Team Suzuki World MXGP General Manager Stefan Everts talks about taking over Suzuki’s factory GP squad, winter training and pre-season races before the MXGP World Championship gate drops at Qatar on February 27th. He says moving back to Suzuki, where he won the first of his 10 world MX titles, was a decision that changed his life.
What a couple of crazy months it has been. My life has changed completely, but I don’t regret my decision for a second. I’m still very happy and motivated and so far everything is falling into place. What has made the whole process extra difficult, is the early start of the GP season. Everything has been under pressure time-wise. We are in full preparation with our riders, we go training with them in Spain and France, because of the weather it is impossible to stay in our region. Also, the mechanics are waiting on the spare parts. We have been participating in some international pre-season races and we are testing more things on the RM-Z450 and RM-Z250. Moreover, the crates for the oversea races have to be packed and shipped. So many things to do in such a short period has made it extremely tense and buzzy. Luckily, we have a great team and a great crew with loads of experience, so we are getting there.
I’ve also been away from home a lot, joining the riders and the team on the training sessions. We went to the RedSand MX Park in Spain for a few weeks in January. Riding went so good and the riders where very happy. I’m also really happy with how they are training together, pushing each other to do better, learning and sharing their experience. It makes me happy to see that we can have such a strong team spirit. It’s pushing all riders to the next level in their skills.
You can see that the guys like it: Kevin’s speed this winter has been really good. His confidence grew over the past few months and he is happy and satisfied with his RM-Z450. Also Ben is doing good. He had a little shock therapy with the Belgium and Dutch sand the last couple of weeks, but he is picking-up fast and he grew so much the last couple of days. I’m happy to be captain of those two guys in my first year as General Manager at Team Suzuki World MXGP.
They say, time is going by fast when you are having fun and this is really true. Our first race as a team is already in the history books. We went to Hawkstone last weekend and it was a good test for the team. Overall I was happy, even though we had a little technical issue with Kevin, but it taught us a lot about the riding style of Kevin and Ben. They are both so different. For the first time we saw some big differences in setting-up the bikes. We really collected some vital data at the race in Hawkstone; and the guys did good there. BT rode well and is up there with the top guys, speed-wise. Only his fitness needs to improve but I’m sure that this will come in the next few weeks.
Our final stop before the big MXGP season start in Qatar will be Valence. It’s our last rehearsal. And we also have the pleasure to welcome Yamaguchi-san from Suzuki Japan for this race. He and the crew will fine-tune the bike for the best possible results. Hopefully we will have a miracle with the weather, so we can have some sunshine for the race. But we are ready for anything.
Personally I’m also very excited to go to Qatar. The first GP is always special. The whole family comes back together again, riders in new gear, new team set-ups and Qatar is special, racing under the lights. It adds some class on TV and the images afterwards. Plus, we made some changes on our overseas set-up and I’m very happy with the final results. Just watch and see!