The Yamaha World Supersport...
The Yamaha World Supersport team won the '09 World Supersport Championship with rider Cal Crutchlow (left) and team manager Wilco Zeelenberg (right), but the team was disbanded at the close of the season due to budget cuts. Crutchlow is now on the Yamaha World Superbike team, and Zeelenberg has been appointed as the new crew chief for Yamaha MotoGP star Jorge Lorenzo.
Yamaha officially announced the appointment of former Yamaha World Supersport team manager Wilco Zeelenberg as the team manager for Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo for the upcoming 2010 season. Rumors were running rampant for weeks that Zeelenberg was the person slated for the job vacated by Daniele Romagnioli, who decided to move on to what appears to be a position with the new Monster Tech 3 Moto2 team. Zeelenberg’s availability was made easier by the fact that the Yamaha World Supersport team was disbanded at the close of the ’09 season—after winning the World Supersport Championship with rider Cal Crutchlow—due to the financial climate forcing Yamaha to make cutbacks.
Zeelenberg previously had a successful career as a rider, contesting 100 Grands Prix from 1986 to 1995, racing with three different manufacturers including Yamaha. He managed to win the 1990 250cc German Grand Prix aboard a Samson Sharp Honda NSR250, and had a best championship finish of fourth in ’91. From 1995 to 2000 he then raced in the World Supersport championship.
Upon retirement from racing, Zeelenberg joined Yamaha Motor Europe as Technical Coordinator and Test Rider until 2008, when he took over the role of Team Manager for the Yamaha World Supersport team. Zeelenberg lives in Holland and is married with two children.
Lin Jarvis, Managing Director for Yamaha Motor Racing Srl, added, "I would like to congratulate Wilco on his appointment and wish him every success in his new challenge. I am confident that the Team and Jorge will benefit from Wilco's long experience as a rider, a Yamaha racing technician and more recently as a successful Team Manager. We look forward to integrating him into the Fiat Yamaha Team working alongside Davide Brivio, both Team Managers being under the supervision of Team Director Masahiko Nakajima."
"After nine years working for Yamaha I am very proud to be joining the official Yamaha MotoGP team," said Zeelenberg. "It's a big reward and I am very excited about this new challenge. Jorge is a fantastic rider and I cannot wait to start working with him and the crew. The team is already a well-oiled machine and I am thrilled to be fitting into it. It's clear that there are four main contenders for the title and Jorge is one of those four. I am a very competitive person, I will do everything I can in the team to create the right atmosphere and fight for the championship title."