Alex Pignone was born in Liguria, in a small town in the province of Genoa!!
He started motorbike racing when he was just thirteen, in the Motocross Cadet 125 Provincial Championship on a KTM in the Bisiomotor team, he then went on to Regional and Interregional Championships with Suzuki and Honda with the News Motor and Marshald teams. When he was just sixteen, he became the youngest motorbike rider to race in a National Championship and in the motocross 500 CC leading category, and the year after he won eighth place in the Continental Trophy for this engine capacity category!! During a race he had a serious accident, and had to give up motocross, but against the doctors advice, Alex decided to work towards the queen of motorbike racing: Speed....
Without any experience at all in this field, he participated in an Italian Sport Production Championship race, in the over 750 class, with a Suzuki GSXR 1100 paid for in instalments, on the Monza circuit. The result was obvious, recovery in hospital from a fracture to his hand. He returned to the circuit immediately, as he wanted to demonstrate that Monza was only a mistake and not a defeat, he did this in his own way, with fourth place on this very circuit!!
In 1989 he met Enzo Mancin, an expert trainer in Motorbike Gran Prix and with him he started his adventure among the Seniors of the Italian 250 GP, first on a Honda RS, which had been used years before by Stefano Caracchi, and thanks to the excellent results gained in this way, the following year he went over to the Riccione Jarno team with Mancin as Head Technician and the important support of the Leardini family.
In 1991 he got a semi-official Aprilia and the support of the sponsor Maxicono Motta to race in the European Championship, but had yet another accident, and the victory that year was taken by a certain Max Biaggi. After a lot of physiotherapy and treatment, Alex returned to the circuit on a Ducati 888 in the Superbike Championship. Unfortunately, the Ducati caught fire on the Lesmo curve, but that very day marked a turning point in his life; meeting Luigi Pezzoni, a great motorbike racer and discoverer of young talent.
A very close friendship emerged. Alex Pignone raced on a Kawasaki of the Parma RB team and following that, still on a Ninja, with the Pecost team in the Superbike and Open Championships from 1993 to 1999!! They said he had great talent but lacked motivation. In fact, the results were full of ups and downs. Alex Pignone had a fascinating and difficult character, but a wrong choice, as happens to many of us, in the form of a mistake in his private life, changed him he had to get back up again and wanted to do it his own way, racing and surprising everyone.
Humbly (a word that was unknown to Alex until then), he started training again in secret, and was almost embarrassed if recognised. This he did with a Yamaha R6 Supersport that was provided by the rider Fabio Faelli and the ever-present Luigi Pezzoni. In 2001 he decided to take the plunge. He asked the Ex-World Champion 500 Marco Lucchinelli for advice and left for the United States, where he tuned up at the qualifying for the National USA Superbike on the legendary Daytona circuit, with a Suzuki and the Scott-Louisiana team.
At that time in Alex Pignone's baggage was a mixture of desperation, pride, plenty of imagination and distinct lack of money.A cocktail that allowed him to write one of the most amazing pages in the world of racing and riders!! He had the sixteenth fastest time in Daytona and... go Alex go, a contract with the Scott-Louisiana team that permitted him to ride a Suzuki in the two most difficult and dangerous championships in the world, West Coast and East Coast Superbike.
Alex Pignone, thanks to his extreme driving, above all on oval circuits, and his way of coping with life, became an almost unprecedented American icon.
Even the great Freddie Spencer went to the trouble of helping him and gave him his helmet with "To Alex good luck Fast Freddie" written on it.
In Florida he was considered the home rider and amazed his American friends on the circuits of Road Atlanta, Sears Point, Laguna Seca, Daytona etc. He also decided to sign up for a race that he had always dreamed of since he was a child, the Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man and he was fast, very fast, in the qualifying, but unfortunately due to bureaucratic reasons, he didn't participate in the race. However, he made up for it straight away by getting third place on the Las Vegas oval!!
ALL THIS IN JUST TWO YEARS. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: ALEX PIGNONE
During the qualifying for the "Daytona 200" in 2003, Alex had a disastrous fall, the worst so far!!
He was forced to give up racing and his life became a mountain of problems on top of problems, also due to his extremely irregular lifestyle.
But Alex still didn't give up and so he chose life, he chose racing. No sooner said than done, he went from two to four wheels, but he still wanted engines and speed!
It is hard to forget someone like Alex Pignone, and in fact his public, America, want to see him as the star of a new story, a story called Formula Indy Alex accepted without compromise. He met Alex Zanardi who encouraged him to try what seemed like madness to everyone, he raced for the first time in a single-seat racing car on the Mugello race track he was still himself. He improved his time at Misano Adriatico and now everyone's talking about this project as if it were an unprecedented fantasy, a challenge that reminds us of races in Enzo Ferrari and Tazio Nuvolari's time, it seems like a dream come true.
Thanks Alex Pignone, thanks for not having quit and giving us the courage to never give up!!! On October 8th 2007, driving a Cheever Team's Indy Pro Series, Alex gets brilliantly through the Rookie Test on the Kentucky Motor Speedway's oval and becomes the first driver in the racing history to pass from Superbike to Indy Racing League.
In 2008 the city of Modena awarded him the Career Prize, together with Sandro Munari, Luca Cadalora and Andrea Bartolini!!
Vittorio Rollero wrote a book on Alex's life, whose title is "Follow my leads".
Many more challenges are awaiting him...2010 - 2011 Indy Racing League