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McWilliams: “Managing a team is more difficult than riding”

McWilliams: “Managing a team is more difficult than riding”

The former MotoGP rider has returned to the paddock as a team chief for a structure in the Moto2 category of the CEV Buckler (Spanish National Championship).

Jeremy McWilliams was unable to resist the temptation to make the return to circuit life when offered the chance and the Northern Irishman, who is retired from competitive riding, is currently involved in a project which is aimed at developing young British and Irish talent, with an eye on MotoGP. The JMW Fogi Team competes in the Moto2 category of the CEV Buckler (Spanish National Championship), with 23 year-old Northern Irish rider Ian Lowry at the controls of an FTR machine.

McWilliams was the most successful British rider of his generation in the World Championship, accumulating a total of 684 points from just under 180 Grand Prix starts which included six podiums – one of them being a victory.

His return to the circuit was “a natural process”, believes McWilliams. “I like the motorcycling world and I think I can pass my experience to young riders, in a Championship which is as competitive as the CEV Buckler,” he explained.

“It is more difficult managing a team than being a rider,” continued McWilliams. “When you’re the rider you only have to worry about the riding, when you manage the team you have to worry about everything! I also have to adapt to the rider and not the reverse. I had my style, but Ian has his and I must help him get the maximum especially when he is in the process of adapting to a Moto2 bike, which is very different to the bikes that he’s ridden before now.”

McWilliams started riding himself at 24 and did not make his Grand Prix debut until the age of 29, when he started in the 500cc class. After four years on a Yamaha V4 he decided to move to the 250cc category and ride a Honda RS, where his aggressive style impressed Aprilia. In 1999 he signed for the Italian manufacturer and in 2000 rode their two-cylinder 500cc machine, taking two podiums. The following season he returned to the 250cc class and secured his first and only GP win at Assen. McWilliams was then recruited by Kenny Roberts to ride the Proton KR in the MotoGP class in 2002, achieving pole position at Phillip Island. He helped develop the V5 in 2003, and in 2004 returned to Aprilia with whom he contested his final full season, forming a rider line-up with rookie Shane Byrne.

In 2005 at the age of 40 he left MotoGP and rode in British superbikes, but still competed at Brno as a wildcard where he rode the Proton KR. His final race in the World Championship was in 2007, when he raced in Qatar on an Ilmor prototype.

MotoGP, 2010

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