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Wilko Kleine - Q&A (Jonathan Rea’s race engineer)

“I think the mechanics maybe feel the same as the rider when we get a win, we put in a lot of hours and then you get something back. It's such a good feeling” - Wilko Kleine.
By Christian Tiburtius

An interview with Wilko Kleine, race engineer for Jonathan Rea at the Pata Honda World Superbike team...

Crash.net:
What's the motivation for doing your job?

Wilko Kleine:
I've loved racing for a long time. I was actually a track marshall at Assen, I was the guy wearing orange and waving the flags and I did that for eight years. I like all racing; FI, MotoGP, Superbikes, I love them all. When I stop working in racing I'll definitely go back to marshalling again, it's great fun.

I used to go to FI races, A1 GP, World Touring Car Championships and went to many MotoGP races, I did them all.

I used to own a motorbike too but I had to sell it to buy a house. It was a Honda but I had it before working at Ten Kate.

Crash.net:
How did you start working for Ten Kate?

Wilko Kleine:
I was originally a car mechanic and did that for seven years and saw an advert for a job in the normal road bike garage at Ten Kate and got that job.

I worked in their street bike workshop for four years, doing normal jobs and maintenance. I'm qualified as a car mechanic and also have a diploma in mechanical engineering. I don't think there are any specific qualifications for a race engineer; I think that for a race mechanic hands on experience is more important than having qualifications.

My bosses obviously know that I'm heavily into racing so two years ago one of the race mechanics got sick and they asked me if I wanted to go to Imola to work as a race mechanic there. I was naturally very excited, I only knew racing from the television or marshalling so it was great to be on the other side of racing. I took that opportunity with both hands and was assigned to Rubens Xaus.

Crash.net:
…and he's a man who keeps mechanics busy…

Wilko Kleine:
(laughs) Yes he is actually.

I went to Imola and also Magny-Cours but at Magny-Cours he crashed on the second lap on Friday and couldn't ride any more so that was an easy weekend for us!

Ronald [ten Kate] and I were both happy with how things had turned out so last year when another guy wasn't well I was asked if I wanted to work with Broc Parkes in Supersport. I didn't go to Australia but I worked from the second race 'til Moscow last year.

This year I've got a full time role working as Jonathan Rea's mechanic but because he's injured I'm currently working for Fabrizio.

Crash.net:
How specialised are the mechanics?

Wilko Kleine:
We're not really specialised. There are two mechanics for each bike and during a session I might do the fuel and the other mechanic might do the chain - small things but when there's a larger job we both do it.

I can do any mechanical job on the bike.

Crash.net:
Do you think that mechanics get the credit they deserve?

Wilko Kleine:
Well, we have long days so maybe not all the credit we deserve. But we don't really have time to do interviews and I'm not really sure if people want to hear our story. It's mainly the riders that people want to hear about.

Crash.net:
Do you get time to enjoy the racing?

Wilko Kleine:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jonathan Rea`s race engineer Wilko Kleine (pic: Pata Honda)
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014
Rea, Jerez WSBK/MotoGP test, November 2014

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