Thomas Luthi has claimed he is “motivated like never before” as he makes his hotly anticipated return to the Moto2 class, where he hopes to prove “this old guy can still go fast.”

The Swiss rider endured a season of woe in 2018, as he failed to register a single point throughout his first year in the MotoGP class while competing aboard a year-old Honda RC213V.

But with a new year comes new opportunities. Luthi moves to Intact Dynavolt Racing for 2019, where he will race a Kalex frame and Triumph’s new 765cc triple cylinder engine.

COTA #1 - Giddy Up! Moto GP At COTA

CrashTV: 
Video Thumbnail: 

First tests have seen Luthi, a former 125cc world champion, taking time to readjust to a less powerful Moto2 machine. At the close of the second day of official testing at Jerez, he was 14th overall, 0.6s off the fastest time.

“I’m still too far, for sure,” he said in conversation with Crash.net. “I'm too far back. It's not where we want to be, but it was not the main thing at the moment.

“We are really focusing on the work, and doing step by step and taking our time. I think it's more important at the moment. So we need to be patient, it's very important at this stage now.

“[On day two we found] a set-up of the bike - a complete balance, and everything. The bike is still new, we have to find out how it reacts with the different settings we get. That's why it's not important yet to make one fast lap, to be on the top of the list.

“It's more important for me to have a good feeling, be consistent, and be under control, and at the moment, it's a little bit like everything is too much on the limit. And that's what I don't like. I never crashed so far, so that's good, also a positive, but it's still a little bit too much on the limit, and we have get away from this limit.”

The winter has seen Luthi shake up his training regime in a bid to reenergise his approach. He has enlisted the help of rider coach Alvaro Molina, who will accompany him throughout the year ahead.

The 32-year old also spent several days during the offseason in southern Spain riding a BMW S1000RR at Almeria to prepare for his on-track return. Before, Luthi rarely trained with a motorcycle away from the grand prix paddock.

“I'm motivated like never before, nearly,” he said. “I'm really motivated, especially to be in this team here, the guys are really good, everybody. It's so nice to work with them, they are really motivated. I need motivated people around me.

“I still believe this old guy can go fast, and I still believe in myself. So this is the most important thing. We have a lot of fun, and I'm sure we are on the good way. We just need a little more time, we are taking our time to do things step by step, but we will get there. The question is when.

“[This winter I was] Riding a bike with slicks, I never did that, it was the first time. It was the right time to try something else, and I have big support from BMW Switzerland, they gave me the S1000RR, a very nice bike, very good bike.

“Then I work together with a new riding coach, and with him, we did some days in Spain on the track. I was in Almeria, and it was quite good, it was interesting.

“Because then I came here to the first test last week, and I could jump on my bike, and from the second lap, I could work, because I had this front feeling already, I was already there. So this was very, very positive.”

Luthi remains one of the more experienced challengers in this year’s Moto2 series, with eleven victories and two championship runner-up positions to his name.

On whether his extensive experience with Honda’s CBR600 engine has been applicable while learning the character of Triumph’s 765cc engine, he offered, “It's a new class. New bike, new class, that's for sure.

“But still, to compare it more to the old Moto2 is maybe easier than to compare it to MotoGP. MotoGP is still so far away, it's something completely different. But it's an interesting class, an interesting bike, I like it a lot actually, especially with the bit more electronics you have.

“But it's not in the same range as in MotoGP. So riding itself is, not the same, but close to the old Moto2, but it's necessary to adapt some steps. And there's still time to find out which is the right line, which is the wrong, which is faster, the riding style. We are still trying a lot. I mean, it's testing, you know?”

As a rider aiming to add his name into the championship mix in the coming months, he pinpointed fellow-Kalex men Sam Lowes, Luca Marini and KTM’s Brad Binder as the early favourites.

“Sam is very strong, he's doing a really good job,” he said. “You need to ask him to go a little bit slower! He's consistently fast. Marini is also there, and the KTMs, especially Binder. You have to have him on the list for sure. But then it's Moto2, you know?

“Many guys are fast, Marcel [Schrotter] is also doing a good job, it's nice to be with him in the team. He's a really good team-mate, we have a lot of fun. And also it's quite interesting to compare a little bit. But I think these are the names. Marini, Lowes, Binder for sure is there. And then it's Moto2 - many names can win races!”

 

Comments

Loading Comments...