When seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher showed up to take a ride on the back of the Ducati X2 at Mugello in 2006, veteran racer Randy Mamola said it came as a surprise. Watching this video in 2022, it almost seems like a fever dream—and sure enough, there’s even a moment when Valentino Rossi waves to the camera from the sidelines. This HAS to be some kind of strange dream, right?
Except, of course, this is archival video footage—and it was not a dream. Schumi really did show up at Mugello in early August, 2006, with very little fanfare, and extremely eager to hop on the pillion seat of the Ducati X2.
“I heard a rumor that he was coming on Friday, but this rumor wasn't coming from the Italian press or from Ferrari, so we didn't know whether it was true or not, and then on Saturday I heard that he was riding down from Switzerland,” Mamola later told Eurosport.
"Mick Doohan also mentioned that he was coming. They are very good friends because when Michael goes the Australian Grand Prix, he stays at Mick's place, so he mentioned that Michael was coming before going back home on Saturday,” he went on.
"It was only at 9:30 on the Sunday morning that we knew that he was coming on his Harley and at 09:45 we have the warm-up and I was getting ready because we already had three booked passengers before the 125cc race at 11 a.m. When I went into the garage to put my leathers on, I saw Michael standing there and he said to me that he wanted to go out on the two-seat bike,” Mamola said.
The video footage you see here is unique not only because of what is happening—but also because it appears to simply be footage that was shot on the day, with absolutely no commentary. Only ambient sounds are present—which almost lends another quality of unreality to the proceedings, even though of course we’re simply seeing things unfold as they happened.
The sound of the bike is, of course, incredible—and enthralling to witness, particularly if you have a good set of headphones. Once Schumi is comfortably situated on the pillion seat, and has secured his grip so that he can hang on while Mamola pilots the bike, Mamola then proceeds to do a B I G wheelie to start the lap.
Then, he starts pushing through the corners, which he later said he wanted to do in order to show what the bike was capable of. Toward the end, there’s time for another wheelie—and also even a nice stoppie to round off the entire experience and park the bike. After everyone’s off the bike and helmets are removed, Schumi presents Mamola with one of his racing helmets, for Mamola’s collection. All in all, it’s an amazing piece of history, trapped in amber (or video, same thing) for fans past, present, and future to enjoy.