Interview: Thierry Chizat-Suzzoni on the Triumph Motocross project

During the RedBud MXoN there was a special press conference on Friday announcing that Triumph will be entering the Motocrossl world in 2024. Hard work is already being done to develop a good and competitive bike with the American GOAT, Ricky Carmichael involved in the project.

Before entering the MXGP World Championship in 2025, the team will first run two MX2 GP riders in 2024 with former KRT team manager, Thierry Chizat-Suzzoni managing the team. It will also be a new experience for him focusing on the MX2 World Championship with younger riders before entering MXGP the following season.

We caught up with Chizat-Suzzoni to discuss the Triumph project and more.

GateDrop: Thierry, you have been away from the MXGP paddock since losing the Kawasaki support, first of all, have you missed being away from the paddock and living the every day life of a team manager in the Motocross world?

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Chizat-Suzzoni: Yeah, Kawasaki for sure is in the past now, during certain years I worked for Factory Kawasaki but now the project with Triumph is just fantastic.  The plan for Triumph is to come to Motocross in the MX2 class first and then the MXGP class. We have time, we have five years in front of us to be competitive.

GateDrop: It seems like you have been quite busy with the project already. When did you start working on this project with Triumph?

Chizat-Suzzoni: We started with the project this year because I was under contract with Kawasaki until the end of December 2021. Now we have started the project with Triumph the last months.

GateDrop: What has it been like having Ricky Carmichael involved in the project? He has been there and done it so I am sure he can help with his knowledge and setting up the bike etc…

Chizat-Suzzoni: Ricky Carmichael is key to have for sure. For him it is also interesting to be in this project as it’s something different. He can give the experience in the Motocross and for the team it is really important to have a guy like Ricky.

GateDrop: You are going to start this project in 2024 with two MX2 riders I believe and not MXGP to start with. What’s the reason for that because obviously you have experience in the MXGP class and not MX2, are you looking forward to focusing on MX2 and working with younger riders?

Chizat-Suzzoni: For the team it is really exciting to work with young riders. The MX2 programme is the first step for us. You know, before we run, you need to walk and MX2 is really important for Triumph.

GateDrop: Realistically what will your goals be for the first year? A new brand there’s a lot of unknowns there, we have seen Beta do something similar but even they had Enduro experience… They did have some top ten results in MXGP, is that the same kind of thing you will want in the first year?

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Chizat-Suzzoni: For sure when you are behind the gates, it is to win. The goal is to win but we are realists and we are experienced. The first thing is to have a competitive bike and then after we will see.

GateDrop: Triumph being a new brand to the Motocross world in 2024, generally that is really good news for the sport. I think the sport needs this and there’s also talk about Ducati coming in 2024 as well. Positive news for our sport…

Chizat-Suzzoni: To be honest I think it is really positive for the Motocross world. A company like Triumph is a company with big history and now the challenge is to come into Motocross. This is great for the people that love Motocross because after KTM, Kawasaki, Honda, Yamaha, GasGas and Beta, it is a new brand. It is super!

GateDrop: For 2025 there will be an MXGP team as well as an MX2 team, maybe you don’t know yet but will you be the team manager of both? You will be busy with that!

Chizat-Suzzoni: We have some plans for sure but the most important thing is to have a good connection in the team between the MX2 programme and MXGP. For sure, we will manage year after year the team. The most important thing is to work really close with Triumph and for the long term, for us this is the most important thing.

GateDrop: Just on MXGP generally, since you’ve left Kawasaki, Covid has came and gone which has affected rider entries etc. What’s your thoughts on that, the series itself and would you maybe like the promotors to make some changes for 2023?

Chizat-Suzzoni: To be honest, I don’t know the plans exactly. The future for Motocross is first to have good factory teams with motivation. After that, the philosophy, I don’t know. For me, the most important thing is to work Triumph. I respect Kawasaki but for me it is over and in the past.

GateDrop: Just on the fly away GP’s, what’s your thoughts on them as they’re expensive to get too or do you think they’re important to have on the calendar?

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Chizat-Suzzoni: I don’t know the calendar for next year. For 2024, for sure the oversea GP’s are really important for Motocross. To compete around the world and have different countries like Indonesia and Argentina for example. It is really important for the market and the company because the market progresses every year and it’s why Triumph decide to come to Motocross.

Interview: Andy McKinstry

Image: Triumph Racing

You can also hear from Ricky Carmichael on the project below: