Konica Minolta Honda team manager Gianluca Montiron has had a long and successful career within the motorcycle grand prix paddock, having contributed towards multiple 250cc world titles and MotoGP race victories.
Here, the Italian - who currently fields former 250cc world champion Shinya Nakano
in the premier class - answers questions on his career and speaks in detail about the current problems facing privateer teams in MotoGP...
What are the key moments from your career in the motorcycle world championships?
The next one! Ha! Fortunately I have many good memories; the first one is about the 250cc world title that Tetsuya Harada
won in 1993 on the Telkor Yamaha. For sure, remembering the seasons I spent when I was with Aprilia is very good. I can't forget the three consecutive titles in 250cc with Max Biaggi, and after that we obtained many other victories with different riders and I think that era represents something unique for me.
After that successful period I decided that it was time for me to make a step forward and I moved to the top class of the Motorcycle category - 500cc. I consider the personal motivation to be important and the desire to succeed at the next level is important.
Was that the reason why you established your own team?
I think that the best evaluation of someone's capacity is through results and I want to stand out for the quality of work I offer.
From the managerial point of view I'm satisfied with the job I've done with my MotoGP team, because for the first time in the motorcycle championships, I have had the support of a Japanese technology company - Konica Minolta - as main sponsor of my team and for this season my team will be the promoter of the 2008 world road-racing cycle championships in Varese, another important step forward for me.
If you evaluate the general worldwide economic situation I'm in a comfortable situation considering that our rider is Japanese and that it isn't always easy to gain a sponsor. I believe our team has a very efficient structure: every year I've made relevant investments in the team and our structure in order to follow the sponsor's need.
What is your opinion about the present situation in MotoGP?
In the last few years MotoGP has seen an escalation in term of popularity and cost, basically the MotoGP world has not been able enough to follow this escalation and we are now in the transition period. For the motorcycle manufacturers this isn't a big problem: even if the manufacturers would like to reduce the cost of their own racing departments, the main problem at the moment is for the private teams who have to survive in this period. I think that in the third millennium we need to approach motorsport with a more commercial and aggressive mind.
Which kind of action do you think needs to be taken?
I think we have a topic here that needs time to be dealt with and really needs the collaboration of all the parties involved. For a private team sometimes it is difficult to open a dialogue with the manufacturer because both parties have different needs and objectives, even if the best sporting result remains the main goal for both.