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A Post-season Catch-up: Livio Suppo

A Post-season Catch-up: Livio Suppo

In his first season as Team Principal with Repsol Honda Team, the final result could not have been much better for Livio Suppo as the Riders’, Teams’ and Manufacturers’ titles were all sewn up. The Italian reviews his memorable 2013 year.

Although Repsol Honda could not have asked for much more in terms of overall success, Suppo - despite praising ‘unbelievable’ new World Champion Marc Marquez for his unbelievable ability - also admits that he was upset to see Dani Pedrosa missing out on the world title for another season.

Livio, 2013 has been an extremely successful year for your team with all three titles in the premier class. You were in a new role – was it as you expected?

On one side, yes, but as always there are plusses and minuses. If I want to be positive, of course Marc’s season has been really unbelievable and we are proud to beat practically all of the records in this sport, so we can be even more happy about that.

On the other side, I am really sorry because I believe Dani - once again for something that wasn’t his fault - lost the chance to fight for the championship until the end. As I said before, he finished the championship 34 points behind Marc, but in reality - if it wasn’t for the Sachsenring and Aragón - he would have probably been there; actually, not probably but for sure.

Apart from that, the team has done a good season and the technicians made a wonderful machine. We now look forward to next year. The riders (in our team) will remain the same but Jorge (Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing) will also remain very, very strong because he has also done a very good season, so it will be tough.

Let us look at your two riders. Starting with Dani Pedrosa, how have you seen him evolve as a man and a rider? He has experienced some real up and downs…

You know, once more Dani showed that he is very strong; not only on the bike but also mentally, as to recover from what happened at the Sachsenring and Aragón is not easy. He was able to have a good race in Valencia and he won at Sepang, so I am really proud to work with Dani.

And the new World Champion, Marc Marquez?

He is something fresh and new, always smiling and a wonderful character which I believe – together with his talent – is his biggest plus and will help him to have a long career. We are super happy.

For 2014, Marquez will be drafting in several of his old Moto2™ crew. Could you explain some of the personnel changes on his side of the garage?

There is no big change. At the end of the day, technicians are linked to the riders and almost all who worked with Marc this season had come to HRC because of Casey (Stoner). So, riders and mechanics are used to these kinds of things. Anyway, we have found good jobs for all of them in HRC – not all in the Factory team but, anyway, we are happy, they are happy and Marc is happy to have these new people around him.

I have been around in this world for many, many years [smiles], but I have never seen a rider who needs to be so close to his team. He always has dinner with his mechanics in the hospitality on Sunday nights; he really needs to have this family around him, and that helps a lot in the difficult moments. As I have said many times, at Phillip Island it would have been easy for him to get nervous or disappointed with his team because of the mistake, but in reality he was the one who kept the team strong and motivated before going on to win the championship.

As we have tried to explain, we believe that his (current) technicians are very good and that they are doing a good job, but once you see the rider so convinced - and of course we believe that the level of the technicians he wants to bring in are good enough - then there is no reason not to have them.

Some of the other guys, such as Christian Gabbarini, will now be working more on the new RCV1000R bike (formerly known as the ‘Production Racer’)…

Christian used to be a Crew Chief…now, for next year, there is the new RCV1000R project which is a very important project for HRC. So, together with Bruno Leoni who was Marc’s Chief Mechanic, they will be responsible for that new project.

There are more new challenges too, such as Factory bikes being forced to run a maximum 20 litres of fuel. That is going to be quite a big difference, isn’t it?

For sure but, thank God, the Honda technology is very good and, also, don’t forget we that we have been working together with Repsol for 20 years. That helps, of course, because our technicians have been working with them for a long time and for sure that will help to find the best fuel to help the engine to finish the race.

Well, congratulations on an amazing year! Is there a good holiday plan now?

[Laughs] Not yet! We still have many things to do. Anyway, Christmas time is coming!

MotoGP, 2014, Repsol Honda Team

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