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Working in MotoGP: Kawasaki hospitality manager Maria Serrat

Working in MotoGP: Kawasaki hospitality manager Maria Serrat

Fielding the questions today in the latest Working in MotoGP interview is Kawasaki Racings hospitality manager Maria Serrat, who keeps herself very busy in the paddock as she explained to motogp.com.

Fielding the questions today in the latest Working in MotoGP interview is Kawasaki Racings hospitality manager Maria Serrat, who keeps herself very busy in the paddock as she explained to motogp.com.

Throughout the 2007 summer break Working in MotoGP will take you behind the scenes in the MotoGP paddock, as we meet a wide selection of people who play significant roles off the track in the World Championship and they reveal the specifics of their involvement in Grand Prix racing.

Serrat has a broad role with Kawasaki. She manages the teams hospitality unit and deals with the teams public relations. Hospitality is where staff members including mechanics and riders eat and relax during Grands Prix and is where the teams guests are given VIP treatment on MotoGP weekends.

What are your main responsibilities?
To ensure everything is in place, ready for guests to come to our hospitality unit and for our team as well, of course, as it´s for them too. I have to make sure everything looks nice, be there to welcome our guests, show them around and co-ordinate the cook, the waiters and so on I do this in addition to my other duties, co-ordinating all the Kawasaki Racing Team´s public relations.

What are the hardest aspects of your job?
Always staying on top and making sure everything works and is in place. Occasionally, I have to chase people around to ensure things are done and sometimes that´s not nice. Also, I once had to throw somebody out of hospitality but hopefully I won´t have to do that again!

What are the key qualities required to work in the position you have?
To have an eye on everything, from the food, to the beverages, the flowers, the music, the guests And it´s important to familiarise oneself with who the different guests are on different days. Also, smile, be outgoing, organised and patient.

How do you prepare for each Grand Prix?
There´s always a routine and, depending on the amount of guests, it may change. We may need back up staff, in addition to our permanent staff. For example at Assen, which is the home Grand Prix for the team as we´re based in the Netherlands, we had twice the amount of guests we normally do, so we needed extra people to wait on the tables and so on.

But usually, it´s pretty much a regular routine with every GP: making sure everything´s set up and everybody knows what they´re doing.

How does your typical routine for each day of a Grand Prix weekend differ?
Maybe Wednesday, Thursday and most of Friday the hospitality unit only really gets used by the team. At the weekend, though, it´s more guest-orientated and you have to prioritise the guests over the team at those times. Recently, for example, we had to feed the team in an additional area, as the unit itself was too busy with guests, but that´s rare and in future it won´t be a problem as we´re waiting for a new Kawasaki hospitality unit to arrive, which is larger than our current one.

Does your job differ significantly at the various rounds of the World Championship?
Not significantly, no. The amount of guests changes but that doesn´t really alter the routine. Occasionally, we have special dinners or events where we prepare something a little more personalised for the guests of the country we´re in but, overall, it´s pretty steady.

What is your advice for anyone wishing to work in a similar role as yourself?
Have patience and try not to feel over-loaded! But that´s general in MotoGP: every job is so intense and, at the beginning, you feel under a lot of pressure as there´s always so much to do. Then you get used to it and learn to prioritise. You always have three things to do at the same time. Always. Many people in hospitality have a catering background but I´m mainly involved for the PR side of things, looking after the guests and overseeing the whole operation.

How do you stay on top of your game over the course of an 18 round season?
Because I love what I do. Everybody who works here loves their job. Even so, by the 17th or 18th round you feel absolutely destroyed, which is why we have the summer break so everybody can recharge their batteries. Other than that, I just try and remain organised!

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, Kawasaki Racing Team

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