An exclusive interview with former 125cc world champion and double Moto2 title runner-up Tom Luthi, who finally joined MotoGP this season with the Marc VDS Honda team.

But the fall-out from a management rift means the Belgian squad is set to run only a Moto2 team in 2019, when Luthi - still chasing his first premier-class points - will also return to the intermediate class after signing for Dynavolt Intact…

Listen to that noise! Bikes of MotoGP: Which sounds best? As a fan, I was excited when I heard that you’d got a prototype Honda ride in MotoGP, but when I saw which one I wasn’t so sure – what were your expectations?

Tom Luthi: Phew that’s hard to say, now we’re in the middle of the season and looking back it’s difficult to remember exactly but expectations? Sure to get into the points some days but I knew right from the start that it was going to be difficult. With the bike and support that we have, the whole package, it was clear that it was going to be an uphill struggle and that’s the way it is – I have to say that it hasn’t been easy at all. I guess seeing how Tito was going didn’t really help?

Tom Luthi: Yes. Also if you look how Tito and Jack are doing now – they’re doing so much better [on the Ducati]. But sure it was clear from the start but I finally got my chance to get into MotoGP and I needed and was willing to take it. You’ve got to try it, I felt like I didn’t really have a choice. Did you feel that you got what was promised to you?

Tom Luthi: It was a very particular deal and I had to accept all parts of it, but I have to say that I was happy to join an experienced team like VDS which was already established and had a strong structure. One thing I couldn’t know at that stage though were the management problems that would happen.

I’m sure you know what happened but the feeling that gave was not positive for our performance. We wanted to focus on our racing but there were so many distractions. It was and is a great team and I was happy to get there, but then a lot of things changed very quickly after the start of the season. Has that affected the day-to-day running of the team?

Tom Luthi: It’s quiet again now, but let’s just say that there were some pretty wild times! Now that it’s quiet again me and the crew can start doing our jobs again. On the bike side all is normal now, but on the management side it’s not like it was before. At the moment we don’t even have a team manager. There are good people in the team and that’s why it’s still running and working but there are people at the top missing. So operationally things seem pretty normal?

Tom Luthi: Well, we’re the people who work with the bike and in the end we have to go into the box and do our job. I’ve been hired as a rider and the bike is still there to do my job on. Do you and Franco have the same arrangement and equipment in the box?

Tom Luthi: Yes it’s definitely similar. And how about the personnel, did you use the established team there or bring people in?

Tom Luthi: I brought my own crew chief and one mechanic but the rest were all the established team that had been working with Jack. The mapping guy was also new so the whole team had to learn to work together and is still learning a lot. Are things moving in a positive direction?

Tom Luthi: Yes sure but the problem is that we need time and that’s something we just don’t have. It’s a difficult thing to only have a one year deal on a bike that I don’t know with a crew that is still learning to work together. How about the bike, how does it compare to Marc’s bike?



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