The greatest Grand Prix rider of all time Stefan Everts knows about as much as anyone about how a factory team should be run. Having ridden for all the major factories in his career (Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Husqvarna) and now as team manager of the almighty Red Bull KTM effort.
Here are some cool comments from Everts. These are from a story I did last year for an English Motocross magazine. Asking him about the HRC team of the 1980s and also about the KTM team of this era.
On the HRC team of the 1980
“HRC of course was a big thing, really tricky factory bikes, they had a big team with Malherbe, Vromans, Thorpe and Geboers, a really big team of big riders, but many teams were big back then, like Yamaha and Kawasaki, but HRC stood out above those teams for sure.
“I was always fascinated with what I am doing and I have the same energy for this sports as I did when I was racing, the difference now is I work with a lot of individuals and that is not always easy, putting people together who match and work well together. For me it is difficult to say how it is because I am inside all this, but many people tell me it looks good. If I look back on the last four years we have really moved forward.
Image in the sport
“Image is important and I knew KTM is a very open minded company. I was with Yamaha for a long time and the Japanese have their vision and they don’t like to go extreme and I know that KTM are enjoying doing that, taking risks and moving forward, sometimes really fast. I wanted to do something different and new and I think now look at our lineup and team set-up, it is huge.
His workings with KTM
“It is important for me that I work open I tell them what I think and I don’t try and be good and be thankful that I have this position. I want to tell everyone what I think and also to Mr. Pierer (KTM CEO). If they don’t like me being honest then they kick me out and I walk out and do something else. If I have to work in a political way, then I can better do something else. Pit knows I am open and honest. I don’t need to do anything anymore, I have a nice family a nice house, I have achieved everything in my career I wanted to, but I love to do this, this is my passion. It isn’t that I need this for financial gain, it’s something I love.
Working with riders, including Antonio Cairoli
“The riders know a bit how it has to go. I already hear from Antonio that he asks me what I expect from him, that he needs to wear a team shirt and small things. We always have a briefing and that will happen again before the GP season starts, but I can see with Antonio he is already very professional in his own way.
“He is a lot like I was, he is always looking ahead, his thinking is well ahead, when he is in a group, he doesn’t want to be the show, he doesn’t talk too much, but he shows it, and that is what I like. He isn’t a legend yet, but he is the one who stepped into my boots, he is the next big one. We have the chain of riders who are great, from Robert, De Coster, Geboers, then me, and now he is the next in line.”