Livio Suppo Reveals What Makes Honda Newcomer Ken Kawauchi A Blockbuster Signing
With Suzuki’s departure from MotoGP, Ken Kawauchi was without a job until recently. It is now clear that the Japanese is moving to Honda.
After many years as Suzuki Technical Director, Ken Kawauchi’s career in MotoGP seemed to end abruptly.
A few weeks after the end of the season in Valencia, it is clear: the Japanese rider will stay in MotoGP and move to the Honda Garage in the same position.
His last team boss Livio Suppo thinks Kawauchi is the perfect man for the Honda team, which has been weakened for a long time. In an interview with motogp.com, the Italian explains:
“Ken was Suzuki’s technical director, which meant that all the team’s technicians had to send him their reports after every practice session and after every race.”
The 58-year-old knows how difficult it can be to get this collected information to the factory.
“Especially for the Japanese manufacturers it is not easy. It’s a very important part of the job. He [Kawauchi] is very good at it.”
According to Suppo, it’s all about coordination between the team on site and the factory.
“It’s crucial that they have the same vision and that the people at the track trust the people at the factory – and vice versa. If they don’t have the same idea, it’s a disaster for the developments of the bike.”
What Kawauchi can achieve in the short term at honda is not clear. Suppo says the start of the season will be especially important.
“If the results improve straight away, the atmosphere, the motivation and the feeling of the riders will also improve, which makes everything easier.”
As described by Livio Suppo, Kawauchi in particular could contribute to this through his strengths.
“Firstly, he has proved that he is very good at his job. Secondly, he has a good character. I think empathy is super important in a role like this.”
“The empathy and the ability to work with engineers on the ground and the factory is very important. And I think Ken can do that.”
Even though Kawauchi comes to Honda with a terrific CV, the Japanese has a huge amount of work ahead of him.
The MotoGP project of the world’s largest motorbike manufacturer has been in dire straits in recent years. In 2023, they want to try to get back on track. Livio Suppo wants the Japanese to return to the top of MotoGP:
“As a friend of Ken [Kawauchi] and Shinichi Kokubu, I hope they can save the boat that is in a storm at the moment.