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Wilco Zeelenberg discusses role

Wilco Zeelenberg discusses role

Jorge Lorenzo’s new Fiat Yamaha Team Manager for the 2010 season offers his opinion on the prospect of working with the Spanish rider.

Joining the Fiat Yamaha team for the forthcoming MotoGP World Championship, Wilco Zeelenberg will be Jorge Lorenzo’s Team Manager and the Dutchman speaks on a range of issues here.

What are you expecting from your new job as Jorge’s Team Manager?
It is a long time since I worked in the GP paddock and it will be a long, demanding and exciting season. To be able to work with the youngest and most talented MotoGP rider is like a dream becoming true.

What are you doing to become familiar with the new bike and MotoGP in general? What are the major differences you’ll now have to get used to?
In my functions as Team Manager I need to know Jorge very well, so I am reading his book and secondly I have been reading the new rule book for 2010 to be exactly aware of the differences between Supersport and MotoGP. So, I read books!

When did you first meet Jorge and what were your impressions?
I met him a couple of weeks ago for the very first time. He is a very young, intelligent and experienced rider. The first thing I noticed is that you do not have to motivate him!

What do you think Jorge can achieve this year?
Jorge is in his third year of MotoGP and he will try to make fewer mistakes than last year and also try to be better than last year. Last year he finished second, so this year for sure his goal is the Championship.

Do you plan to slot into the existing team set-up or will you introduce new working practices?
First of all I need to commit with the guys to see how they work and I am experienced enough to see if it is necessary or not. Anyway, I do not expect it is.

Did you ever get to ride a MotoGP bike in your capacity as Yamaha test rider? How easy or difficult was it?
Lin Jarvis gave me this opportunity in 2003, the year before Valentino came to Yamaha. I rode five laps in Valencia and it was very difficult. I was not able to open the throttle, actually. I was working more to close the throttle, instead of opening it. So it was very difficult.

What does your riding and racing background mean you can bring to Jorge’s side of the garage?
I think it is very important to know exactly what is going to happen in a couple of hours or over the whole weekend. To learn those expectations you need to have much experience and that can already change the situation from a losing one to a winning one. It is difficult to say precisely what it is, but to be aware of what is going to happen, that’s very important.

How familiar are you with all the tracks on the MotoGP circuit?
I raced on 11 of those tracks, whilst I have never been in six of them, or maybe I have been there but I have never raced there.

Give us an idea of how much more complicated the MotoGP bike is compared to the World Supersport machine you were working with last year.
The M1 is built for racing and that’s a big point. Our Supersport bike last year was a good bike, but was a production-based bike and we had to create the racing bike out of it, that makes a huge difference.

You last raced in a Grand Prix in 1995. How has the Championship changed?
I think it has changed a lot over the years, especially when you look at the electronics. On the other side they have stopped with the 250cc, where I raced in the 90s. So there have been big changes.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2010, Fiat Yamaha Team

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