full   DTM   season   in   1992   he   was   running   on Michelin   tyres   and   we   had   Yokohama's,   he   was   often   faster   than   me   and   I   always   put   it   down   to   the   tyres.   God   knows   if   I   was   always   right!   Anyway   I admired Johnny a lot and I still do and I believe he deserves every success he had in his career.".

Dr. Claudio Costa: Clinica Mobile Doctor (Mobile Hospital in GP’s)

"In   September   1975   a   budding   young   talent   who   had   just   become   350cc   world   champion   was   brought   to   me.   His   name was   Johnny   Alberto   Cecotto,   and   the   fractured   astragalus   of   his   right   foot   was   to   bind   us   together   in   a   story   of   great friendship   (even   if   the   medicines   I   prescribed   him   often   ended   up   in   a   drawer   on   account   of   his   preference   for   the consolation   of   beautiful   women).   To   keep   a   closer   eye   on   how   the   bone   was   healing   we   spent   a   long   period   living   in   the same   house;   the   injury   was   a   complex   one,   and   there   was   a   risk   that   the   bone   would   die,   thus   compromising   the   shining career   of   a   great   motorcyclist.   His   convalescence   was   long   and   difficult.   Six   months   later,   in   March   1976,   Johnny   Alberto Cecotto   triumphed   at   Daytona,   powering   on   his   #5   Yamaha   to   victory   in   front   of   some   of   the   best   riders   in   the   sport.   That victory   did   him   more   good   than   all   the   doctors   and   therapy   in   the   world.   That   same   year,   Johnny   took   me   to   his   hairdresser   in   Bologna   -   another dyed-in-the-wool   motorcycling   fan   -   and   practically   obliged   him   to   look   after   my   hair   forever.   This   odd   commitment   had   something   of   a   superstitious ring   to   it   and   being   superstitious   myself,   I   accepted   with   pleasure.   So,   since   then   my   hair   has   always   been   cut   by   Gianni   "Sultan"   Farioli,   a   keen Burraco   player   with   whom   I   was   to   establish   a   lasting   friendship.   Back   then   I   would   often   live   at   Johnny's   house   and   he   at   mine.   We   also   spent   a   lot of   time   together   in   his   car,   a   lightning-fast   Ferrari.   The   fear   that   bubbled   up   inside   me   whenever   and   wherever   he   drove   soon   dissipated,   as   I   slowly realised   I   was   in   safe   hands.   Yet   he   soon   made   me   anxious   for   another   reason:   his   driving   would   attract   the   attention   of   the   police,   who   stopped   us on   several   occasions,   their   guns   un-holstered.   His   love   for   cars   eventually   led   him   into   auto   mobile   racing   where   he   went   on   to   drive   in   Formula   1 and all others sorts of competitions: motorcycling lost a splendid champion, and I a friend!". All words taken from the book "doctorcosta" with kind permission of Doctor Claudio Costa DR. CLAUDIO COSTA added some words personally by e-mail afterwards; "Johnny   Cecotto,   wonder-kid   full   of   talent   which   made   him   forget   that   sometimes,   restraint   is   an   essential   staple   in   the   lives   of   human   creatures.   He was so great and daring that he often forgot measure and restraint. And this possibly cost him a few world titles".

Hero Drent: Dutch Fan and Motorcycle Racing Photographer

"Memories   about   Johnny   Cecotto   always   fall   apart   in   a   few   different   parts.   First   of   all   it's   always   as   such   a   matchless motorcycle   racing   driver   he   was.   As   a   young   man   he   did   beat   the   big   names   on   pure   driving   skills.   I   have   been   a   joyful witness   of   that   during   the   6   years   he   did   race   in   various   classes   and   different   circuits   in   Europe   in   motorcycle   racing.   The directly   following   part   is   the   engaging   personality   he   was   and   probably   still   is.   Easy   approachable,   always   prepared   to   talk to   or   to   pose   with   the   fans.   He   has   helped   me   and   my   kids   a   lot   with   getting   paddock   tickets   although   he,   especially   in   the beginning,   hardly   knew   us   at   all.   The   third   part   still   is,   next   to   the   highest   tops   of   pure   sensation   when   he   won   (think   at   the 500cc   at   the   TT   of   Assen   in   1978,   Nivelles   F-750   in   1978,   200   miles   of   Imola   in   1978   and   the   match   races   in   Imola   1979),   the deep   descents   of   disappointment   and   fright   when   things   went   wrong   (F-750   Assen   in   1975   where   he   almost   straight   in   front   of   us   fell   in   the   ditch   at the   "Veenslang",   the   fire   crash   in   F-750   Assen   in   1976,   the   500cc   crash   in   Salzburg   1979   and   later   also   his   Formula   1   crash   in   England   in   1984).   But looking   at   it   all   together   the   memories   about   Johnny   for   me   are   only   positive.   To   see   him   driving   after   the   TT   in   1975   we   went   outside   of   Holland   for the   very   first   time   to   a   motorcycle   race   and   the   following   years   to   different   races   in   various   countries   which   finally   led   to   photographing   motorcycle races   all   over   the   world.   To   me   he   always   was   very   approachable   and   has   helped   us   where   he   could.   And   above   all   because   of   his   natural   driving skills to which the two world championships he gathered don't give enough credits to the qualities he possessed".

Wil Hartog: Former Dutch Motorcycle Racer and GP Winner

"I   remember   Johnny   Cecotto   as   the   phenomenon   who   as   a   very   young   driver   with   number   96   went   very   fast   on   the Daytona   Speedway   in   Florida   in   1975   .   In   the   following   years   he   showed   to   be   a   fantastic   racing   driver   in   the   Grand   Prix's, very   fast,   always   fair   and   very   kind   indeed.   The   most   difficult   moment   I   had   with   Johnny   was   in   1976   at   Assen   when   he   fell of   his   bike   at   the   Geert   Timmer   curve.   He   then   lost   his   burning   fuel   tank   which   came   against   my   foot   while   driving   behind him and therefore I had to retire. He was a fantastic racing driver and a magnificent human being".

Mario Lega: World Champion Motorcycle Racing 250cc 1977

"I   met   Johnny   Cecotto   in   1974   when   I   went   to   Venezuela,   invited   by   Andrea   Ippolito   to   do   a   race   in   San   Carlos.   The   trip   was made   to   collect   the   new   water-cooled   Yamaha   not   found   in   Europe.   After   the   first   tests   I   immediately   realized,   even   though I   was   away   and   the   heat   was   certainly   not   usual   for   an   Italian,   that   Johnny   had   an   extra   gear   that   is   the   stigmata   of   the predestined   champion.   Back   in   Italy,   talking   to   journalists   and   professionals,   I   announced   that   there   was   a   great   champion in   Venezuela   and   that   he   would   go   to   Europe   to   participate   in   our   World   Championship.   But   I   was   not   listened   to   as   in many   cases   they   didn’t   take   me   serious.   Later   it   turned   out   that   I   was   right.   We   reciprocated   the   Venezuelan   friendship, hosting   Johnny   and   his   mechanic   (yes,   only   two)   in   the   Diemme   stable   in   Lugo,   the   one   that   made   me   race.   In   the   first   year Cecotto   became   World   Champion   in   the   350cc   with   a   practically   standard   bike,   showing   a   rare   ease   in   learning   the   tracks,   unknown   to   him,   and running   fast   in   all   conditions,   cold   and   rain   that   were   not   encountered   in   Venezuela.   Battle   with   Agostini   and   fighting   with   Villa   and   his   very   fast Harley   Davidson,   he   immediately   showed   what   he   was   made   of   and   I   was   proud   to   have   "discovered"   him   and   announced   him   to   the   world.   Johnny was   fast   even   on   the   road   tracks   which   were   very   dangerous,   but   they   didn't   scare   Cecotto   who   in   circuits   like   Brno   or   Imatra   beat   all   the   strongest drivers   of   that   time.   I'm   talking   about   Barry   Sheene,   Kenny   Roberts,   Steve   Baker   etcetera.   So   much   that   often   after   the   tests   Yamaha   stole   the   engine developed   by   Cecotto   to   pass   it   to   Roberts,   which   annoyed   him   so   much   that   he   gave   up   his   motorcycles   to   switch   to   cars.   In   1975   I   returned   to Venezuela   for   joint   winter   training   in   San   Paolo   del   Brazil.   As   soon   as   I   landed   in   Venezuela,   they   immediately   took   me   to   a   radio   to   ask   me   about   the “famous   kick”   of   frustration   that   Villa   tried   to   give   to   Cecotto   in   Spa   Francorchamps:   unacceptable   for   the   Venezuelan   media.   I   repeat   that   in   my opinion   Johnny   Cecotto   was   one   of   the   best   500cc   riders,   his   record   of   results   and   victories   partially   demonstrate   this   because   Johnny   could   have won   much   more   as   an   eclectic   champion   of   cars   and   motorcycles.   In   a   book   written   by   Carlo   Cavicchi,   historical   director   of   Autosprint   magazine, entitled   "Senna",   to   the   question   asked   to   the   great   Ayrton,   who   was   the   driver   who   had   suffered   him   the   most   difficulties,   Senna   answered   Johnny Cecotto who shared the Toleman Formula 1 single-seater with him. Johnny is one of the few pilots I have infinite esteem for".

Jonathan Cecotto: Son, Lamborghini Drive Instructor and Racing Car Driver

"Probably,   a   good   starting   point   is   where   it   all   began.   I   was   watching   my   brother   race   go-kart   and   at   my   4th   birthday   I received   a   go   kart   as   a   gift   from   my   dad.   That’s   where   the   passion,   or   I   can   also   call   it   an   obsession,   started.   My   dad   has been   following   my   career   from   top   to   bottom   till   the   recent   years,   where   I   started   walking   on   my   own   feet.   He   was everything   next   to   me:   my   mechanic,   my   engineer,   my   driving   coach,   my   mental   coach   and   at   the   same   time   my   dad.   He’s quite   a   straight   forward   guy,   probably   many   would   call   him   intimidating,   but   that’s   the   only   way   to   achieve   certain   results like   he   did.   I   tried   to   absorb   everything   from   him,   he   taught   me   all   he   knew,   and   he   still   does.   Of   course,   the   world   of motorsports   has   changed   dramatically   from   the   70’s,   80’s   and   90’s,   to   the   current   years.   This   has   brought   to   many adaptations,   which   are   challenging   for   him   to   understand,   simply   because   the   role   of   a   racing   driver   changed   and   this   explains   why   we   have   different opinions   on   various   aspects.   Anyway   still   today,   after   my   dad   being   in   the   motorsports   business   for   around   50   years,   I   can   feel   the   fuel   running   in   his veins.   This   time   not   behind   the   steering   wheel,   but   supporting   my   brother's   career   when   he   used   to   race,   and   now   my   career.   For   the   Cecotto   family this   is   not   only   a   passion,   it’s   a   lifestyle;   a   way   of   life.   This   is   our   reality,   it   has   been   going   through   3   generations,   and   it   will   not   stop   here,   the   best   is yet to come!