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Interview with James Toseland's crew chief

18 March 2010

After an extremely successful year in the 2009 British Superbike Championship as crew chief for title winner Leon Camier at Airwaves Yamaha, Frankie Carchedi has moved to the Yamaha Sterilgarda World Superbike Team to spearhead James Toseland's efforts to secure a third world title in 2010...

Q:
How did you get started in racing?

Frankie Carchedi:
I went to Loughborough University, when I graduated I was applying for jobs in Formula One, which is where I thought I wanted to focus my career. I met Colin Wright who was head of the GSE Team and he asked me if I wanted to go to Donington for a test with Neil Hodgson, Niall McKenzie was his team-mate at the time. We did a two day test there and after that he asked me if I wanted to stay and do a season with them, which I thought was a great opportunity.

Q:
What was your role in the beginning?

Frankie Carchedi:
I first started on the electronics side and the data logging, and basically picked up a bit of the suspension knowledge as I went along. I did that for GSE for three years in the British Superbike Championship and then we came to the World Superbike Championship. In 2004 GSE didn't race so I stayed with Ducati and worked with Noriyuki Haga and Leon Haslam with the Renegade team. It was more of a Crew Chief role for me there, and I started working more closely with the suspension set ups.

Q:
Why did you leave the World Championship after that?

Frankie Carchedi:
I had children with my wife so I moved back to work in the UK to be a bit closer to home. I was working for GSE again with riders Gregorio Lavilla and Leon Haslam on the Airwaves Ducatis.

Q:
When did you switch to working with Yamaha?

Frankie Carchedi:
GSE made the switch to Yamaha in 2009 which was great, it was a new challenge for us having worked on the Ducati for some time. It turned out to be an incredibly successful partnership and we won the 2009 British Superbike Championship with Leon Camier, then I moved here to the World Superbike Championship.

Q:
How did you get on with what was an all new Yamaha YZF-R1 in 2009?

Frankie Carchedi:
Straight out of the crate the bike was incredible; we built it up very similar to the factory specification although we didn't have the same engine for the first round. We slowly got all the bits and once we got the factory engine parts Leon was unstoppable winning 18 races in total and sealing the championship before the end of the season.

Q:
This isn't your first encounter with James Toseland is it?

Frankie Carchedi:
I met James in 2001, I was with Colin Wright, we had already decided that we were going to take the team to the World Superbike Championship; we had decided on Neil Hodgson as the number one rider and were talking about who the number two was going to be. We'd seen James in the British championship in 2000; he had an injury that year but still looked like a young rider with a lot of promise, so Colin signed him for 2001 to partner Neil.

Q:
How is it working with James again?

Frankie Carchedi:
I'm working with James a bit on his style as he's used to riding a MotoGP bike so he's having to change and adapt back to superbike riding. His feedback is excellent and we usually find something new after each session to improve on. James had an excellent electronic system in GP and he's given us some really good feedback on this so we can improve the system we're using here on the WSB R1 during the year.

Q:
How are you finding the development of the R1 from last year?

Frankie Carchedi:
The 2010 bike is very different from the 2009 machine; it has a lot of positives including more power across the whole rev range. There are a few issues which we started solving in Australia. As we've progressed both riders have got quicker and we know we've got more to come to go to another level.

Q:
Away from the track what do you do in your spare time?

Frankie Carchedi:
Outside of racing I enjoy a bit of karting and I also love my racket sports! Table tennis, badminton, stuff like that when I can find the time, which isn't often with this job plus a family!

Q:
Any regrets about your career path?

Frankie Carchedi:
I love cars but I'm glad I chose bikes, if you work in car motorsport you only work on one component in the car but with this you work across everything, there is always development going on and always new challenges at every track!


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