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Paul Denning: "let's hope we've left the bad luck behind"

Paul Denning: 'let's hope we've left the bad luck behind'

Paul Denning: "let's hope we've left the bad luck behind"

The end of the 2004 season saw a change of management for Team Suzuki MotoGP as manager Gary Taylor retired after serving the team for some 20 years and was replaced by successful British Superbike manager Paul Denning.

Denning – one of the youngest team managers in MotoGP history at just 38 years of age – joined the Suzuki team after a successful 2004 season that saw him lead the Rizla Suzuki team to victory in the British Superbike Championship.

The signing gave new hope to Team Suzuki MotoGP, which had been struggling since the Kenny Roberts victory back in 2000, and it was supposed that Denning would add a new dynamic and give a new lease of life to the team – an incentive that saw John Hopkins renew his Suzuki contract for 2005.

With four MotoGP Grand Prix races under his belt, Denning has worked hard with a ‘hands on' approach to change the team direction. The team has made some positive progress with the bike and the both riders have been shinning in the test sessions and qualifying practices. However, despite the progress, the riders still have not been able to achieve the results that the team so desperately desires. Following a bad-luck combination of bad weather and mechanical problems, Paul Denning talks about his move to the MotoGP and the team's agenda for change.

Q: How did you find the transition from Superbike to MotoGP?

A: The transition wasn't too difficult – it's basically all the same but just on a bigger scale, especially the logistical side of things. Suzuki has been great and provided a lot of support and the team has been very easy to work with. One of the toughest things, actually, has been the weather at the last few races – even the British weather was better.

Q: Since the start of the season we have witness both riders do well in practice and test sessions, but that doesn't seem to be materialising into successful GP results – what has been the main problem?

A: So far this season both riders have shown far more potential than in 2004 – but unfortunately the results have been the same. One of the problems has been not having enough time to properly test the bikes after some of the adjustments.

Q: What is the team's agenda for change?

A: We need to improve! We had bad luck with Kenny at Shanghai and with John at Le Mans when he had to start from the pit lane after engine trouble – we need to move on! We've been working on the bike and made some positive developments. We just hope they will start to pay off soon.

Q: What aspects of the bike have you been focusing on?

A: We tested a new chassis in Le Mans and it felt good; but we are not focusing solely on one or to aspects of the bike, but the package as a whole. As for the tyres, the Bridgestones are working well for us.

Can we expect to see a Team Suzuki MotoGP comeback at Mugello for the Italian GP?

I'm not sure about a comeback, but you never know. John led in the early stages of the Shanghai race; he later slid out due to the wet weather. Kenny was leading the race when he suffered engine trouble – so who knows what could have happened there. We certainly do hope to make some progress at Mugello, at least get back up there with the others. Let's just hope we've left the bad luck and the rain at Le Mans!

MotoGP, 2005

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