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Jurgen Vd. Goorbergh talks about his amazing MotoGP debut in China

Jurgen Vd. Goorbergh talks about his amazing MotoGP debut in China

Jurgen Vd. Goorbergh talks about his amazing MotoGP debut in China

Dutch rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh left the MotoGP world astonished last Sunday when he took sixth place in the first ever Chinese GP in his MotoGP debut. The Dutchman was riding for Konica Minolta as a stand-in for injured rider Makoto Tamada. He started from a distant nineteenth position in the water-logged race and ran a strong and calculated race to finish in sixth position behind veteran riders Max Biaggi and Sete Gibernau.

Less than a later Jurgen van den Goorbergh talks about the experience…

Q: Did you find what you were expecting during the weekend of work?

A: Yes, and more, especially after the sixth place in the race! I went to China very last minute and without any real expectations but I did want to do the best possible. I knew it was going to be hard as I had not been on a four stroke, but I have been racing bikes since I left MotoGP so that feeling was still there! In the end, I came home with more points than I expected and that made the team and me happy! Also the professional working method of the team was impressive and it was very good to experience that environment.

Q: What are the positive and the negative things you found?

A: Especially the power of the bike gives a big thrill and the amount of grip you get with these tyres was amazing, I needed some time to get used to this again. That's why I lost a little bit too much time in the dry compared to the top 3. It was also nice to work with the professional organisation of Dorna and IRTA, I still knew all these guys from my days in GP racing. Also being in the professional run pitbox made me feel good. Another positive thing was my welcome in the paddock - although some people thought I was crazy getting on the Honda RCV211 without a test! I do not think there was anything negative about the weekend - if there was anything then it was the lack of dry track time which limited me to find the 100% comfortable feeling with the bike, but that was no problem in the race!

Q: How did you find yourself with the Konica Minolta Honda Team?

A: I already knew Luca for a long time, I have seen him growing to the team manager he is now. I was very impressed by what he and his partners have built. The team is very professional and was very welcoming to me. Giulio and I worked well from the moment we met; we talked in English so that was easy for him and me. The team is very professional with great experience in racing, as myself, and it was great to work with all these guys.

Q: What are the main differences to adapt to from a Supersport bike to a MotoGP bike?

A: In the first place the grip level from the tyres. And also definitely the enormous amount of power that is usable. There is definitely a big difference with the Supersport bike but there is also a difference with the last bike I rode in what was then 500cc. The development that has happened over the last two/three years is very impressive.

Q: Which are the strongest opponents you met during the weekend?

A: Basically all the riders, they have all been champions somewhere and it is the most exclusive class of racing. The absolute top of motor racing is in MotoGP so all the opponents are strong. It was great to be back and it was great to race with these guys, so competitive and close (elbow to elbow sometimes!). I know the rain helped me a bit but I do believe I showed them not to forget about me when it comes down to top racers!

Q: I'm sure you are satisfied about the 6th place, but do you regret that you didn't push your bike a bit more to try to reach the podium, as at the beginning you were one of the fastest riders on the circuit?

A: There was a lot of confidence for the race but I missed the last little bit - I did not have enough track time with the bike and I did not want to jeopardize a good position with a crash! It was important for me to have a good result for the team as they deserved it after all their hard work.

Q: Final thought?

A dream turned into reality. If the team needs me in the future (close by or later...) I will be there for them! It was great being part of the Konica Minolta Honda team for that race and I am happy I gave them some points for the team-championship. I wish them and their regular rider Makoto Tamada the best for the season!

MotoGP, 2005

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