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Honda Motor Company president Takeo Fukui

Honda Motor Company president Takeo Fukui

Honda Motor Company president Takeo Fukui

Honda Motor Company president Takeo Fukui was at the Estoril circuit last weekend to witness for himself Valentino Rossi's Yamaha revolution and watch the Italian rider take another step towards maintaining the title he won for Honda three times in a row. Fukui-san, the man behind the 1973 Honda Civic and the head of the engineers that created the NR500 in 1979, spoke frankly about the plight of the Honda riders in the MotoGP World Championship this season and admitted the factory were missing Rossi.

Q: Why are you here?

TF: I come to motivate all Honda riders, meaning to energise them to get better results.

Q: Do you think they're not doing enough?

TF: I think so, especially in MotoGP

Q: Were you expecting better results?

TF: Yes, I think this years conditions are very severe.

Q: Were you involved in the decision about which Honda team does development?

TF: For us the current situation is not reasonable. Basically, the works team should be top level, but at this moment it's different and there are a lot of reasons for that. HRC is now thinking about 2005 but at the moment I can't tell you what will happen except that the works team should be top.

Q: What do you think about Max Biaggi? Do you think he's got the racing and personal characteristics for your factory team?

TF: Hmm, I think so.

Q: The season is coming to end, what's your feeling about team orders?

TF: Personally I don't like them. They use them in F1, but I don't like. We won't make orders, I would prefer to lose the championship rather than use team orders.

Q: Are you missing Rossi?

TF: Yes, (laughing). But it was his decision, we can't do anything about that. We did everything we could do but he chose his own way.

Q: Do you think that losing Jeremy Burgess and the rest of the crew was very bad for Honda?

TF: Yes, but we couldn't keep them.

Q: Will you give special support to a Japanese rider like Tamada?

TF: Tamada has potential, but Biaggi also, Sete also, so we're not yet decided. We will decide two works rider from our six riders.

Q: Will you keep Nicky Hayden?

TF: Mmm, yes.

Q: Who's you favourite Honda rider of the past?

TF: Freddie (Spencer). I need Freddie now!

Q: Ducati is making a Desmosedici streetbike and there are also heard rumours that Yamaha will make an M1 replica. Do you any plans for an RCV replica?

TF: At the moment we have no plan, but I'm sure we will in the future, if you request!

MotoGP, 2004

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