There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the role of the crew chief, what their job is, and what role the rider plays in managing the bike. In the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, Steve English and David Emmett discuss the many things they have learned about the role from talking to crew chiefs about their role.
It is a long and rambling discussion, with Steve and David drawing on their long years in the paddock, both in MotoGP and in WorldSBK, and using two articles as a basis for discussion. Steve's piece on the Ten Kate WorldSBK team, featuring interviews with Loris Baz and his crew chief Mick Shanley, and the article Peter Bom wrote on MotoMatters.com about the role of chassis setup software, and how it has eased the workload of engineers.
Steve and David discuss the work that goes on in the run up to a race weekend, to prepare for a race. They talk about how riders and teams use time in free practice to find the right setup for the race, and compare the different approaches between the MotoGP and WorldSBK paddocks. They discuss what teams do differently during practice and the race, and what happens after the race.
They talk about much more besides this. A discussion of the importance of teamwork, and how each member of the team has to rely on the others, and how even when top teams put together some of the best mechanics and engineers, it doesn't necessarily work out. They talk about the trust that is required between rider and team, and what happens when mechanical failures break that trust. They compare the different types of crew chief, from ex-riders to people managers to former suspension technicians. And they base much of their conversation on concrete examples in the paddock. For example, comparing and contrasting Jonathan Rea working with Pere Riba, with Marc Marquez' relationship with Santi Hernandez and the rest of his crew.
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