By Christian Tiburtius
An exclusive interview with Paul Bird Motorsport's MotoGP technical director Phil Borley, who has been heavily involved in the team's new-for-2013 CRT prototype and also works as crew chief for its rider Michael Laverty.
During the interview, Phil gives a candid insight into the technology used by a modern MotoGP machine and the role of crew chief within a race team...
How did you get into racing?
I got into road racing through a friend. When I left college I was working in a motorcycle shop and the guy who owned the shop was the 50cc British champion and it was his love of bikes and racing experience that got me involved.
I was first interested in enduros and motocross but later we built an 80cc road race bike and that got me hooked and the next thing I know I'm on a 250cc Rotax Armstrong. I raced professionally for eight to ten years, mainly on 600s in the Supersport class and then on the Superbikes, on the RC45 and the Duckhams Norton.
I was pretty successful in that I was British champion in '92 and second in the European championship in '93. It was through the racing that I got to know Paul [Bird] and Paul offered me a job in 2000 when I was struggling to get sponsorship to carry on racing myself.
The job I was offered was James Toseland's crew chief in his first year in Superbikes running the SP1. It was a lot of work as a new project because we were also doing a TT with Joey Dunlop and that meant I didn't have time to be apprehensive in such an important role.
You have a lot of experience as a crew chief, are there any riders who stand out?
I've been lucky to have worked with some of the best, Steve Hislop, James Toseland, Shakey [Byrne] and obviously Michael Laverty. Working with riders like that obviously makes the job easier.
Paul also always wants to supply his riders with the best equipment available so that gives these high caliber riders confidence in the bike they're riding and that's probably why Paul's teams have always been so successful. Paul's very serious about the racing, puts lots into it and has high expectations.
With such exotic bikes available to the team, have you ever tried them?
The last race bike I had a go on was the 998 F02 MonsterMob Ducati Shakey won the [BSB] championship on. I had a go on that at Croft and blew a few cobwebs away. It didn't scare me, but it made me realize how fit you have to be to ride the things. I'd only been away from racing a few years but after about three or four laps I was absolutely exhausted.