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Jurgen vd Goorbergh working with his idol

Jurgen vd Goorbergh working with his idol

Jurgen vd Goorbergh working with his idol

When I was a young boy I went with my father and brother to some Grand Prix races in Europe, and I remember the 1985 Dutch GP as especially exciting! We had some paddock passes for that Grand Prix, and this allowed me to see my two favourites - not two riders but only one, Freddie Spencer. My other favourite was his team manager, Erv Kanemoto, who became a team owner a few years later. It was in 1985 that Freddie and Erv worked together to win the 250 and 500 titles for Honda in the same year, which in my eyes was an unbelievable achievement.

Since then I have had a goal and a dream. My goal was to become a factory Honda NSR500 pilot and work with whom I think is the most successful team owner in history, Erv Kanemoto. I have worked very hard to achieve these aims, and last November I got my reward in Jerez.

My first impression of the NSR500 was not a surprise, I expected it to be as good as it was. I expected the huge power but not the smooth delivery. I found the bike to be very stable, particularly under braking, which is very good. Everything was new to me, tyres, the bike the team and the way they work, so the focus was just on having a shake-down and getting a feel for everything.

When we went to Phillip Island in December I felt a lot more comfortable with the bike in comparison with Jerez. I began to understand the NSR and its 'behaviour' better. We tested a huge numbers of new tyres from Bridgestone and did plenty of work on suspension. The idea was not to break any records, just learn how to ride the bike.

Two of my goals have already been achieved in 2002. However, my ultimate dream is still waiting: to become a Grand Prix winner and also become a World Champion in the new MotoGP classification.

500cc, 2001

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