It takes anywhere between 17 and 38 hours to fly from Italy to Indonesia, depending on the number of stopovers you make. Former professional motorbike racer Matteo Guerinoni made that journey back in 1992 and never returned. In the three decades since, Guerinoni set up a gelato bar and restaurant, returned to racing and is now set to be the newest pundit on FOX Sports for MotoGP. The 48-year-old Italian with the need for speed tells us more about himself.
How did you get into racing as a career?
I’ve always loved motorsports from a young age and was fortunate to start professional go-kart racing when I was 10 years old. The thrill and adrenaline rush cemented my love for motorsports from then on.
I remembered that I would be so excited that I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before my race. I relentlessly persuaded my dad to take me to as many races as possible around Italy. I come from a very humble background and even though my dad was not financially strong enough to bring me to every race. I really appreciated his trust and support for me. That gave me strength to push myself further and always striving to beat my own personal records.
How does an Italian boy find himself racing in Indonesia and running a gelato shop?
I relocated to Indonesia in 1992. Over time, I started my own gelato bar and restaurant and fortunately, it had quite a successful run, which I was thankful for. It was really one of the defining moments in my life because consequently, I was able to sponsor myself and started to get back into racing again in Indonesia.
You’ve been a racer, a host, a restaurateur and a gelato shop owner. What would you say is the hardest career? Why?
None of them actually because I’ve never considered them to be work. I don’t see any of them as a job really! I’ve always consider all of these different roles and activities that I have undertaken as just hobbies. I am just doing things that I love – which I am very grateful for. I would say to choose only ONE of them to focus on is the hardest thing. I just can’t.
What is the highlight of your racing career?
It had to be when I won my first Indonesian National Championship back in 2006. The joy and excitement felt when I crossed the finishing line and holding that trophy was indescribable. Knowing how all that hard work and perseverance paid off was definitely worth it.
Have you ever been caught by the traffic police?
Not that I can recall! (laughs) But I have been in sticky situations before. During my professional racing career, some challenging scenarios that took place would have to be when my bike wasn’t running as smoothly as I wanted. That cost me in getting a placement at the winning podium. I was a professional racer. Competitiveness runs in me.
If Heaven existed, what would you like God to say to you when you race into the Pearly Gates?
I hope He will just forgive me for all of my sins and let me ride together with Jesus. I have a strong feeling that He’s a rider for sure (laughs).
MotoGP™ LIVE premiered on 26 March 2017 on FOX Sports (Singtel TV Channel 114, StarHub TV Channel 208) and will subsequently air every race day on the FOX Sports Network