Ever wondered why bike manufacturers recommend owners use a particular brand of oil? It’s all to do with the innovation and science that goes into creating a bike that performs well but continues to be reliable and meet stringent environmental regulations. We caught up with Romain Fabre, head of Motul’s Center of Excellence Market, which works directly with bike manufacturers building 360° partnership agreements, to discuss why it’s important owners continue using the oil the bike was designed to use.
Romain, you’ve clearly got a passion for motorcycles. Working at Motul must be your dream job?
I’ve been at Motul for 13 years already. Time flies when you like what you’re doing! I was a fan of motorcycles since a child and had a deeper affinity for off road than road. My first bike was a 125cc trial bike then I moved into Enduro with bigger bikes. Mostly my riding was for pleasure, but I did some amateur trial racing, too. I joined Motul after my studies because I thought it was a great way to combine my passion for motorbikes with work. Since then, I’ve held different marketing and export sales positions and now I’m leading the strategic partnerships department that works with motorcycle manufacturers. Part of my job today is ensuring bike OEMs are recommending Motul products to their customers. When the recommendation comes from the manufacturer, it’s much stronger.
Why is it important bike owners continue using Motul lubricants?
There are stricter and stricter environmental regulations and that means we have developed lubricants that allow engines to have less friction while achieving more fuel economy and lower emissions, all this ensuring maximum level of protection. We have managed to develop this in conjunction with MV Agusta (we also work with Japanese bike makers and the technical requirements are much different). There’s a big difference to using a motorcycle lubricant and a car lubricant. The car one only goes to the engine, but four stroke motorbike oil usually goes to the gearbox and the clutch as well. It’s like the blood of the bike.
What makes Motul’s lubricants so special?
I think it’s a question of focus. Motul has been committed to the motorcycle world since its debut. And we’ve kept loyal to this market despite it being smaller than the car market. We’re devoted to supporting riders in their daily adventures. We’ve been focusing a lot on R&D with a very wide product range that’s at the forefront of our competition. For our flagship product 300V, for instance, we don’t use standard petroleum-based oils so much, but rather vegetable-based stocks named Ester. That means more power and reliability for your bike. We’ve brought to market additional development none of our competitors have done and we’ve been recognised for it by the community.
How did the MV Agusta partnership come about?
Motul has been really committed to the motorcycle market for a very long time and is one of the most prominent lubricant brands out there. Naturally, one of our areas is motorcycle racing. The racetrack is actually the best R&D lab available! We have different agreements with racing teams and secured a partnership with the FIM SuperBike World Championships as a title partner. Through this, we started working with the MV Agusta Reparto Corse Racing team. But it’s a partnership that goes beyond the racing track to the bikes made for the streets and sharing the same innovation that goes into making the race bikes fast and reliable. When MV Agusta bikes are built, they are designed to work with Motul lubricants. It’s essential to continue using them to ensure the best running and reliability of the bikes. That’s why, in the handbook, and at the dealer, MV Agusta recommends the use of Motul lubricants.
How has coronavirus affected business for you?
Motul is a truly international company, present in over 160 countries worldwide. In some markets, coronavirus will soon be behind us, but in Europe, especially Italy where MV Agusta is located, the motorcycle season should be starting now and obviously it’s delayed. So, the fact we’re global helps us mitigate and keep the factories running to service our customers’ needs. We’re also ramping up our online presence to create stories so that communities can still have a link with the brand even if they’re not riding at the moment.