Interview to Gianluca Montiron - Konica Minolta Honda Team Manager Why does the team always include a Japanese rider? My challenge was to show to the Japanese manufacturers that with good management it is possible to support the riders from...
Interview to Gianluca Montiron - Konica Minolta Honda Team Manager
Why does the team always include a Japanese rider?
My challenge was to show to the Japanese manufacturers that with good management it is possible to support the riders from the Land of the Rising Sun! It is a very ambitious project, but it can be very difficult to sell, from a commercial point of view. The MotoGP category is the top formula and for this it is very expensive. In general, the European and American riders bring with them sponsors' interest and/or receive the attention of the manufacturers for the markets they represent, in our case the situation is completely different because autonomously I need to find the economical help to support the project; for this I have to thank Konica Minolta which has believed in this adventure for the past three years.
In the near future do you intend to proceed with this project?
I'm in the racing world because I'd like to obtain first-rate sport results. If we evaluate the short period I believe our rider Shinya Nakano represents the latest generation of competitive Japanese riders. The competitive level of the Japanese championship is now not so high; this problem is an objective one. I hope the manufacturers understand its seriousness for the good of the sport of motorcycling in Japan. I'm interested in creating a valid sport programme in the medium to long term; if these conditions are not present then I'll have to revise my original plan.
Which is the sponsor situation?
If you just look at the fairing of our machine you will understand the identity of the sponsors we have and see that they are joining us for the third consecutive year. From the management point of view this represents a great success because we have obtained the trust of a worldwide company such as Konica Minolta; furthermore from this year my team is the promoter of the 2008 Road Cycle Championship and thanks to this opportunity two other giant companies have joined us for a period. In the new MotoGP era, I think innovation in all areas, including that of sponsorship, is necessary as well as creating sport and commercial interests together with all the Team Partners.
Which is your opinion about the future of the 250cc category?
I believe that at the beginning, the two different types of engine, two- stroke and four-stroke should have the possibility to race together. It's important to give stability to the technical regulations without forgetting the cost, because the maintenance of a four-stroke powerplant is more expensive than a two-stroke. Today the bike rental fee for an entire 250cc season is extremely onerous therefore it would be necessary to encourage new manufacturers to enter the category in order to have a high competitive market instead of a monopoly situation. The 250cc category must be the entry category for the future riders that want to be in the MotoGP class, you just need to see that the main championship protagonists of the MotoGP class come from this category. The reason is very simple, the two-stroke 250cc machines are more dynamic than the four- stroke 600cc vehicles, the 250cc class teaches how to ride and to set up a bike; the 125cc and 250cc classes are very constructive categories. At the same time we have to go on also with the four-stroke as it is what is mainly sold on the market; this also another good reason we have to think about, here is why I think that the two categories competing together would be beneficial for the sport as a whole.