24 September 2013
“I lost a lot of blood during surgery and wasn't in good shape. I was even asking myself if I was doing the right thing. Then I saw the other riders racing and testing and I just felt I could still do it. More importantly, I just wanted to go out and beat them!” - Thomas Luthi.
By Christian Tiburtius
An exclusive interview with Moto2 star Thomas Luthi.
The former 125cc world champion missed the end of pre-season testing and the opening rounds of this season due to a serious arm injury.
The Swiss Interwetten Suter rider, 27, has since taken three podium finishes and is eighth in the world championship standings heading into this weekend's Aragon round…
There are no race tracks in Switzerland, how do you start racing there?
Yeah, it's a pity that we don't have any tracks. I think I did it in a rather unusual way, in Switzerland we have a pocket bike championship and it happens in commercial car parks and kart tracks. You don't have any chance to make the step up to 125's or bigger bikes in Switzerland though.
After that I took part in the German championship. I lived and went to school in Switzerland but travelled a lot. I got every Friday off from school, travelled to the race - some races were up to 1000km away - took part in the race and then travelled home on Sunday evening. Some Monday mornings I'd get home at 6am and have to be at school at 7am, a little bit tired, but it worked.
It was tough and I was lucky to get the Fridays off. The teachers told me that as long as my work and grades at school didn't suffer too much then they'd let me do it, so that was a big motivation for me.
So we can thank your enlightened teachers for you career…
Yes, in a way but my parents too.
I'm just trying to clarify if racing is actually illegal in Switzerland.
Yes, that's true. Racing on circuits is forbidden. There was a big car accident in Le Mans and after that circuit racing was made illegal. You can still have races in the mountains on the public roads but circuit racing is illegal. I don't think they still do mountain races on bikes but for sure they still do them with cars and those seem a lot more dangerous than racing on tracks to me.
So from the Swiss point of view, the Isle of Man TT is legal but the GP at Silverstone is illegal?
Exactly, that's the way it works here!
You won the Swiss personality of the year in 2005, you must be very well known?
That was after I won the 125 championship. I actually beat Roger Federer to the prize and I really thought wow! This is a really great moment. Roger was actually second to me, it felt very strange.
There are many racing fans here even though we don't have a race. All the races are shown on Swiss television and particularly after I won the 125 championship there was a lot of hype so I am quite known. Some people recognise me but I can go out or have dinner with no problems, I still have to pay the bill, but I may get a free coffee!
Also I think that Swiss people are perhaps a little more reserved and shy so they stay calm and don't bother me. I like living in Switzerland.
When you were in 125s your results seemed to improve after working with Andy Ibbott?
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