In August, I sat across the aisle from Livio Suppo on a connecting flight to Indianapolis, and found the HRC Communications & Marketing Director weary at the end of his journey from Italy. Though cordial as ever, he was not in the mood to chat as he yawned, stretched and endured the last leg of a transcontinental flight.
So I kept to myself, and thought back to when Casey Stoner joined Ducati in 2007, the year he’d go on to win the world title on the new 800cc formula. As Ducati’s MotoGP Project Leader, Suppo was often asked what Ducati had done to make the GP7 so dominant? What had they gotten so right that Stoner was running away with the title?
Again and again Suppo told the media that it was really Casey who was performing the miracles, not the bike. Again and again that statement was dismissed as an attempt to deflect attention from whatever secret mojo Ducati had come up with. And once again in 2011, hindsight has shed an interesting light on Ducati’s past. It turns out Suppo was right when he said it was Casey, not the bike.
When Suppo left Ducati for HRC, the rumor mill shifted into high gear, and when Stoner announced that he would follow his former project manager, many agreed Suppo had been planning to make this happen for some time. I couldn’t help wondering when Suppo began scheming to get Stoner on a more competitive machine, and if he’d considered Yamaha, or if he’d wanted Honda all the way. Whatever his plan had been to start with, it’s coming together nicely in 2011, and now I’m wondering what Mr. Suppo has up his sleeve for his next trick.
Scott Jones is a professional photographer known for his great action shots and poignant candids when covering MotoGP and WSBK racing events. You may have already seen his work on MotoMatters (they still have more calendars available that feature Scott’s work by the way). Not only do we like Scott’s shots, but he fits right in with our all Nikon-totting office. You can find him on his blog, Twitter, & Facebook.
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Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved