Team Suzuki Press Office – June 29.

Suzuki World MX2 Team Manager Thomas Hannecke talks about his passion for the sport and being part of the Suzuki family.

Thomas Hannecke’s passion for motocross became clear soon after he attended his first race as a toddler. As a teenager, he rode Motocross and Supermoto himself: “Even though I realised that I was not meant to race professionally, I had the greatest time shredding, without any injuries.” After completing his engineering studies and working for Suzuki Germany, Thomas joined the Suzuki World Motocross team in 2008.

“I started-out working with the talented rider Ken Roczen. It was Mr. Poensgen’s goal for Suzuki to close the gap between the national championships and the MXGP world championships. That’s why MX2 was born. Unfortunately, Mr. Poensgen passed away recently. This really broke my heart, as he gave both Ken and me the greatest opportunity of our careers. I truly respect the effort and passion that this man has put into the sport. Thanks to Sylvain Geboers we could start up the MX2 team in a very professional environment, which put it in the same playing field as the MXGP team from the very beginning.”

As team manager, Thomas is also responsible for all things marketing. “Together with Suzuki Japan we decide on the budget to run the team and take care of the contracts with the riders and GRP. Since Stefan took the lead, one of our main goals is to attract young, talented riders and build them up within the team. That strategy brings about interesting branding possibilities. For example, Jeremy Seewer never rode for another brand. So, he’s really connected to Suzuki.”

Over the years Thomas also noticed a slight change in some aspects of his job. “It used to be easier to take decisions. Nowadays every kind of company has its own rules and laws, which slows things down a whole lot. That’s the only small downside to the job I can think of.”

Being on the road most of the time means having to miss your loved ones quite often. “I try to bring them to a race once or twice a year. Especially my little one loves it. He goes crazy every time he sees a yellow bike (laughs).” Luckily, working with Suzuki also has many advantages. “The atmosphere in the team is exceptional. Stefan strived to bring the MXGP and MX2 teams close together. You can’t tell the difference between the two, and everyone gets along perfectly.”

Most positive characteristic: The effort I put into my job.
Most negative characteristic: Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes I tend to drink a little too much!
Favourite food & drink: A nice piece of beef (sorry to the vegetarian readers). I learned to appreciate a sporadic gin & tonic, thanks to Stefan.
Favourite music: I have a preference for anything by Johnny Cash, also his lesser known work. His life has always been interesting to me.
Favourite race track: Definitely Teutschenthal, back at home in Germany, with its typical stadium shape for the spectators. Also because of the excellent results we had there this year (Jeremy and Hunter both on the podium in first and second place).

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