Hi Randy, were your parents by any chance fans of a certain Mr Mamola?

Randy De Puniet:
Yes, yes, that's right. My father was a racer and when he went to Le Mans in '79 and saw Randy ride Randy was so spectacular that he turned to my mum and said that one day if they had a son they would call him Randy, and that's me.

I think he was a great racer but I was obviously too young for him to make an impression on me, I was more into racers like Kevin Schwantz, Mick Doohan and also Olivier Jaques when he started to go fast on the 250's
and apparently you're in Dubai at the moment doing some training, isn't it too hot?

Randy De Puniet:
No, no I'm here with friends and I'm doing some training but I'm also doing some motocross in the sand and generally having fun. The temperature isn't too bad, it's maybe 30 odd degrees and I was out on the dirt bike in the sand this morning at 7 am and it was perfect.
Hasn't your bike fitness suffered over a year of only doing testing?

Randy De Puniet:
I've actually been keeping myself as fit as possible mainly going out on the dirt bike because my aim and hope was always to get back on the race track.

You have to understand, I need to race and that was always a clear goal. I understand that dirt bikes and being on a racer is different but I have kept as fit as I can be without actually mixing it on track.

In fact I would say that I'm in better condition now than I was last year because I've had more time to prepare myself. I would say I'm about as ready as I was for MotoGP in that I've been doing all sorts of motorsports like motocross and go carts. I'm ready now.
Do you miss the racing or do you miss the winning?

Randy De Puniet:
Man, I need both. My last victory was in 2005 and my last podium was in 2009 if you don't count Suzuka in July this year but the memory of the feeling is very clear and I always feel a need for that.

It's a need to be at the front of things. For sure it wasn't so easy in the years on the LCR and then on the ART when that wasn't possible. It's for that reason that I decided to take a step back and develop the Suzuki last year.

The feeling I got on the bike when I tried it in 2011 when Paul was the manager was really good and that decided me to do that full time after a year when I had done both jobs, developing the Suzuki and riding the ART.

I hoped that 2014 would be when Suzuki would return but I thought it was OK to continue testing for the year and to work for Suzuki to be with them for 2015 but unfortunately in the end they decided to go a different way with the riders.

I enjoy the testing but the enjoyment only comes if you've got a goal and when that was taken away I needed to look at other things. I'm not like Colin Edwards who can just test and enjoy the mental challenge, I always needed to invent an imaginary opponent ahead of me to get the motivation. I always like to fight.

They told me that in the middle of the year, I was disappointed but in the end I though OK things are as they are but I wanted to stay in the Suzuki family because I liked the people. They asked me if I wanted to ride the Superbike and I just said I wanted to ride full stop.

I actually rode the GSXR at the 8 hour race and had a good feeling with it so I'm happy to ride the Superbike rather than continuing with my testing role, I really need to race.

After that I came to an agreement to race the superbike because the team is a good professional outfit and the bike will be closer this year because of the new rules in World Superbikes.

I know that the technical stall at Crescent Suzuki are some of the best so it's a team I'm happy to commit to. The engine is also getting stronger and I think the new rules will be good for Suzuki.

It felt like a chance to make a kind of second career and I'm really happy to get this opportunity. If you spend too much time doing testing it can be difficult to come back and this is my way of coming back.
Did Suzuki make any commitments to you before starting the years testing?

Randy De Puniet:
No, they didn't. A lot of people have said to me that you must be disappointed and sure I am but they didn't make any commitment before the year and have decided to take a young fast Moto2 rider and Aleix who has established speed and it has to be said that they've both done a great job this year.

If they had put slower riders than me or even ones of the same speed it would have been harder to handle after having spent 2 years working for Suzuki but when you've got riders like that taking over you can understand the decision. They haven't done anything which they didn't agree to or anything unreasonable so for that reason I'm happy to continue working with Suzuki in their Superbike team and also some testing of the MotoGP bike.

In the end they never lied to me, they were always open with me and I can't really complain because the decision is theirs. They told me that I wouldn't be part of the MotoGP squad well in advance of the announcement and that meant I also had time to think what I wanted to do. But on the positive side they did say they were happy with what I was doing and wanted to keep me and we came up with this plan.

Honestly I would rather have a chance of fighting for podiums next year than running around in 10th or 12th in MotoGP. I'm 34 next year anyway and I thought it was a good time to switch.

Remember that Eugene won the first race at Philip Island last year, the bike is fast there, I love the track and that will be a great place to start.
What were your impressions of the Suzuki MotoGP bike?

Randy De Puniet:
The first point is that the technical staff are very good they're very professional, work a lot and you can see that Suzuki have given a lot of commitment to the project. They've really assembled a great crew.

The bike itself is very compact, the speed is good, the braking stability is good and now what needs working on is the electronics. After moving to the Magnetti Marelli, the work really isn't finished and the bike isn't at its full potential now but next year they'll have 2 riders plus me sometimes and that will mean that development can be faster.

The weak point at the moment is definitely the power delivery and traction control and after that is fixed we can look at other things but this is the key. In MotoGP, if you don't have good traction control you won't get anywhere.
What is your impression about how many resources that Suzuki are devoting to the project?

Randy De Puniet:
Well for sure they haven't got as many people there as Honda but there were always enough people it was more the bike and getting it developed.

I think they need to put 2 satellite bikes in a different team to try to get as much data as possible because it's the development where the improvement will come. I really don't think that only having 2 riders is going to be enough, they need a satellite team but that's a question of money.

It's the satellite bikes which give Honda, Yamaha and Ducati an advantage. If Suzuki isn't careful it'll be like in the Kawasaki days when there was only one bike there and you can't get a bike developed like that.
Is your WSBK contract with Crescent or with the Suzuki factory?

Randy De Puniet:
My contract is basically with Suzuki but I also have an agreement with Crescent, I basically have both contracts. I actually have a contract with Suzuki for 2 years and we just had to add Crescent for this year but for me the 2 are in effect the same.
Are you also reserve rider for the MotoGP team?

Randy De Puniet:
I don't know yet, my head is totally involved with World Superbikes at the moment. We honestly haven't made any arrangements about that but if they call me and I'm free I'll be happy
Have you tried the WSBK?

Randy De Puniet:
Well, as I said I rode the GSXR at the Suzuka 8 hour and that gave me a good overall impression of the bike, I have been told that the WSBK one will be lighter and have more power but I still need to get on with winter testing for know fully. The problem was that I rode the 8 hour bike on Bridgestones and I still need to try it with Pirellis.

For the test schedule we'll be going to Jerez at the end of November for 3 days and after that I'm not sure but then I'll get to try the actual bike but I'm sure it won't be a problem. The team and my teammate have plenty of experience with the bike and can give me plenty of advice so at the moment I just need to do some laps.

My impression from Suzuka is that the bike is actually more fun to ride because you have less electronics but it just doesn't have the kick of all that power.
Given the performance of the bike last season, have Crescent made any promises as regards future improvements?

Randy De Puniet:
No you can't really approach it like that, basically I've promised to do my best every weekend and they've promised me to give me the best bike they can. There's no point in saying I'll win this or that or them telling me that they've got the best bike, it's all about the effort.

We're all in the same boat, we all want to be at the front and we'll make every effort to be there.
Thanks Randy.

Randy De Puniet:



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