Earlier this week, Kawasaki Racing Europe team manager Jan de Groot passed away following a serious illness which had hospitalised him for more than a week.

The likeable Dutchmen was one of Team Green's bastions, having worked with Kawasaki since 1994. Jan was born in 1945, and devoted most of his life to Motocross, working with dedication, humility and enthusiasm.

Once former Motocross rider de Groot had entered the business of racing, he gained soon a well-respected and well-deserved status as a result of his technical skills and ability to obtain the most from his riders, by building exceptional human relationships within the team.

Jan's career as team manager was one of the most successful ever seen in the history of Motocross. He won world titles with Greg Albertyn, Stefan Everts, Sebastien Tortelli and Mickael Maschio; de Groot also worked with some of the most important riders in this era of Motocross, such as Pit Beirer, Marnicq Bervoets, Talon Vohland, Frederic Bolley, Steve Ramon and Chad Reed.

de Groot's 2007 line-up consisted of Tanel Leok and MX1 rookie Billy Mackenzie, the latter winning his first ever premier-class GP last time out in Japan - a result the Scot dedicated to his absent team manager.

As a mark of respect, there will be a one minute silence in Jan's memory before the first heat of this weekend's Motocross Grand Prix of France, while the Kawasaki MotoGP team will ride with black numbers in this weekend's Catalan Grand Prix.

"Jan was a well known and well respected figure in the Motocross Grand Prix paddock and his presence will be sorely missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him or working with him," said Kawasaki competition manager Michael Bartholemy. "We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Jan's family and friends at this difficult time."

de Groot is survived by his wife, two daughters and five grandchildren.