Lüthi explains title-winning strategy
Thomas Lüthi became only Switzerland's second 125cc World Champion when he finished in ninth position at Valencia to clinch the World Championship last weekend. He joined Luigi Taveri who, back in 1962, became the first Swiss rider to have won the Championship in that class, before going on to be crowned World Champion again in 1964 and 1966.
Congratulations on winning the title, you must be overwhelmed by congratulations!
Thanks. It's true that many people have congratulated me. We shook hands with Mika Kallio on the out lap, and many KTM mechanics came to see me. And when we posed for the photo with the World Champions from the three classes, even Valentino Rossi had a kind word for me.
How were you before the most important race of your career?
As strange as it may seem, I believe I was much more nervous in Istanbul. For some reason, I was quite relaxed all day.
At what point did you think that the title was in the bag?
The race is only over when you cross the finish line, but I was already getting merry with half a lap to go. But I guess it will take time for me to realise what I have achieved.
So your plan for the race worked pretty well?
Yeah, I think so. I wanted to pull away at the start, but I quickly realized that it wasn't possible, so I had to be careful and avoid being involved in any risky dices. With three laps to go I knew that the group behind me was far enough away and I could overtake a few guys.
Isn't that going against the nature of racing? You're used to fighting for victory?
Yes of course, but this time, I had to choose between the title and a GP win. And believe me, it wasn't an easy choice.
Kallio finished the season just five points behind you? That could have been the five points lost in Qatar when he was surprised by Talmacsi?
Well, one could put it that way, but the truth is that the points could have gone different ways many times this season. I did my race knowing what I needed to do, I would have come up with a different strategy if Kallio had more points.
After all the interviews and celebrations, you'll be back on track on Wednesday to test the Honda RC211V?
I'm really pleased to have such a chance. It will be my first time on 4-stroke - I mean, that's the real thing! So I'm staying on at Valencia looking forward to this. I'll come back to Valencia two weeks later as I will compete in a round of the Spanish Championship.