Interviews

Paul Denning

Paul Denning interview

Paul Denning, Team Principal and Managing Director of the Crescent Motorcycle Company, operators of the Yamaha World Superbike Team: you are accustomed to living sport at its highest levels. How do you attain excellence in this sport?
Well, motorcycle racing is the same as most sports. The key ingredient you need at the start is passion, but it’s a step by step process, every day is a school day, we are learning something every single day.

Determination, self-confidence, talent, style. These are some of the characteristics that hallmark the Boggi Milano man. But what does it take to be a champion?
I think that when you look across all sports and in particular motorsport, where the risk is so high, the definition of the guys that win the championships is that they manage to remain most calm, most focused and most committed when it really matters.

Boggi Milano represents a highly-developed form of style, a crossover of sports influence and sophisticated fashion. Is there an outfit that identifies your style?
Honestly not really, because my days are so different. For example, at the race track, it’s the race track, when I’m in the office it can be that I have one or two formal meetings, but in the afternoon I have to sit with the mechanics and discuss practical organization points. It’s quite difficult to wear something that applies across all these requirements, so it’s something that Boggi can help me with. So far I’m not maybe quite achieving that.

As an Englishman, you are accustomed to class, style and charm. Is there something that an English gentleman envies in his Italian counterpart, and vice-versa?
That’s funny. Well, I think that particularly English gentleman have a very relaxed and authoritative way of communicating, but on the other side, however much effort the English guy tries, the Italian guy always looks more stylish. It seems to me that that’s the defining point of the Italian guys: they don’t have to try, and they still look stylish.

What was the most recent “gentlemanly gesture” that you made for someone?
In the English language there is a colloquial saying, “Ah, you’re a gentlemen”, or “you are a gent,” gent being the short… it means you did something kind, something small maybe, and I hear quite a few times “Thank you very much, you’re a gent”.

A gentleman always shows his best to his partner, he knows how to win her attention. How did you conquer your life companion?
The most important thing is to share enjoyable moments and to try to have different interests, but also when it comes the most important points, to share the same values.

In your work you have to rise to new challenges all the time. What are the new challenges facing you in the future?
With Yamaha we have had a really good season this year. Riders Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark finished fifth and sixth in the championship, they finished on the podium six times, we came this close winning a race, but we didn’t win, so the challenge for the next year is, we need to win races, and then to target the top 3 in the championship.

Boggi Milano has compiled a series of rules that a Gentleman follows by instinct. Which do you think is the most important rule for a gentleman?
I think just respect, just to be respectful of others. The fighting on the race track is incredible, but when it’s finished, in general there is a lot of respect and for me it’s amazing how these young guys who are doing what they’re doing on the track really are gentlemen off the bike, and that makes it an enjoyable sport to be involved in.