WSBK »

Marcel Duinker (Tom Sykes’ crew chief) - Q&A

I'm also involved in the back of the garage because I have experience from some incredible environments such as a factory MotoGP team, which is an excellent place to grow in racing expertise.

When I was a suspension engineer in MotoGP I was working with some excellent crew chiefs. I always watched over their shoulder as to what I thought they were doing well and what not so well. I kept this analysis with me in case I became a crew chief in the future - I spent those years waiting, learning and analyzing. I learned a lot in those years and am putting that to use now.

One area in which the Kawasaki team contrasts with others is that we only have two people involved in the set-up of the bike, Danilo and myself, I believe that other teams have many more parties directly involved.

Ultimately I was one of the two lucky guys who moved to the Superbike project, the other was Danilo. Halfway through 2009 my Japanese boss, Mr Yoda [Kawasaki race director], said he'd like me to move to Superbikes so I knew where I was going quite early. It helped that I had a quite good personal relationship with Chris Vermeulen and he lived close to me in Belgium at the time, I was supposed to work with him.

I'm employed by Kawasaki directly.

Crash.net:
How long will you work today (Friday at the Silverstone WSBK round)?

Marcel Duinker:
Unfortunately today we destroyed a bike so it could be 11 or 12pm. I don't work as hard physically as the mechanics, my role is different, but I will always be there until the end. I am there until the last bolt is tightened and the engine is started. That is also part of my responsibility and then I can also be sure that everything is OK.

After the race, I fly home and they fly to the workshop, that's different, but on a race weekend it's like this.

Crash.net:
When you took over responsibility for the factory Kawasaki team from the previous team owner there was quite a jump in performance, why was that?

Marcel Duinker:
The bike we were using is the same physical machine, Kawasaki have consistently developed and improved it though.

I started working with Tom Sykes in the winter of 2011. As I mentioned I had at first been assigned to be Chris Vermeulen's crew chief but because of his injury I wasn't able to do my job properly - it was a shame. Even though I didn't have a specific job because of Chris' injury, I went to every race meeting and I was consistently monitoring and analysing how they were setting the bike up.

So once I started working with Tom I swept away the bike he was riding totally. I didn't use any historical settings from Tom's bike, I started from zero, from the settings of the bike when it was created. I didn't want to continue with a number of settings I didn't agree with. Because of my analysis I already had a great number of directions I wanted to work in.

The improvement came purely in the bike set up. I heard people often say that we must have got a new bike, but the hardware was the same. I believe that you firstly have to fully understand the problem before coming up with countermeasures and my analysis helped me to do that.

I have a very analytical approach and focus very much on the facts and numbers. If your experience as a crew chief isn't huge then you have to start somewhere and that is from the numbers, 2012 when I started to work with Tom was really my first year as a crew chief.



Tagged as: Tom Sykes

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sykes, Portuguese WSBK 2013
Sykes, Portuguese WSBK 2013
Haslam and Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Sykes and Haslam, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race2 2014
Sykes signals to Baz for letting him pass, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014
Sykes, Magny Cours WSBK race1 2014

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


nealio

August 08, 2013 2:55 PM

Entertaining and more importantly educational. For any fan of motorcycle racing this type of interview with intelligent questions asked of a frank ad open expert just adds so much to one's enjoyment of the sport. Mr. Duinker certainly has a handle on his role in the team. It must be great to have him as your crew chief!

Sweeble

August 08, 2013 11:12 AM

As far as I'm concerned, I reckon what Tom has been able to do this season is a pure partnership between Tom and Marcel. Everything seemed to come right when they started working together. He's obviously one clever man, I just wish that he could at least wear a bit of lipstick for when the camera goes to him so as to try to compete with Manuela!



© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.