Interview: Livia Lancelot on 114 Motorsports Honda!

The 2018 season is all change for Livia Lancelot as the ex Woman’s Motocross World Champion has decided to hang up her boots to concentrate on her team – the 114 Motorsports Honda team.

Lancelot has managed to secure strong backing from Honda for the season ahead to contest the MX2 World Championship and she’s managed to sign two talented riders in the form of Bas Vaessen and Hunter Lawrence.

It’s going to be a challenging year for Lancelot as he fully focuses on being a team manager and the difficulties that come with it.

We decided to catch up with Lancelot to discuss the season ahead.

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Gatedrop: Livia, you’re the team manager of the 114 Motorsports team which will be a new team in the MX2 World Championship this year. When did talks begin and how did it all come together?

Livia Lancelot:  The talks started in Ernée with Giacomo Gariboldi, asking for how long I’d still want to ride and what I wanted to do after my career.  I said that I would maybe do a last season in 2018 but considering the way that WMX is taking riding 3 times on the week end and on a flat track during Sunday morning before 9.  I was more thinking about how to improve my job in my team and it all started from there.

Gatedrop: You’ve been riding a Kawasaki for a number years now, was it a hard decision to run Honda’s this year because of that?

Livia Lancelot: Yes it was really hard, I spent almost the last 10 years on the Kawasaki.  As a rider it was great and I wouldn’t talk with another Factory for 2018.
But when I started to plan my future and built this project for a MX2 Team, Honda believed in me straight away, while Kawasaki decided to stop the MX2 program. So, I had to make a decision, Honda has a great 250 for 2018 and they were super happy and motivated about what I was building so I’m happy to become a red member and hopefully for at least the next 10 years!

Gatedrop: Apart from Marvin Musquin and Tim Gajser, Honda haven’t had too much success in the MX2 class in recent years and going there can be seen as risky. However, with the new 2018 250cc Honda do you expect things to change moving forward and for Honda to be at the front in the MX2 class?

Livia Lancelot: Yes, you are right. But it still won a World title 3 years ago and the bike wasn’t as competitive as the 2018 bike. So, with the new CRF and good riders on it, I think that I can start to think about a new World Title for me but as Team Manager!

Gatedrop: Obviously this year is going to be all change for you concentrating on being a team manager and it will all be new for you. Will you do it all on your own or will you get help from someone more experienced like Giacomo Gariboldi? You would learn a lot about your new role from someone like him..

Livia Lancelot: Giacomo is really an example to follow in the paddock and I will definitely try to learn as much as possible from him.  Without him all this project wouldn’t be as big as it is now, so he is already helping me.  I’m doing the job but if I need advice he is the first and the only person I will call actually.

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Gatedrop: On the riders this year, you have signed Bas Vaessen and Hunter Lawrence. You must be pleased to have such a strong team for the 2018 season? Some team managers don’t have that luxury during their first year!

Livia Lancelot:  Yes I know, I’m really happy.  You know sometimes to make the best decision, I could do one more season as a rider and try to be world champion. But when you have the opportunity to show up with the Honda official MX2 team, with Bas and Hunter, you just have take it.

They are both different, with different goals for this year and the future. They were in factory teams before but it looks like they trust me and the project so I’m really happy about this.  Believe me, I will give my best to bring them on the top of the box.

Gatedrop: On Hunter, he ended the season very strong. What’s your expectations for him in 2018? Also, you must be pleased he will get Geico support so he’s getting the best equipment.

Livia Lancelot: Hunter ended the season on fire! So I can’t wait to see how he’ll start this one!  We know he has the speed to win, we will give the best bike we can and see the result in Imola. He is the one that has expectations, me – I’m just here to give him all the cards he needs to play the game. But, I really believe he can be World Champion.

Gatedrop: Just on Bas, what’s your expectations for him next year? He’s always fast in sand but hard pack might be in the area he needs to improve!

Livia Lancelot: Yes, Bas is really strong in the sand. His top 5 in Ottobiano for his rookie season in MX2 is pretty impressive.  He moved to the south of France since December and practiced on hard pack pretty often now, which wasn’t possible in the past. So, I really think that with proper training on the hard pack he can be as good as he is in the sand

Gatedrop: Will Bas get the Geico support as well as Hunter? If not have you got a plan in place to try make his bike just as good!

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Livia Lancelot: They will both get the same support from Geico, they will have the same bike.

Gatedrop: Just on your 2017 season – the WMX series was very competitive; can you just summarise your season for me?

Livia Lancelot:  My season started with a DNF for mechanical issue and ended with a 2nd place by just 1 single point.  We were 4 riders out there fighting really hard and i think that it was great to see, the WMX level is improving and this championship deserves some consideration I think.  I had some great fights with them, won some moto’s and lost some as well! The First moto in Ernée was epic, I will keep a good memory of my last season!

Gatedrop: Was it a hard decision to stop racing and focus on a team, especially because you were still right at the front?

Livia Lancelot:  Yes and no! Yes because, I lost this title (and another one before) for some stupid reason that I can’t control. I know I have the speed to be world champion again so it is hard to stop on a second place. But like I said before, the new WMX doesn’t make me dream anymore.  Most of the time we ride on an over watered flat track and this isn’t motocross!

Gatedrop: Just on the 114 Motorsports Honda team, have you got a long-term plan for the team, perhaps the MXGP class in future or will you be happy to stay in the MX2 series?

Livia Lancelot: The Honda 114 Motorsports is just born, so ofcouse there’s a long term plan.  For the moment I want to focus on the MX2 World Championship and this season. After, we will see.

Gatedrop: Anyone you’d like to thank?

Livia Lancelot: I would like to thank Giacomo Gariboldi for helping me to make this happen, Honda, all the sponsors that keep following me in this new adventure, Bihr, Fox, Fiat.. and all the new ones ofcourse.
You can find all the details and more surprises on our website

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Pic: Thibault Gstl