Lancelot on the opportunity to start MX2 GP team

Livia Lancelot set up the 114 Motorsport team in 2014 and even though it was for herself when she raced in the Woman’s World Championship, she had one eye on her future and as a team manager.  However, Kawasaki didn’t have the budget for her to start an EMX250 team so she needed to consider other options.

“I created team 114 for myself the first time in 2014. It was going well, it suited me much better than being in teams with boys. The team evolved, at the beginning, there were only girls, then I had Axel Louis who was racing on the 85cc at that time. I knew very well that I was at the end of my career, I might have a year, two or three years left, but I knew that I was preparing for my retirement from racing. So I talked to Kawasaki about it, I told them that I saw myself as a team-manager, in Europe to start with. But at Kawasaki, they weren’t very sure because they already had teams: KRT, Bud Racing, F&H, they already had a bit of everything and they had no budget to give me”, Lancelot told DailyMX

Giacomo Gariboldi, the team manager of the MXGP HRC Honda team approached Lancelot but she either wanted to be a team manager or a rider – not both so she declined the offer.

“In 2016, Giacomo Gariboldi came to see me for the first time. “Livia, I like what you do, when you see your budget, your management, I find it really good and you do a good job. I would love to work with young people because I will have to replace Tim Gajser at some point. Are you interested in making a team in Europe for me with young people? ” I told him that I’m interested but that I don’t want to do it at the same time as my career. It was either being a 100% rider or being a 100% team manager and taking care of young people to bring them to Europe. I was aware that a team in EMX250 was a lot of work, and I didn’t want to do everything wrong. On the one hand, I didn’t want to find myself in a situation where I couldn’t fight for the title, nor did I want to jeopardize the careers of young drivers by making them have a bad year. Suddenly, I thank him for the offer but I decline it”.

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Pic: Thibault Gastal Photography

The fact that Lancelot decided against the first offer that Gariboldi made didn’t put him off and he came back to Lancelot a year later and this time she accepted as she decided it was the right time to end her Motocross racing career.

“In 2017, Giacomo came back to see me. “Livia, I always have this project with young people in mind, that really interests me. I do everything I can, I give you the budgets, I provide you with the best bike for your championship and you take care of my two youngsters ”. From there, we sat around a table to discuss it seriously. I thanked him for his offer, but his bike, I didn’t want it. On the other hand, I wanted to discuss a team with young people, and everything started from there. I did not feel like doing my last season on a Honda. I thought it was risky to change brands, all the bikes are different and for one last season, I didn’t see the point. I had all my habits with Kawasaki and it was going very well. On the other hand, at the same time, many things factored in my decision. My engine failure at Loket in 2015 had really affected me because I realized that even if I was 200% ready, I couldn’t control everything. In addition, the women’s world championship did not necessarily move in the right direction, there was the accident of Steven Lenoir… I was affected by these things, and I said to Giacomo “Your offer, I want it, but without the bike. From 2018, I will become exclusively team-manager ” This is why the team was made with Honda and not with Kawasaki. It was Giacomo who trusted me first, when he proposed the project to Honda, Honda jumped at the opportunity”.

Initially the team was supposed to contest the EMX250 championship but due to Honda’s request it was decided the 114 Motorsports Honda team would contest the MX2 World Championship instead.

“To my surprise, and to Giacomo’s surprise, when we had left to set up an EMX250 team, Honda replied that they already had teams in Europe, but not in MX2. They loved our project, the fact that Giacomo was with me weighed in the balance at 2000%, and they told us that as long as we give budgets to a team in MX2, we might as well give them to us. We had to recalculate everything, present them with a list of pilots and take stock”.

It was quite last minute to find the right riders to take on the MX2 World Championship but in the end with Suzuki deciding to stop supporting a team in Motocross, it was Lancelot’s gain as he was able to sign both Vaessen and Lawrence as they made the switch from yellow to Honda.

“We had just created our team to do MX2, the riders had no confidence in us, which was completely normal, we were disembarking, we were a new team. Yes, we were going to be helped by Honda, but how? Where the motorcycles going to be good? Etc. We agree with Bas Vaessen who was looking for a team, we suggested the project with Giacomo. I offer them a training solution with apartments in the southwest of France and everything you need to train properly and avoid the bad weather in Belgium; we put something in place for them. At the same time, we learned that Suzuki stops with Hunter, and Hunter signs with Geico for the 2019 season. We know that Hunter must leave in 2019 but he found himself with a ride at the last minute in 2018. We signed the contract with him during the Motocross of Nations”, concluded Lancelot. 

You can read more of the interview here which discusses a range of topics – it’s well worth a read.

Pic: Thibault Gastal Photography