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...

Q:
What are the key moments from your career in the motorcycle world championships?

Gianluca Montiron:
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.

Q:
Was that the reason why you established your own team?

Gianluca Montiron:
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.

Q:
What is your opinion about the present situation in MotoGP?

Gianluca Montiron:
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.

Q:
Which kind of action do you think needs to be taken?

Gianluca Montiron:
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.

Where the various world champions come from is also interesting. The reason why we have two Spanish riders as world champions in 125 and the 250 class is because Dorna invested heavily to create a competitive Spanish championship and riders like Pedrosa come from this championship.

The reason why in the past we had some Italian champions as Biaggi, Rossi, Capirossi is a different matter: the Italian championship was very competitive in the past because Aprilia and Cagiva invested money to organise the various national trophies.
Q:
How can the manufacturers help private teams like yours?

Gianluca Montiron:
I think there is a rule for everybody; if the income is not sufficient, it's necessary to consider how to reduce costs. I think that the manufacturer can reduce the machine rental cost and also reduce the number of winter tests. This year Dorna made a financial contribution to both manufacturers and to the teams and this helps everybody.

In general, I believe that the manufacturers and the private teams should work in the same direction together with Dorna and IRTA. For many years the private teams were in a comfortable situation but now it is the moment for everybody to invest in the future, in this sector it will be possible to do a step forward to approach motorsport with a more commercial mind and to offer an efficient service to the sponsor by focussing on the marketing and communication activities of the team itself.

Personally, I've already employed this strategy and the efforts have been rewarded.

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