Exclusive Interview: Suzi Perry – “It feels like coming home”

Published: 18 April 2016

“It feels like coming home”

fter six years away from the MotoGP paddock, Suzi Perry is back as one of the presenting team. She’s not just concentrating on MotoGP, she’ll also working on a range of BT Sports motorsport coverage, including Speedway, the Indy 500 and a WRC event. MCN spoke exclusively with the hugely popular broadcaster.

“I’m a bit all over the place at the minute, juggling a lot of different things. From thinking I had no job at Christmas, I’ve now gone over the top and have too much going on – but that’s not a bad thing!

“I had a little message from Jorge [Lorenzo] this morning, a little sweet message welcoming me back. I’m very excited. I cried like a little girl when I left the last time. I regrettably left in 2010 for personal reasons, and it feels like a very long six years – like an awful lot of things have changed since I was last in the paddock.

“It was still 125GP and 250GP the last time I was there!  Everything has changed, riders have moved on – with Valentino and Jorge being about the only things that are still the same. They’re still teammates and they’re still quietly fighting, too!

“It feels like coming home because of the reaction I’ve got, which has been extraordinary. It was strange how it happened, because I went to BT Sport with some documentary ideas I thought they might like to run around the MotoGP coverage, some extra programming I thought I could do with both a producer and presenter’s hat on. 

“Then we got talking, and they started to say ‘wouldn’t it be nice if you came back to do some races…?’ I hadn’t realised just how much motorsport they had, and just how much they’re possibly going to get. I realised that there was no reason I wouldn’t want to be with a channel that’s winning all these sports rights, have a budget, and are really excited about motorsports.

“I started to put it all together, we talked some more, and suddenly I had a contract in front of me – and I signed it! And when we put the news out, it was fantastic to have such lovely messages of support, emails from people in the paddock, and all sorts of people getting in touch.

“It felt really lovely after what happened with Formula 1. I felt a little bit left out in the cold with the BBC’s decision, and obviously Channel 4 wanted to go with their own team. It feels so right though, like it’s a great time to come back to MotoGP.

“Last year was immense. I watched the last race at my friend’s place in Italy – can you imagine? It was mad in the room, and I knew what was going to happen, that the way it had all unravelled there was no way Valentino was going to get through – and it was all just so frustrating. But that’s history now!

“I’ve never really covered Moto2 and Moto3 – it is always madness, and it’s going to be exciting for me to cover them, because at the BBC we never really did, but I’ll be doing the whole story, which is interesting.

“And all the British interest is great, too. When I was in MotoGP before, it was gently peppered with a little bit of James Toseland and Neil Hodgson, with Bradley [Smith] and Scott [Redding] working their way through the feeder classes; not the big stars they are now. 

“But I’m particularly pleased this year for Scott. He finally has a good package around him and we’ll be able to see what he’s capable of. Obviously Danny [Kent] was brilliant last year, but I think Sam Lowes is the real opportunity for us in Moto2. After F1, I’m excited to be getting back to some on-track action again.

“I definitely have a lot of homework to do, but I think having done twenty years of racing, you would hope that it’s literally going to be like getting back on a bike for me again. I’ve worked with all of the crew before – apart from Neil, but he was one of my first ever interviews for Sky. The commentators back in those days were a certain Julian Ryder and Keith Huewen, so I started off listening to them. It was the excitement of their commentary that made me love World Superbikes so much.

“I know James Toseland well – I think I’ve taught him all the media he knows! I’ve never worked with Craig Doyle, but I’ve known him for decades and he does a great job. And obviously I know Gavin [Emmett] too – we pinched him from Dorna to help out at the BBC.

“In fact, it was Gavin who wore the chicken outfit in Tavullia, and provided one of my funniest moments from MotoGP, when I watched him trudge up the hill in Tavullia wearing a whole chicken costume – minus the head, because someone had stolen it!

“And of course there’s Colin ‘Texas Tornado’ Edwards, but the less said about him the better! If I thought working with Eddie Jordan was bad, it’s about to get a million times worse when it comes to handing out one-liners and trying to embarrass me! I’m under no illusions that I’ve got to be on my toes all year – but they’re going to get as good as they give!

“I’m going to the Speedway World Cup and the Grand prix in Cardiff this July – and it’s been seventeen years since I covered speedway! But bizarrely, the same names that were there then are still there now! I’m just going to do some of the big events, but it’s going to be brilliant! As well as covering seven rounds of MotoGP, I’m also going to be doing one WRC round, the Indy 500 car race.”

“It’s great to be back, I can’t wait for Jerez MotoGP at the end of the month.”

Suzi returns to our screens for her first MotoGP event at Jerez, on April 24. You can watch all the race action throughout the season exclusively live on BT Sport, the home of MotoGP in the UK. For more information on BT Sport visit bt.com/sport

Words: Simon Patterson Photos: BT Sport