The People Behind The Prize: Tom Sykes’ Pit Crew2015-12-24 10:29
In the second part of our insight into the team personnel who support the KRT riders we will now find out more about the crew who work with 2013 world champion Tom Sykes.
Most of the people you are going to find a little bit more about in this exclusive feature have been working with Tom for some years now, including the season he won the championship, just a couple of years ago. This is as tight-knit and successful a group of people as you could imagine, yet still a varied collection of individual characters and personalities.
Name: Marcel Duinker
Job Title: Crew Chief
Where are you from/live now? The Dutch Island of Texel. Since 2002 I’ve been living in Belgium.
Working/Qualification background? Mechanic for 125cc Champion Aoki, then HAN University of Applied Science, studying automotive engineering. Joined Ten Kate Racing, van Zon racing and then became a Kawasaki MotoGP suspension engineer. Since 2010 I have been with Kawasaki in WSBK.
How did you join KRT? Through Kawasaki’s MotoGP project.
Describe yourself in 10 words? The Sykes family say I am the crazy Dutchman and my wife calls me a workaholic.
Worst thing about the job? I can’t think of anything, really.
Best thing about your job? Being part of a team that is highly involved in the development of future motorcycles, the variety of places we work, working towards a peak over weekends, working closely with a lot of great people with different nationalities and characters.
Best race to work at? In general I enjoy the overseas races most.
Hobby/sport/interests? Building my zero-emission house in Belgium and my Boston Whaler console boat.
What’s TS like - as person in the garage and away from work? Tom is an honest and down to earth guy. He has an unlimited amount of motivation and has the same mood in good and bad situations. Has respect for other riders. Once he goes home he never lets go of the job.
What is your biggest Christmas wish? Spending time with my happy family.
TS Says: “From when we started working together we got on really well, almost like brothers. We are very similar. When he makes a very good joke, and he enjoys it, he likes it to be repeated a lot! I have a great crew chief - and data engineer and top level mechanics.”
Name: Danilo Casonato
Job Title: Electronics engineer
Where are you from/live now? Italy. I live in Legnaro, a village 5
km from Padova.
Working/Qualification background? Kawasaki WSBK development leader of electronic systems and overall strategy. Tom Sykes’ EFI race engineer. I started with Aprilia in 1993 with 2-strokes and in 1995 I moved to Aprilia’s WSBK project, working on the EFI system.
How did you join KRT? In 2003 I joined Kawasaki’s MotoGP project in the EFI section. In 2009, KHI moved me to the WSBK side.
Describe yourself in 10 words? I like to think, I like to be precise and I don't like to speak too much.
Worst thing about the job? People that speak a lot without know-how.
Best thing about your job? Competition
Best race to work at? Magny-Cours 2013.
Hobby/sport/interests? I like to walk in the mountains in summer and go skiing in the winter. I like to read books and follow, on TV, Motocross and MotoGP.
What’s TS like - as person in the garage and away from work? Happy.
What is your biggest Christmas wish?: Just some quiet days with my family before the new season starts. For Kawasaki fans, I want another strong season.
TS Says: “Danilo is funny. He has some similar qualities to me and he is shy in some aspects, but a real straight shooter. He is almost the daddy of the group. If needed he would be the one that would keep us in check. Sometimes, depending on where the conversation is going, that can be a good point!”
Name: Mattia (Mati) Fontana
Job Title: Mechanic
Where are you from/live now? Italian but I live in Barcelona.
Working/Qualification background? I started working in Italy in a special custom bikes garage, and then I’ve enjoyed working in the WSBK Championship for the last ten years.
How did you join KRT? In racing I’ve always been working with Kawasaki but I joined the factory team when I moved to the UK, working with the PBM Team.
Describe yourself in 10 words? Emotional, punctual, sometimes people say I’m too serious. Fussy, no got much patience, friendly, ambitious, honest, shy and Italian
Worst thing about the job? I think that the worst thing is that we have to take a lot of airplanes!
Best thing about your job? We visit a lot of different places.
Best race to work at? Imola. Just because it has one of the biggest crowds and because Tom is very fast there.
Hobby/sport/interests? Running, mountain biking, skateboarding, snowboarding, eating, music.
What’s TS like - as person in the garage and away from work? I’ve been working with Tom for 6 years now. He is one of the best riders I have ever known and one of the best personalities. I really hope to keep working with him for many years. Of course he is the rider and I’m the mechanic, but I consider him a big friend too.
What is your biggest Christmas wish? I just wish to enjoy every moment at 100% and of course get another world title!
TS Says: “He has been with me from PBM racing onwards and we have a great history. I have such a connection with Mattia from the early stage so again, a really funny guy. I can take the Mickey out of him! At the back of it all he is Italian but the poor bloke had to live in Penrith, England, for a couple of years. The joke is that his fine Italian taste buds have long gone. Most Italians like talking about good food or bad food but Mattia is in no position to comment now after that experience!"
Name: Raul (Tato) Guzman
Job Title: Mechanic
Where are you from/live now? Malaga, Spain.
How did you join KRT? I was working with Provec Racing in their Supersport team.
Describe yourself in 10 words? Happy, I like to laugh, funny, respectful, grateful, comradely, ambitious, and competitive.
Worst thing about the job? When rider crashes and destroys the bike.
Best thing about your job? When we win the race.
Best race to work at? Jerez 2013 when we won the title.
Hobby/sport/interests? Trial bikes, boating, fishing, 4x4 cars, rally raid races.
What’s TS like - as person in the garage and away from work? For me Tom is a very good person.
What is your biggest Christmas wish? I would like to win the championship in 2016
TS Says: “Raul, the more I have got to know him, is definitely the dark horse of the lot. He is the real joker - he just sent me a really funny video this morning. He has a great sense of humour.”
Name: Ignasi (Tambu) Tamburini Rovira
Job Title: Tyre Mechanic
Where are you from/live now? Sant Cugat del Valles, near Barcelona
Working/Qualification background? Truck driver, check tyres, pressures, fuel, brake discs and help the mechanics.
How did you join KRT? Before starting to work in this team, I was working in the same company set-up, but in a different area. They proposed I should join the team.
Describe yourself in 10 words? Active, a worker. I like helping people.
Worst thing about the job? Many days travelling.
Best thing about your job? Overcoming - and teamwork.
Best race to work at? Any of them.
Hobby/sport/interests? Travel on holidays, football, Enduro riding, trekking.
What’s TS like - as person in the garage and away from work? In the garage, meticulous. Away from work, happy, friendly and crazy!
What is your biggest Christmas wish? To win the 2016 WorldSBK Championship
TS Says: “He does the tyres and the fuel which is an important part of the job. He is the one that goes out the back of the garage smoking. I won the championship to get him to try and stop smoking! He never stopped… He is funny because all of a sudden his English is getting better than mine so ‘on the quiet’ he must be having some extra schooling.”
Name: Ruben (Justin) Coca Gamez
Job Title: Mechanic
Where are you from/live now? Manresa, Barcelona
Working/Qualification background? I still studying Mechanical Engineering, before I joined the team I worked in SRC, the company that manages the Pirelli tyre service in Spain, doing all the Spanish championships.
How did you join KRT? I have worked in the team base since 2013.
Describe yourself in 10 words? I am an active person and a worker. I am always happy.
Worst thing about the job? When we work well and the rider is perfect but some outside reason takes the rider out of the race.
Best thing about your job? The feeling when rider has won a race, and we know that the job we all did was perfect.
Best race to work at? Laguna Seca
Hobby/sport/interests? Cycling (Down Hill, Enduro), skiing and climbing.
What’s TS like - as person in the garage and away from work? Out of the garage Tom is a very funny person; but when we are working he is thinking all the time about how to improve the bike, to make it go fast and be easier to ride.
What is your biggest Christmas wish? Have a fun time with my family.
TS Says: “We now have Ruben, who is the new kid on the block. He has been working in the workshop for the team but now he is on track as well. He is really funny and he makes me laugh. Because he is only young and small, when we went karting recently he was off like hell as soon as we started!”
Source: Kawasaki Racing Team
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