Ducati has not only unveiled new motorcycles at EICMA. No, because the Borgo Panigale manufacturer has also presented the MG-RR, or rather an exclusive enduro e-mtb born out of collaboration with Italian firm Thok Ebikes. Also involved in the project is Livio Suppo, who concluded his adventure as Honda team principal last season.
"We've created an Enduro bike using very prestigious components – he comments – this is a first step towards a high-level sector in the world of mountain bikes for Ducati and Thok. Stefano Migliorini created it two years ago and I am helping him to find partnerships at an international level”.
Many riders are passionate about mountain biking, Jorge Lorenzo for example, who often uses it when training. When will we see him with a MG-RR?
“We'll have to move fast – jokes Suppo - the bike isn't available yet but if he'd like to try it, he can of course. As we all know, Jorge will soon embark on a new adventure, and I wish him the best of luck. He's done very well in Ducati I have to say, also because after the 2017 season I would not have bet on that kind of improvement. He did well to adapt to the Ducati in the end, and now the Honda awaits, a big challenge in that he'll have the same bike as Marquez”.
You mention the Honda, a bike that seems tailor made for Marc. Is that the case?
“In 2018 the Honda has definitely grown and Dani also said so before retiring, Crutchlow's results further confirming this. Like all bikes, it has strengths and weaknesses, which are different to the Ducati. We'll need to see how long it takes Jorge to adapt. It took him a long white with the Ducati, because he was coming from a very different bike, the Yamaha. The Honda and Ducati are probably more similar and he'll struggle less. But it will be tough to beat Marquez of course”.
What has most impressed us about Marc this season is his continual presence in the top three.
“Jorge was very consistent in Yamaha, so if he can adapt quickly to the bike he'll be a troublesome team-mate. I'm sure that the fans can't wait for the season to get going. I think it will be an interesting championship, let's not forget Dovi of course, the true antagonist to Marquez. I expect him to have a great year on the Ducati, the best performing bike on the grid right now. I also hope Petrucci can put the tough times behind him, perhaps he's worried about having to take Lorenzo's place but he has the ability to do well. His is a great story too, having worked his way through the ranks all the way to the factory bike”.
Back to Lorenzo, what advice would you give him as he embarks on this new adventure?
“Jorge has been in MotoGP since 2006 and he has the experience he needs. Sometimes it's hard to give advice, also because you risk being proved wrong. As I said, I couldn't have imagined he's achieve some of what he did on the Ducati and I hope he can do the same with the Honda. I also hope that Yamaha is able to turn things around”.
This season, Valentino has often complained about the organisation in Yamaha. How useful would it be to have someone like Livio Suppo on the team?
“It's hard to say when you're not inside the company. The Yamaha has been struggling since last year and this year there have been more lows than highs. As a fan, I hope they get back to being fast and competitive in 2019”