Livio Suppo: backing Casey & Dani, but Yamaha are strong
The Repsol Team 2012 presentation in Madrid on Saturday featured a cast of important characters, including Repsol Honda Team MotoGPÃ¢â€žÂ¢ riders, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa. HRC Communication and Marketing Director, Livio Suppo, was present in support of his riders and took time out to share his opinions with motogp.com about the upcoming season in the premier category.
The Italian believes that the two Repsol Honda riders will be strong contenders for the championship title this year, saying: “Of course, when you are the title defender, you should try to repeat (the title win). ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always more difficult to try to repeat. But I think both riders can try for the title. Last year Casey did an unbelievable job, but Dani also would have been able to fight for the title if it were not for what happened at Le Mans. We just need some luck with injuries; they both have potential.”
Following two successful winter tests in SepangÃ¢â‚¬â€which saw Stoner in the lead at the closing of bothÃ¢â‚¬â€Suppo indicated that the new 1000cc bike will be tough to beat. He remarked that development of the RC213V continues smoothly, saying “Both Dani and Casey were very fast in the winter tests and quite comfortable on the new bike. We know winter tests are not great guides to who will win, but the new bike development has gone well since the first test last year. There are some chatter issues with the new tires, but it is the same for everyone.”
Assessing the competition for the year, HRC Communication and Marketing Director believes Yamaha will be a strong rival, though if Sepang test times are the only indicators, they may not be reliable. “Yamaha seems to be very fast, especially in Sepang. But donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t forget if you look at times from last year in Sepang, Jorge (Lorenzo) was also very competitive and consistent.”
Suppo continued with his observation of Yamaha and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s riders for the year ahead, saying: “Last year Yamaha was very strong–Ben (Spies) had less experience, but with one more year he will be more competitive. This year, in terms of riders, Yamaha is very strong. And Dovizioso has done a great job in the past.”
As for predictions how the other manufacturers will do in the 2012 season, SuppoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s answer was discreet. “I think the championship this year will remain the same, like the last few years, with Casey, Dani and Jorge fighting for the top positions.”