Team Prin­ci­pal of HRC Honda’s Mo­togp squad, Suppo talks Dom­i­na­tors, Africa Twins, and grab­bing a ride on the men­tal NSR500 two-stroke

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

What was your first bike?

I had my first bike when I was 11, but my first real bike was a Mon­tesa Cota 49. I have rid­den all my life, I did some mo­tocross at the be­gin­ning and then some en­duro rac­ing in my lo­cal area, it was more the pas­sion than the tal­ent but it was enough to en­joy!

What are you rid­ing now?

I have a 1988 Honda Dom­i­na­tor, to­tally mod­i­fied – it’s in­spired by a more mo­tocross style. I re­ally like it, even if I don’t use it much! When I worked at Du­cati with Casey Stoner and he won the 2007 ti­tle I wanted to buy an old Du­cati Scram­bler, but then I thought at the end of the day it’d be a bike you’d never use as it’s dif­fi­cult to start with poor brakes.

Then at Honda, when Casey won in 2012 I wanted to do a bike to cel­e­brate this. I thought the Dom­i­na­tor was a good start­ing point be­cause while it’s quite old, it al­ready has an elec­tric starter, disc brakes, a good chas­sis and on top of this it had some good mem­o­ries for me as I had owned a Dom­i­na­tor back in 1988!

Do you get to ride much?

Un­for­tu­nately, I do not ride much at all. I fin­ished that bike at the end of 2012 and I think it now has 1000km (650 miles) on it so ba­si­cally noth­ing. I’m 52 years old and have a fam­ily so when I am al­ready al­ways around mo­tor­bikes for my job, in my free time I pre­fer to spend with my fam­ily or go out rid­ing on the bi­cy­cle.

What ma­chines would you most like to buy for your­self?

At the mo­ment I would like to buy WILDEST RIDE

Doohan’s NSR500

‘Crazy. It was re­ally im­pres­sive’ they build are some­thing spe­cial. I find them very easy to ride. These days ev­ery­body seems to be look­ing for the top level of per­for­mance but at the end of the day we are hu­man and there are very few hu­mans who can ride that kind of bike, so for me some­thing like the Africa Twin is great!

As a team boss it must be tempt­ing to get out there on the race bikes…

I have not rid­den the RCV! When I was younger, way back in 1995, I had the chance to do a few laps in Barcelona on Mick Doohan’s NSR500. The year af­ter in 1996 in Eastern Creek, I did a few more laps on it and it was crazy. It was a re­ally im­pres­sive bike. It was at a jour­nal­ist test and I was able to ride it as a spon­sor as at the time I was work­ing for Benet­ton. I was re­ally wor­ried that I would stall it when the me­chan­ics pushed me off and I just re­mem­ber the feel­ing of the me­chanic push­ing me, jump­ing on the seat and then leav­ing the pit­lane. And I was then sur­prised as the bike was re­ally easy to ride at first but as the RPM went up it was like a rocket!

What do you have in the garage if you run the Rep­sol Honda squad? An old Honda Dom­i­na­tor, nat­u­rally Cruise your way through sum­mer

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