TEAM SUZUKI RACING news 10 2017 MX Special Edition assure Suzuki’s continuation in MXGP racing. This helped Luongo, who was going through some tough financial times as he knew that he could trust that I would deliver on that promise.” Do you think being a professional rider, made you a better team manager? “Not only being a professional rider, but also operating as a mechanic/ manager for Harry Everts in the early 80s gave me so much experience. I could understand the need of a rider as well as the need of a mechanic. I was instructed by Suzuki how to operate and manage a team including all factors important for a Japanese manufacturer. I adapted to the Suzuki way.” How has working for Suzuki changed from recent times, to when you first took joined the team? “Well my first agreement with Suzuki in 1970 was mostly discussed and confirmed via telegram. For any telephone connections we had to go to the post office in many countries, but in the eastern European countries we actually had to first cross back into Western Europe before finding a hotel with which to call Japan. The next step was the telex, which meant we could operate from a private office, which led the way for fax machines which was a massive step forward for us. Faxes meant we could send drawings and specifications backwards and forward between Japan and our workshop. Of course all this technology has led to drawbacks too because now it is very difficult to conduct business confidentially. Privacy is very hard to achieve as everything is so instantaneous. “However air travel has become much easier and much cheaper, with multiple connections and low-cost companies. In 1970 the ticket from Brussels to Tokyo was around €1000, which in today’s money is around €8000, so it is now a lot better to conduct business face to face too.” Throughout your time with Suzuki, who would say were the easiest riders to deal with? “I very much enjoyed each year. Motocross was my passion and with Suzuki was a great pleasure. Only age stopped me from continuing, but I’m already missing it.” Ever since he was a child, Sylvain has enjoyed tinkering away in the workshop and it was this mechanical knowledge that he believes played a part in his successful riding career. At the beginning of the 2016 season, Sylvain handed over the reins of the Suzuki World team to Stefan Everts, who started the season with Ben Townley, Kevin Strijbos and Jeremy Seewer. Sylvain and Stefan Everts pictured in March 2016 with Suzuki Motor Corporation’s Representative Director and President (CEO & COO) Toshihiro Suzuki at the company’s headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan.