By Christian Tiburtius
An exclusive interview with Marc VDS team principal Michael Bartholemy, whose rider Scott Redding is leading the Moto2 World Championship with victories at the last two rounds.
Bartholemy previously ran the factory Kawasaki MotoGP team and is also Redding's personal manager.
During the interview, which took place during post-race testing at Mugello, Bartholemy confirms that his 'target' is to find Redding a MotoGP ride with one of the manufacturers...
Hi Michael, thanks for taking time out to talk to us when you're so busy at the Mugello Moto3 tests.
No problem, but in this moment it's a good busy rather than a bad busy. Or put it this way, in the Moto2 it's a good busy and in the Moto3 it's a difficult busy right now!
So you're testing with your Moto3 rider Livio Loi?
We knew that it was going to be difficult and that there would be bad tracks, but now we've had a weekend like this and we need to find a solution. He's finding it hard to get a good set-up for this track.
For sure it's a track which needs big b*lls and you have a lot of corners where you need to make speed for the next, he knew it was coming though, so we have to work to keep his motivation high and to give him more feeling on the bike.
He's a very young Belgian rider and actually only became old enough to race during the season. He's fast and finished 16th at Le Mans. This weekend was basically a bit of a disaster and he was orbiting between 25th and 30th
You've been in team management for a long time, how did you get into it?
My grandfather was already a racer and bikes were very much in the family and there were bikes around the house. My father didn't race but he did take us to various races including GPs so when I could get a little money together I got a bike. I started racing when I was 17 in the European endurance racing championship with races lasting between four and eight hours with two riders. I did pretty well, but I come from a normal family without too much money so I had to stop when I was 22 for financial reasons.
I still had good contacts in the racing industry and Yamaha contacted me when they had a new 750 bike coming out and they wanted me to enter it for them in what was then the equivalent of Superstock. We did a world championship race for them at Spa and at the time I was the youngest team principal in any world championship. That could be a problem because people sometimes found it hard to respect someone so young and always thought that you just came from a rich family.
We did well there and that started a good relationship with Yamaha during which I did four years of endurance racing for them. I was getting a bit tired of endurance, so when the Thunderbike class started in MotoGP, I wanted to move there. They said I could do it, but before that I had to move back to Belgium to do some Supersport and Superbike seasons to get more into the rhythm of those championships.