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Marco Cannella drops in for MXP Chatter presented by Motovan

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Coming into the last summer’s Triple Crown Series MX101 FXR Yamaha rider Marco Cannella had not yet won a national moto or an overall. Although he’d come very close in past races, he had yet to stand on top of the podium at a pro-national. Well, that all changed at Round 4 of the series when Marco came out swinging in the sand at Gopher Dunes and took his first moto win in the opening race of the day. He would follow this incredible moment up with two more moto wins at Sand Del Lee and then at the final round of the series at Walton Raceway. Although Marco wasn’t able to secure an overall win in 2021, he still made big strides, and heading into this summer he is no doubt one of the favourites to win the Triple Crown Series 250 Championship. Marco has been training at GPF in Georgia for a few months and we caught up with him as he was preparing to fly out to California to do some engine testing.

MXP: Hey Marco, what is going on today?

MC: Hey Palms! Right now I’m actually driving to the airport in Orlando to fly out to California to do some engine testing with Al Brown.

Well, that’s exciting! Have you been to California before?

No, this is my first time so I’m pretty excited to head out there and see what it’s all about. The plan is to do some riding and testing with Al and then also see some of the sights. As I said, I’m pretty excited.

You’ve been down south training for some time now, how have things been going?

Really good! I can’t tell you how nice it’s been to get back down south and get a normal off-season of training in. The past two years have been messed up with Covid-19 so finally this year we were able to head back to GPF and do things properly.

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Marco had a solid summer in 2021 taking three moto wins in the Triple Crown Series. Photo by James Lissimore

I know we spoke last year in mid-May and you felt like you were in a good spot with your training but you were a little worried about your seat time on the bike. Compared to last year how are you feeling right now?

I don’t think there’s even a comparison to last year as right now I just feel so much more complete on the bike. You’re right, last year I did a ton of training off of the bike and while my overall fitness was solid, it was challenging to get enough riding in before the opening round at Walton. As you know, with the weather back home it’s impossible to have a real riding schedule through late March and April. The weather is hit and miss and even when you can ride the temperatures aren’t great. At GPF I’ve been able to have a schedule, the track is always great for training, we can cycle, and it’s been warm so we’ve been able to train in the heat. It’s just felt like a real off-season again and hopefully, that will make the difference this summer.

One of the things that I’ve always respected about you Marco, and Iain Hayden and I used to talk about this a lot, is that you’re very cerebral with your riding and you like to always have a plan.

Thanks! I mean, I try to always plan things out and do things deliberately. I don’t know, I think that I just like to have a plan and then do everything I can to execute that plan. This sport is challenging and there’s so much you can’t control as a rider, so the more things I can plan out and control the better it is for me and my program. That was one of the biggest issues last spring was just not being able to stick to a plan. If I wanted to ride say three times a week I couldn’t because the weather wasn’t great. It was just a tough deal all around.

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Marco was on the gas last summer in the 250 class and he hopes to be even better this summer. Photo by James Lissimore

Let’s talk about last summer for a minute. You finally got a few moto wins which is something that every rider wants to add to their resumes. Unfortunately, you weren’t able to win any overalls. Looking back now, were you happy with your 2021 Triple Crown Series?

Yes and no! It was great to finally win a few motos and get that monkey off of my back. As I mentioned earlier, I just didn’t feel great on the bike last summer and that led to a few mistakes. But I’m still young and those things are going to happen, I just need to learn from them and try and be better in the future. I think this summer will be better as I have another year of experience under my belt.

You just mentioned the word experience. Yes, you are only 21 but if you look at all of the 250 title favourites heading into this summer you have the most experience. The Triple Crown Series is back to normal this summer so there will be travel out west and new tracks to learn. You’ve been through this before Covid so does that add to your confidence level heading into 2022?

I think it does yes. It can be challenging travelling out west and back and riding on tracks that you don’t normally ride on. A lot of other factors come into play when the series goes from Province to Province so I do think my experience will come into play. You really have to be patient and take it race by race. Also, your training and how well you can recover are important so yes this summer will definitely be different than the past two.

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Marco is excited to be under the MX101 Yamaha tent again in 2022. Photo by James Lissimore

Okay, so you’re heading to California for a week, what is the plan when you return and then leading up to the opening round of the Triple Crown Series in June?

When I get back from California I will most likely remain at GPF for another week before heading home. Once I get home I’d like to race the AMO Racing events at Auburn Hills and then Sand Del Lee later in May. I think we’re going to drive out west so we can have a vehicle out there so we’ll have to leave soon after the SDL race. That is about it really. We’ll get home here in the next few weeks and go from there. I want to get a few gate drops in before Kamloops so I think the AMO Racing events will be good.

Well as usual it sounds as though you have a solid plan for the next month and a half before the opening round of the Triple Crown Series. Anyway Marco, thanks again for taking my call. Enjoy California and hopefully Al Brown allows you some time to do some sightseeing (laughs).

If he doesn’t let me I’ll make some time. Thanks for calling Palms and hopefully we’ll see you in a few weeks at Auburn Hills.


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