We've seen a few teams testing radios, presumably for the flag-to-flag rule, is that something Suzuki has also been looking at?
We've been working on that with Autocom and Motorola to put a package together that will allow us to talk to the riders on the track. It's in its infancy at the moment, we don't see it as a major priority right now because the new flag-to-flag regulation with the spare bike makes the pit stop time slightly less critical. So it's something we're working on, but it's certainly not a priority for us.
This year MotoGP has its biggest ever calendar, with 17 races - do you think that's about right the right number or too many, too few?
It's as many as my wife would really like to see! It's definitely not too few. I think 17 races is the most that the teams can cope with, without going to a budget that just becomes crazy. So I think 16 or 17 races is about the level.
Logistically, the cost is becoming higher every year - because there are more and more flyaway races, seven in 2005 - and that's something in itself that's increased the costs to all the teams. But getting to these new markets is very important as well. The bottom line is that 16-17 races is enough for everyone, including me.
You mention the new markets; there are three new races this year and the new events seem to be split between those that are in a new geographical location, such as Qatar last year, and areas where MotoGP has a bigger following, such as the USA. Do you think MotoGP should cover all corners of the world or do you think it should race where the most fans are?
It's a good question and I don't think I've got enough experience of the series yet to really comment very fairly. There are commercial issues - in terms of sponsorship and return - that have to keep supporting the championship and I think, for example, the Qatar race is an interesting one; very, very few live spectators but good sponsorship and a real TV event.
I'm really not sure about the Qatar event - it's the only one that stands out for me as a bit of a no-no, in terms of, you know, it's nice to have some passion when you get to any event. But I think apart from Qatar, the series is very well balanced and the venues which we will go to are well supported and deserve to have a race.
The opening round of the World Superbike was at Qatar recently, Honda and Ducati MotoGP teams had been testing a week earlier at the track and lap times were around 2-3secs different. Is that enough and is a MotoGP really far enough ahead of a Superbike?
Well yeah, if you count to three and times it by 30 it's a minute and a half (over a race distance) so there's no comparison between what it means to the bikes potential. But yeah, a grand prix is about 20 kilos lighter; it has 30-40 more horsepower and as a pure prototype machine is harder to get the best out of, harder to ride over a race distance and ultimately the best riders end up in MotoGP as it's the very highest level.
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