Triumph Chief Product Officer Steve Sargent and Dorna Managing Director Carlos Ezpeleta attended a conference organized by Triumph today to talk and discuss the Moto2 project. The English 3-cylinder engine landed in Moto2 two years ago and almost revolutionized the middle class. Next year will be the turn of the British Superbike and 2022 of the Supersport 600 world championship. In 2020 the Triumph Triple Trophy, won by Marco Bezzecchi, has also come to life, which has brought greater visibility to the project married to Dorna. Precisely for these reasons the competition will be repeated in 2021.
Steve, you are the leader of this Triumph project, what were your impressions of the 2020 season and what do you expect from the 2021 one?
Steve Sargent: “First of all, I think this season has been a roller coaster of emotions for everyone and for several reasons. At the beginning of the season I was just hoping to fly to Qatar, then the first restrictions came and at the last minute we decided not to get on the plane. Immediately after the Qatar Grand Prix, I began to wonder what was going to happen. With Dorna we kept thinking it would be a great season and a fantastic experience. I have to thank Dorna especially for the organization and for making it possible to have a championship. I think it was a great result to be able to organize fifteen Grands Prix, especially from a logistical point of view. When the races finally started, we witnessed an incredible and exciting season. They have always been very tight just think of Luca Marini, who was part of our project, or Sam Lowes. There were obviously some crashes but I think we were always competitive in every race. In a championship, making races like, for example, the one in Portugal is really exciting. For all these reasons I think it has been a great season for Moto2 and I would like to thank Dorna for making it possible”.
What did Triumph’s contribution to Moto2 mean for Dorna?
Carlos Ezpeleta: “Our project with Triumph started three years ago, we all know that they are an emerging manufacturer. I think Triumph’s character goes perfectly with the spirit of racing. The steps that have been taken in technical and performance terms between the various categories, from Moto3 to Moto2 and from Moto2 to MotoGP, are an important factor. We are really happy with this project with Triumph. It is difficult to explain but in these first two years together we have not had any kind of problem and we have gone beyond expectations, so for this reason we are really satisfied. From the very first tests with the bikes at the beginning of 2019, the teams were also ecstatic. However, 2019 was a year that allowed us to learn and luckily, we managed to have a season before this 2020 which, as Steve said, was a challenge for everyone. Thanks to Triumph because they have always been available from Qatar and have also helped us from home given the restrictions. I am satisfied, the results speak for themselves, we had four title contenders and everything was decided at the last race. The most important thing is the quality, obviously the reliability of the engine will improve. This is one of the main points of the project we have with Triumph. Giving the title to the last corner of the last Grand Prix was just what we wanted to see”.
What can you tell us about Triumph’s commitment to British Superbike next year and Supersport in 2022?
Steve Sargent: “Obviously we are in the second season in Moto2 and we have collected a lot of data on the engine. We were able to collect information from each session of the various race weekends, when the engines reached the end of their life-cycle they were returned to the factory to be studied. I can say that the guys who used these engines in the championship pushed really hard. We decided to take a step forward next season with entry into British Superbike and Supersport 600 the following year, the basis will be that of the road engine and therefore the same as that used in Moto2. I think that the results collected in these two years could be important for the development of the engine in another championship”.
What are the next development plans?
Steve Sargent: “On the electronic aspect from the beginning of 2019 to today many things still need to be developed. From the point of view of the engine, I cannot talk about specific changes but we will have to take a step forward in view of the coming years”.
Engine reliability has been fantastic since last year. Steve what were your expectations?
Steve Sargent: “We are really satisfied in terms of engine reliability. Obviously, we are talking about a project on which we have a lot of experience, in fact it derives from the one used on the Daytona 675. We have travelled miles to test it, we have spent many hours in testing and of course we have used this engine in Supersport in the past. When we arrived in Moto2, we had high expectations on reliability and had a test program to be carried out many months before the races. So actually these aspects were not a huge surprise because it was something we worked on a lot”.
Speaking of the difference between Moto2 and MotoGP, what were the feelings of the riders who made this leap in the category?
Carlos Ezpeleta: “I think the bikes and the level of the two categories are very different from each other. This may be more of a question about all three classes. As for the technical and electronic aspects, before the introduction of Triumph, I think Moto2 was closer to Moto3. With Triumph everyone had a positive reaction at the beginning. I spoke to some MotoGP team managers and they are all very happy with the riders who come from the Moto2. The results of the drivers who have made this move have been good in the past. The step forward for electronics is great, but the feedback has always been positive”.
What will be the differences in Superbike with the new features that will be introduced?
Carlos Ezpeleta: “At the moment it cannot be said, but the Superbike philosophy is clear enough and will remain so. There will be some minor changes to the road products. For Dorna it is a big goal that people can ride the bikes they see racing on Sunday. We will try to keep the bikes accessible so that the fans are close to the races. I don’t think the speech will be the same as for Moto2”.
How long should we wait before we can see the Triumph engine in the Spanish or Italian national championships?
Carlos Ezpeleta: “There is an intention to introduce the engine in BSB next year and there is the plan with Dorna to introduce it later in Supersport 600 in 2022. We also wanted to bring it to CEV in 2021 but due to the pandemic we had some difficulties and so we will have to wait”.