Archive - Interview

May 22nd, 2012

Miller Motorsports Park Press Release: 5 Questions With Sylvain Guintoli

Miller Motorsports Park organized a phone-in press conference with Effenbert Liberty rider Sylvain Guintoli ahead of the US round of World Superbikes, scheduled to take place this weekend. Questions Guintoli fielded questions about injuries, the benefits of staying with the same team for more than one season, and the most important lessons he learned racing a private 250. 

Below is the press release interview from Miller Motorsports Park:

Miller Motorsports Park Presents: Five Questions with Sylvain Guintoli

A Frenchman on an Italian bike for a Czech team breaks through in the Netherlands

TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (May 18, 2012) — Miller Motorsports Park will again host the USA Round of the FIM Superbike World Championship on The BigM Weekend, May 26-28. As was the case last year, we will visit with race winners and other notable riders participating in the championship after each race during the 2012 season leading up to The BigM Weekend and bring you a new chapter in the “Five Questions with” series.

The subject of our second installment of the season is 29-year-old Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli, who rides the No. 50 Ducati 1098R for the Czech Republic-based Team Effenbert Liberty Racing. Sylvain started out in the 250 GP class in 2000, racing there through 2006 with a one-off MotoGP ride in 2002. He moved up to MotoGP full-time in 2007 through 2008. Unable to find a MotoGP ride in 2009, he switched to the British Superbike Championship, but jumped to World Superbike later that year with Suzuki when Max Neukirchner left to join Honda. His first full season in WSBK was 2010, and he finished seventh in the championship on the Suzuki. He moved to Team Effenbert Liberty Racing’s Ducatis in 2011, and finished sixth in the title chase despite having to come back from a serious accident in the first round of the season. This year he scored his first series win at Assen, where his wet-weather skills helped immensely.

May 17th

Casey Stoner Explains His Decision To Retire To The Press At Le Mans

At the press conference at Le Mans, where Casey Stoner made the shock announcement of his retirement, Stoner answered questions from journalists present about his decision to retire at the end of the 2012 season. You can find his original statement in this story, but below is a transcript of what Stoner told journalists when they were given a chance to question the Australian about his retirement.

Q: You said you are disappointed in things, would you mind elaborating a bit. Are you talking about the CRT, or the control tires? The things that have annoyed you a bit recently?

It's not just annoying me. I've been watching this championship for a long time, and it's very easy to see what works and what doesn't. This championship and everything that I've worked towards to get here, it's been a huge dream of mine, and then you get here, you race for a few years, and you realize a lot of things, whether it's people having no faith in you, whether it's people not believing in your talent, or the changes that have happened to the championship.

BMW WSBK Press Release: Marco Melandri And Leon Haslam Talk About BMW's First 1-2 Finish in WSBK

BMW have been waiting for a win in World Superbikes for a long time. Ever since they entered the series in 2009, the German factory has been edging ever closer to podiums and a victory, but they have always proved elusive. At Donington, they finally got what they had been waiting for for so long, and more: Not only did Marco Melandri become the first ever rider to win a World Superbike race on a BMW, but his teammate Leon Haslam finished 2nd, making it a historic 1-2. The duo could even have repeated the feat in the second race at the British track, if not for some rather excessively enthusiastic riding on the part of the two leaders and Johnny Rea.

After the victory, BMW issued a press release containing an interview with Melandri and Haslam, talking about their historic result at Donington. It is reproduced below:

After the first one-two: Double-interview with Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam.

May 14th

Mike Webb On Cheating In Moto2: "If Anyone Is Cheating, They're Not Very Good At It"

Cheating in motorsports is as old as the sport itself. Whenever powered vehicles gather together to race each other, then someone, somewhere, will try to gain an advantage, either within the rules or, if that is not successful, outside of the rules. In all classes, and at all times, teams, engineers and riders have all tried to cheat in one way or another. Even the imposition of a spec engine in the Moto2 class hasn't prevented teams trying to cheat, and the paddock is awash with rumors regarding which teams are cheating and which teams are not.

The finger of blame is inevitably pointed at the most successful riders, and in recent months, it has been pointed mainly at Catalunya CX rider Marc Marquez. Marquez has a number of strikes against him, making him a popular target for rumors of cheating; firstly, Marquez is Spanish, and as Moto2 is a Spanish-run series, the non-Spanish teams are all fervently convinced that Spanish teams are not monitored as closely as they are. Secondly, Marquez has the backing of Repsol, one of the more powerful sponsors in the paddock, exerting influence not just over Marquez' Monlau Competicion team, but also over the much more important factory Repsol Honda team; the power of Repsol, the gossips suggest, exerts undue influence on the policing process. Thirdly, and most obviously, Marquez is fast, almost suspiciously so. The Spaniard's bike is always one of the fastest through the speed traps, and accelerates hardest off the corners. His team put it down to hard work at finding exactly the right set up for Marquez to excel. One of the lighter Moto2 riders on a well-prepared bike, ridden by a fast and talented rider? That, Marquez' supporters argue, is reason enough for him to be fastest.

To find out more about the situation, and what Dorna and the scrutineers are doing to address these concerns, I spoke to Race Director - and formerly Technical Director - Mike Webb at Estoril. I passed on the concerns that others had expressed to me about cheating in Moto2, and he explained to me exactly what Dorna are doing to monitor the bikes and ensure that cheating is kept to an absolute minimum, and that if it is happening, it does not pay. Here is what Webb had to say:

May 9th

Duo Interview: Jorge Lorenzo And Crew Chief Ramon Forcada On Working Together

One of the most fascinating areas of MotoGP is the relationship between rider and crew chief. The way that those two individuals communcate and interact can be the difference between winning championships and riding around in mid-pack. Riders need a massive amount of talent to go fast, but they also need to understand what the bike is doing underneath them and be able to communicate that to their chief engineer. Likewise, crew chiefs have to have a solid grounding in race bike physics and an understanding of how to make a machine that is capable of lapping very fast, but they also need to be able to listen to what their rider is really saying, and understand what he needs to allow him to go fast.

It is a subject that has fascinated me for a long time. At Estoril, I had the chance to interview Jorge Lorenzo together with his crew chief Ramon Forcada. 2010 World Champion Lorenzo came into MotoGP off the back of two 250cc world championships in 2006 and 2007, and was joined by Forcada, a 20-year veteran of the Grand Prix paddock, in the factory Yamaha team. Both men were known for their ability, but they had to find a way to work together to get the best out of the relationship, and out of the Yamaha M1. Here is what they had to say about how that relationship works:

April 12th

Casey Stoner Explains How To Slide a MotoGP Bike

Casey Stoner sliding a bike at Mugello

One of the great pleasures in watching Casey Stoner ride a MotoGP machine is the controlled way in which he manages to slide the bike through the corners. In an era when the spectacular slides once so beloved by fans have been tamed by electronic intervention, Stoner has managed to convince his engineers to limit the electronics sufficiently to give him enough control to slide the bike to help get it turned. 

His ability has fascinated both fans and journalists around the world, and many have tried to get him to explain how he does it, but Stoner himself has always found it very hard to say exactly what he is doing. At Qatar, a group of journalists - including - pressed the Repsol Honda rider again to explain exactly where and when he chooses to slide the rear, and what benefits it provides. Though he protested it was hard - "It's really difficult to explain, so many people have asked me," he said - he went on to talk at length about what he does and why.

March 30th

Jorge Martinez: "With Softer Tires, Our CRT Aprilia Would Be Ahead of Several MotoGP bikes"

Just after the official launch of MotoGP 2012 Aspar team in Madrid, spoke to Spanish 125 and 80 cc former world champion Jorge Martinez Aspar, general manager of one of only two teams in the MotoGP World Championship with a presence in MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 classes in the 2012 season. Being also one of the few teams in 2012 entered under the MotoGP CRT technical rules, fielding riders riders Randy De Puniet and Aleix Esparago on Aprilia’s ART bikes, the Aspar team is also in the front line of trying to demonstrate that CRT is the right formula to ensure that MotoGP sees a return to full grids.

March 28th

Lin Jarvis: MotoGP Must Look to Asia, South America for Growth

One subject has dominated the past three years of MotoGP, and indeed all of motorcycle racing. Despite some thrilling racing, technical innovation and both fascinating and tragic stories, the main topic of conversation among those involved in motorcycle racing has been how to cut costs. A raft of new regulations have been introduced, and even more radical changes are currently under discussion for the next few years.

At the official presentation of Yamaha's 2012 MotoGP campaign, Yamaha Racing Managing Director Lin Jarvis spoke to about the need for MotoGP to shift its focus, from just tinkering with the technical regulations to trying to expand its audience base and generate more income, taking advantage of new media and a more international audience to tap into new markets and more potential sponsors. "The technical regulations are very, very important, and bringing costs down is very important," Jarvis told us. "But the other thing is how to increase the popularity of the sport, and increase the revenue. Just saving costs is still shrinking."

March 17th

Shuhei Nakamoto Interview: On CRT, Spec ECUs and Cost-Cutting in MotoGP

With the cost of racing exploding out of control, factories pulling out and teams unable to afford the rising lease prices demanded for a satellite bike, proposals and rule changes have been coming thick and fast to try to contain costs in MotoGP. The Claiming Rule Teams regulations have already seen the grid expand to accommodate teams running machines using production-based engines, and Dorna, the manufacturers, the teams and the FIM are discussing a range of proposals to cut costs further, including a mandatory standard ECU and a maximum rev limit.

At the Valencia tests in November, spoke to HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto about how Honda views these proposals, and whether he believes they will cut costs. As the leading manufacturer in the MSMA, the association representing the factories in MotoGP, Honda has a powerful voice in the negotiations, and in the past has been instrumental in pushing through rule changes. Now that the MSMA appears to have lost its monopoly on writing the technical regulations for MotoGP, Nakamoto, along with the other factory bosses, is having to offer counterproposals to the suggestions put forward by Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta.

We first asked Nakamoto what he thought of the CRT concept itself, and the HRC boss was remarkably positive. "I think the CRT concept is a very good idea," Nakamoto said, adding the caveat that it was too early to make any real judgment, as at the time we spoke to Nakamoto, the CRT machines had only just taken to the track for the first time.

March 15th

Honda Press Release: Fausto Gresini Talks About Team Ownership, Alvaro Bautista and CRT

Honda Racing released the following press release, containing a fascinating interview with San Carlo Honda Gresini team manager Fausto Gresini. In the interview, Gresini talks about the decision to stop racing and become a team manager, explains why he chose Spanish rider Alvaro Bautista instead of another Italian rider to replace Marco Simoncelli, tragically killed at Sepang, and why he believes the CRT bikes are a necessity. Here is the interview:

Interview - Fausto Gresini - Team Manager - Gresini Honda

Fausto Gresini is the most successful team owner in the history of MotoGP racing. His story as a team owner begins three years after the two-time 125cc World Champion retired from racing in 1994. It was then that he made the transition, focusing the drive and ambition that he displayed as a rider on team ownership. At the start, the Italian worked with veterans-Alex Barros and Loris Capirossi-but it is his work mentoring young riders where he has had some of his greatest impact.

In 2001, his fifth year as a team owner, Gresini won his first World championship with Daijiro Kato in the 250cc class. But the rising and likeable Japanese star would not be given time to show his true potential; his career and life were cut short as a result of injuries suffered in a crash in the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Nine years later, Kato remains a strong presence within Gresini Racing; his 2001 title-winning Honda NSR250 and his 2003 Honda RC211V sit in the conference room of the team’s race shop in San Clemente, near Riccione, Italy.

March 13th

Interview: FTR's Mark Taylor on Aerodynamics and Air Intakes

The following interview was conducted with Mark Taylor of FTR Moto2 early in 2011. visited FTR's factory in Buckingham last year and spoke to Taylor about the development of the British Moto2 chassis builder's radically revised fairing, and the role of computational fluid dynamics in designing and verifying the aero packages of racing motorcycles. Taylor and FTR graciously discussed their work in some depth, and offered us a glimpse into exactly what goes into designing a racing motorcycle.

When the 2011 FTR Moto2 machine made its debut at the Valencia Moto2 tests at the start of last year, the one thing that caught the eye was the seemingly huge circular air intake on the front of the bike. The large hole, quickly dubbed "the gaping maw", was a radical departure from the current paddock fashion of letterbox-style air intakes, with long, thin, and often nipped in the middle the shape gracing most racing motorcycles at present.

So why did FTR decide to buck the trend and go with the great big hole on the front of the fairing? We spoke to FTR's engineering guru Mark Taylor at the Moto2 chassis manufacturer's Buckinghamshire base and put exactly that question to him.

March 6th

Miller Motorsports Park Press Release: 5 Questions With Carlos Checa

Miller Motorsports Park issued the following press release, featuring five questions posed by leading racing journalists to 2011 World Superbike champion Carlos Checa:

Miller Motorsports Park Presents: Five Questions with Carlos Checa

A chat with the reigning Superbike World Champion

TOOELE VALLEY, UTAH (March 6, 2012) - Miller Motorsports Park will again host the USA Round of the FIM Superbike World Championship on Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28. As was the case last year, we will visit with race winners and other notable riders participating in the championship after each race during the 2012 season leading up to the series’ return to Utah and bring you a new chapter in the “Five Questions with” series. We will solicit questions from leading motorcycle racing journalists and, starting with the next installment, from our fans via Facebook.

February 20th

Honda Press Release: Interview With Casey Stoner, On The 1000s, Parenthood, Defending Titles And Laguna Seca

The Repsol Honda MotoGP team has a small army of press officers working for them. In addition to the PR person assigned to each rider, as is common for all of the factory MotoGP riders, Honda also has PR people from Spanish petroleum sponsor Repsol, as well as their Honda Pro Racing arm, aimed at providing press information for all of the Japanese giant's racing activities. 

The good news for race fans is that the army of press officers also generate a small mountain of press releases, interviews and other information. Today, Honda provided the transcript of an interview produced with the 2011 World Champion Casey Stoner, conducted during the first Sepang test at the beginning of February. The interview provides a fascinating insight into the mind of the Australian, and his thoughts on racing and life. In the interview, Stoner discusses how the new 1000s are different from the 800s, whether the racing will change much, the challenges he faced defending his first title and interestingly, the differences between his legendary clash with Valentino Rossi at Laguna Seca in 2008, and the move that amazed even Kevin Schwantz, Stoner's pass on Jorge Lorenzo at the terrifying Turn 1 in 2011 at the same circuit.

Below is the interview, in the form of a press release, as issued by the Honda Pro Racing service:

February 9th

BMW WSBK Press Release: Team Boss Andrea Dosoli Talks About 2012

With the 2012 World Superbike season just over two weeks away, preparations are ramping up for the return of racing. As part of those preparations, BMW issued a press release interview with their new Head of Race Operations, Andrea Dosoli. Dosoli came to BMW from Yamaha, along with Marco Melandri, who he had previously worked with at the Hayate team formed when Kawasaki officially pulled out of MotoGP in 2009. In the interview, Dosoli covers a lot of ground, including his impression of BMW's World Superbike effort, his role within the team, his expectations of the BMW S1000RR machine and his hopes for riders Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam.

Below is the text of the interview, issued by BMW:

Interview with Andrea Dosoli: “BMW Motorrad Motorsport has a lot of potential in many areas.”

February 6th

Repsol Press Release: Interview With Casey Stoner After The Sepang Test

In the second of the two interviews which the Repsol Media Service put out with the Repsol Honda MotoGP riders after the test at Sepang, Casey Stoner gets a chance to answer a few questions. Like Pedrosa, Stoner talks about the differences and similarities of riding the new 1000cc MotoGP bikes when compared to the old 800s, as well as the extra weight that has been added to the bikes. But the Australian also talks about the role that fuel consumption is likely to play with the new, larger capacity bikes running the same amount of fuel as the 800s, and he denies that becoming a father will have any effect on his speed.

Below is the press release interview with Stoner, as sent out by Repsol:

"It's crucial that Honda and Repsol work together to get the same performance out of less consumption"

Reigning MotoGP World Champion, Casey Stoner, prepares for his second season in Repsol and Honda colours onboard the 1000cc RC213V