Interview: Livia Lancelot on 114 Motorsport Honda and 2019

Livia Lancelot now has her first year as a team manager under her belt. The 114 Motorsport team was a new team in the GP paddock for 2018. It was a year full of up and down’s but the team did stand on the podium which is one of the highlights from 2018. 

For 2019, the team will have a new rider line up in the form of Mitch Evans and Zach Pichon as they’ll both take on the MX2 World Championship. 

We caught up with team manager, Livia Lancelot to get her thoughts on the signings and much more. 

Gatedrop: You’ve had your first full season as team manager, 2018 was quite eventful! How would you summarize it and what kind of things did you learn during your first year?

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Livia Lancelot: It’s pretty hard to summarize to be honest, it was crazy, we started everything from zero, without the help of Honda and Giacomo Gariboldi, I wouldn’t make it.  Of course, the first podium of my career as team manager in Argentina with Hunter was awesome, even if after that we had some up and down moments.

Overall, it was a good first year for me and the team. I learnt so much during the year, to think as a manager first and not a rider anymore, to spend more time on the computer than outside doing sports, to accept that I’m not the one on the bike anymore so I can’t control everything. Basically it’s a complete new life that I have had to learn.

Gatedrop: It was agreed at the start of the season that Hunter would be heading to America in 2019 but did you ever try and convince him to stay with your team for just one more year?

Livia Lancelot: Hunter signed with Geico before he signed with us, so when you know a little bit what is the Honda Geico Team, you don’t even try to compete. I had no chance to convince Hunter and it is 100% normal. It was great to have him one year, I hope he will keep a good memory of the team and I really wish him and Jett all the best in the States.

Gatedrop: The team had an agreement with Geico to run their engines, how did that work and will it continue for 2019?

Livia Lancelot: With Hunter under our awning we had the chance to buy parts from them for our engines, but with them being busy with SX and AMA, us running different fuel rules and different type of tracks here in Europe it wasn’t easy. It was a great experience to work with them but 2019 will be different.

Gatedrop: On 2019, the riders have now been announced! What had you heard about Mitch Evans before 2018 and what convinced you to sign him? I guess Hunter had good things to say about him!

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Livia Lancelot: I was looking at all the results from the Australian Championships, the MXON as well, his name started to be on the top of the list. After a long discussion with Giacomo we decided to make him an offer. We could feel his motivation from the first talk we had, so after that it was easy to find an agreement.

Gatedrop: Evans has also rode a 450cc the past two years. How do you think he’ll adapt to the 250cc again?

Livia Lancelot: From what I can see lately on the track he has adapted pretty well already. He is really professional and working hard to show all his skill on the bike. He’s still young so it is good for him to do a few seasons on the 250CRF. But I’m sure that he will be a big contender for the MXGP class as well in the future.

Gatedrop: I believe he came over to France at the start of December, how’s he been settling into life and what’s he been like to work with so far?

Livia Lancelot: He is really easy to work with, he arrived one month ago and everything is going well so far. I’m sure it’s hard for him to move here in Europe, without family and friends, and 30 degrees difference. We are trying to make him feel as good as possible.

Zach Pichon and Mitchell Evans will ride for 114 Motorsports in 2019. Pic: Bavo

Gatedrop: Zach Pichon has also signed with the team. It must be nice to have a French rider under the awning?

Livia Lancelot: I’ve known Zach for a long time, I’m happy to have him in the team. We are based in France, with French Sponsors, so to have Zach with us is perfect. He is only 18, so he still has time to race in MX2 Class.

Gatedrop: I feel like Pichon has the potential to be a really good rider. What do you think he needs to work on?

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Livia Lancelot: You don’t arrive in the MX2 World Championship at 18 if you aren’t a good rider. He has a big potential, 2018 was tough for him as privateer, now he will be more free in his mind to focus on his riding and physical condition, he has a lot to learn I think. We could see already that he is missing experience and fitness due to his age.  After a good winter of work, I am confident.

Gatedrop: Will Mickaël Pichon still be heavily involved with Zach for the year ahead? It might also be good for you to work with Mickael as he’s an ex World Champion after all!

Livia Lancelot: Mickael is always with Zach at the moment, first of all he’s his Dad so it is totally normal. He is really involved and it is good for us to have another World Champion’s eye. But Zach has a fitness trainer and he is working with another World Champion in the name of Seb Tortelli. So, with all this people around him, Zach is well surrounded and Mickael can be more relaxed.

Gatedrop: What are your expectations for both Mitch and Zach in 2019?

Livia Lancelot: Honestly this is a question that I don’t like to answer. They are the ones that need to answer. Inside me I hope that Zach will make some top 10 results and I really hope that the team will be back on the podium during the year.

Gatedrop: Have the team any plans for the off-season yet in terms of where you will be based and pre-season races?

Livia Lancelot: We will be based for most of the time in France and Italy. We will do the 3 races in Italy before MX2 – Riola, Mantova and Ottobiano. We will probably also do Lacapelle International in France.

Gatedrop: Anyone you’d like to thank?

Livia Lancelot: I would like to thank Giacomo Gariboldi and Honda Europe for their support. All our partners of course, and the staff around me.
We are still a small team at the moment, working hard, and without the mechanics, helpers and everyone around me all this wouldn’t be possible.

Interview: Andy McKinstry 

Pics: 114 Motorsports / Bavo / Thibaultphotograpy