WorldSBK crew chief on his role within the successful operation.
Double Supersport World champion Andrew Pitt enjoyed success and gained immense experience throughout his international racing career, remaining deeply involved in the sport since his racing retirement. As a crew chief, the Australian has worked with the likes of Fabien Foret, PJ Jacobson, Alex Lowes, Michael van der Mark and then Andrea Locatelli. Now, with multi-time WorldSBK champion Jonathan Rea’s arrival to the Pata Yamaha team for next year’s campaign, the outfit has confirmed that Pitt will be his crew chief, and he shares on his role within the team through the 2023 season in this latest Industry interview.
Whilst many people would love to listen in to know how a rider feels after stepping off their bike, interpreting their comments is perhaps one of the most complex parts of a crew chief’s job?
They trust us and we trust them, that’s the key to it all.
Being friends is crucial, but being best friends with your rider means potentially compromising your professionalism?
It’s trust and respect, but you don’t need to be best friends. There will be times when you need to call the rider out the back and have a serious talk, and they’ll be other times when you need to put your arm round them and give them a hug. The rider is risking his life every time he goes on track, so he needs to completely trust you and that’s what builds a close relationship.
So once you’ve established what the rider is trying to communicate and what he needs, what are the next steps to building the bike for the weekend?
A week ahead of a race we’ll have already discussed things with Riccardo, we’ll already have a plan and know what tyres we’ll have available. Then on Thursday we’ll have further technical meetings all together to check if we want to adjust anything ahead of FP1. But basically, we’ll already have a plan for the electronics, the tyres, the fuel, and then after the session we’ll see what we’ve learned. But it’s always pre-planned. I’ll also discuss things with Phil, to see what he and Toprak are doing and we’ll try to cover all bases. It’s all designed to gather info for the races.
You had a less conventional entry into his current job, coming from a background with numbers and his your own World Championship success…
For me getting started as a Crew Chief was something I never expected for myself. I used to race but I also used to be an accountant, which is not exactly the natural progression. But when I stopped racing, I got asked to give the role a go, and I was up for trying it. The rest is history…