Luca Salvadori: all about
the racing

Behind the scenes with Luca Salvadori, rider and youtuber.

What’s more difficult? Knowing how to successfully steer a race bike or a community of more than 300,000 followers? For Luca Salvadori, neither poses a challenge. Digital influencer and professional rider, Luca is as comfortable on the Panigale V4 R when competing in the National Trophy with the Barni Racing Team Ducati, as he is in front of the camera, producing his latest video and setting new personal records on the internet.

Luca Salvadori made his professional debut at 17 before winning the National 600 Supersport championship in 2014. Since then, he’s revolutionised the way we share our passion for everything two wheels with the videos he publishes on his social media channels.

“I started on my own with a camera, and things immediately went well.”

When did you realise you knew your way around a bike? And then when did you realise you knew your way around a video camera?

With bikes, it all came about by chance really. I grew up in a family that was more into cars. My dad, a former racer, has a team, Trident Racing, which races in Formula 2 and Formula 3. I gave it a go when I was 16 and all enthusiastic after getting my scooter. I went out on track with a 125 two-stroke, and immediately knew it was true love. The video camera was more of a necessity. At a certain point, I realised I needed to be more media-savvy if I wanted to continue to make a living out of my passion. I started on my own, with the help of a GoPro Hero 4 and countless video tutorials on YouTube, and things immediately went well, unexpectedly so in fact.

How are you able to reconcile the roles of rider and youtuber?

It’s not easy. Particularly when there are problems on track or, even worse, you’re rammed, it’s really hard to find the mental energy and alertness to get in front of the camera. I always try to give it my all and be professional on both fronts, to bring home the best result, in both multimedia and sporting terms. A while ago, I went out on track with no camera, with the sole aim of doing well and enjoying the race together with my team-mates, friends, and rivals. It was the first time I’d done that in three years, and I have to say it was a great feeling.

How much preparation and how much improvisation are involved on the track and in the studio?

Racing requires meticulous preparation. Every detail, especially off track, like your physical fitness or a constructive briefing with the team, can make the difference. As for video production though, you need to be able to improvise, simply because you can’t predict the future. So you prepare an outline, of which 60-70% will probably be produced anyway, while the remaining 30-40% depends on what happens on track.

You’ve a point of reference for motorcycling fans. What is it that your followers appreciate most about you?

A point of reference is perhaps an exaggeration, but I’m pleased that a lot of people follow me on YouTube and that we’ve built a great community. When they meet me in person, they often tell me that there’s no difference between how they see me on social media and how I am in reality. To be perceived as a real person, and not just as a stage persona, is an important recognition for me.

Who inspires you, whether rider or internet personality?

Definitely Casey Neistat, an American youtuber who is a real editing genius. He keeps you glued to a video for 20 minutes even if he’s only showing you totally normally day to day scenes. And then Alberto Naska of course. He was the first to encourage me to embark on this adventure, and it is also thanks to him that I am where I am now. The great thing is that rather than becoming rivals, we’ve helped each other. I’ve given him advice about bikes, and he’s taught me about editing, storytelling and so on. As for sportsmen, my reference has always been Valentino, the pioneer of a new way of experiencing and sharing motorcycling.

Lots of passion,
zero filters

Which situations appeal most to your community?

If I knew the kind of content that worked best for my channel, I’d just publish that every day! Joking aside, on YouTube, as with any complex job, and that includes riding a bike fast, you always need to re-innovate and re-invent yourself. Impossible challenges, like the race with the production V4 S, will always attract the audience’s attention of course, particularly if you also take them behind the scenes.

How does your online popularity affect your relationships with your team-mates and rivals on track?

I was something of an ugly duckling before I had followers. Then came sponsors, important contracts, invites to events and, inevitably, also criticism from a jealous few. Unfortunately, not everyone realises that this is the future, and that these tools can help everyone, riders and championships, to grow and find new resources.

Is there a race (on two or four wheels) that you’d like to contest and share with your followers?

Well, yes, an F1 race! No, I’m joking, let’s keep our feet on the ground. I recently competed in a 25-hour for the first time, the Fun Cup at Spa for the Unicef Next Generation. That was a fantastic experience. So, in terms of four wheels, taking part in the Le Mans 24 Hours would be incredible. And, as a motorcycle rider, I’d also like to race in WorldSBK for the first time. Who knows if the opportunity will arise?

Aside from the unfortunate ending, what do you take away from your first season aboard the Panigale V4 R?

I discovered a fantastic team, Team Barni, with whom I really got on well. And above all, I discovered a bike that is truly satisfying, and that goes very, but I mean very, fast. The icing on the cake would to be race it as a wildcard in Superbike. It’s a crazy bike, already in its production version, with which I set a track record at Cremona. That record stood for many months and the person who eventually beat it did so with a race-prepped bike. That says a lot about the incredible potential of the production Panigale V4!

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