Stefan Everts Blog!
Suzuki World MXGP Team Manager Stefan Everts talks Winter Training, the new Factory RM-Z450WS, World Team Launch and preparation for this year’s World Motocross Championships.
This winter was very different than last winter because we started working with a new bike. In October we received the new RM-Z450WS from Japan and we did four days of testing. This was necessary because in the Winter we couldn’t test anything due to the fact that we had to send the two test bikes to our suppliers in order to make exhausts, carbon tanks and carbon subframes; so at that time the bike was still a prototype and everything had to be done in a very secret way. Besides the arrival of the new bike, this Winter was also different than the year before because there were some internal changes at GRP; new mechanics and new riders, so a lot of new faces and people to work with.
So we had a brand new bike, for the first time in eight years actually. When something like this happens, you just have to make something special about it. In December I went to Japan and proposed to SMC how we would do the bike launch and they gave us the permission to go for it. We wanted to do the launch as early as possible, because once this was done, we could unveil the bike to the public and could test it everywhere we wanted to. This was important, because it’s difficult to do good tests if nobody is allowed to see the bike on normal public tracks. This new RMZ-450WS is a new beginning, a milestone for Suzuki; and for me it comes at the right moment, because I’m running the team now. Everything falls a bit more into place and everyone is very motivated to lift Suzuki to a higher level.
So last week, on Friday the 3rd of February, the big moment had finally come; the team and bike launch at our HQ in Lommel, Belgium. Although there are always points where one can improve, everything went really well, especially since it was the first time we’ve done something like this. For me it was also important to include the Suzuki dealers, so we invited a lot of them for the bike launch. But of course, we didn’t forget our fans either. That’s why we organised a contest on Facebook where they could win a pair of tickets to come to the event and that’s also why we decided to go for SMC’s idea to livestream the event on Facebook. It was nice that we could give all our fans the opportunity to follow the presentation, even if they could not be there with us in Lommel.
After the team presentation we went to Hawkstone, the first race for the new RM-Z450WS. I didn’t expect much to be honest, because apart from the four days in October, we only tested it for two days, so the guys hadn’t spend a lot of time on the bike. It was a very good race. Jasikonis made a really good impression on me. The whole Winter I made him train a lot to get physically fit and to gain speed and at Hawkstone he showed that he has made progression. For Kevin, with the new bike comes a new motivation. Last year, Kevin gave us some insights about what could be better concerning the bike, so now he is really pleased with his new, better toy.
I’m looking forward to the start of the season in Qatar!