Jeremy McWilliams: In his own words

Published: 21 January 2002

Flanker: Jezza, what are your thoughts of the up-and-coming season. Do you think you'll win the title?

JeremyMcWilliams: *laughs*. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I had a chance, and I was very encouraged after the first test. Especially lapping within the top four times over a simulated race distance. Genuinely we're happy. I never thought we'd be so close so soon. I'd never ridden on Bridgestone tyres and you never go that fast at the first test. As far as the title goes we're not under any illusions, but let’s get the first race won before we start talking about titles.

James: The Bridgestone tyre test at Jerez produced very encouraging results. Do you think that using Bridgestone tyres this year will be to the team's advantage?

JeremyMcWilliams: Yes, definitely. I think the advantages that the slightly lighter bikes have had over the last couple of seasons, have really become less advantageous because tyre development has been for the V4s, and it’s always been tyre development for the V4 remember. There was never any ongoing tyre development for the lighter bikes. The tyre development has always favoured V4s and there was no advantage to having a lighter bike. The V4s have been getting as much grip, and in some cases more grip, than the later bikes. So I think the Bridgestone thing could really work to our advantage. It looks it way from the first test, but it's only one test and we’ve to go do a lot more and try a lot more different tyres and different tracks and different conditions. But that was the idea behind changing because we needed to see if we could find some more advantage

trevor: How does the KR3 compare to the Aprilia 500 V-Twin you rode in your last 500 campaign, with regards to power and handling?

JeremyMcWilliams: I prefer the chassis on the KR3. It's definitely better on the brakes. We always had a problem with the Aprilia on the brakes. The bike’s a little bit more stable also, and as far as the power goes, they seem pretty equal

wear wolf willis: Who will be the DADDY this year in WSB & BSB & would you say that ducati may find it hard to compete against the 1000cc four strokes

JeremyMcWilliams: No I don’t. I still think Ducati. I’ve got to back JR again for British, but I think the Ducatis are going to be really, really even, you know, it’s going to be quite even. And for WSB, I’ve gotta say, I really fancy Hodgson or Bayliss again, but I think I’m being a bit, sort of, patriotic there. I think Hodgson really has got what it takes and it's just getting it all together ya’know. But the thing is, the years change about so much, so it's hard to comment at this stage. But I'm going to be patriotic and say, mainly cos I want him to do it, Hodgson, with Bayliss giving him a hard time and then all the rest. It’s not what I’d call a real big field of fast riders in WSB anymore, they are starting to degenerate…er…deteriorate…*laughs*.

Revezxr: your used to carrying lots of corner speed from riding a 250, how does the kr3 compare, and can you use it to your advantage?

JeremyMcWilliams: That's one area we are trying to work in. I wanted to carry more corner speed at the test, and I found the chassis feels more like a v4 chassis. And it's been designed by V4 engineers, remember. Everyone that’s been behind that chassis came from aV4 background. I wanna to change it, and thankfully the team also agree that the one thing it may lack is corner speed. So they’re designing a new chassis for that particular reason. And in the meantime we're changing the engine position for the next test to see if the new chassis will be the right direction.

d4vec: Would you have liked to have been on the Aprilia triple this season?

JeremyMcWilliams: Er, yeah. Sure would of. Not really sure what happened there, but... they've made their choice, and it's slightly surprising to me but anyway, they must believe it can happen with their choice of rider.

Tarmacsurfer: Do you think Katoh will make as huge an impression in GP1 as he did in 250cc?

JeremyMcWilliams: Yes. And definitely yes. I think one of the best riders I've ever seen. Closehand, too. I think yeah, it’s obvious, even before he posted the very fast times. I said to people that was going to be the way. I just imagined he'd be fast when I heard he was going to be on a v4. He's a bit of a machine, ya’ know, as you saw on 250s.

d4vec: Any whispers in the line of a KR3 4 stroke triple?

JeremyMcWilliams: Er...yes, there's four stroke but I'm not sure it's going to be a triple and I think the team, have made the right choice by not making a four-stroke yet because they haven’t seen really what works. I think they are going to base their choices on whatever configuration works, so it could be maybe 3, inline 4, V5, I’m not sure...

Badbhoy: is there any racers from home (IRELAND) would make the grade at GP level if they got the backing?

JeremyMcWilliams: Er... A couple of young riders at the moment who could...without mentioning names. It's more the very young riders coming into racing at the moment, that may, if they pick up the backing of course. I think the way you make GP riders is putting them into difficult championships. It’s like the Italians or Japanese being entered into like the Japanese or Spanish championships, at every race they have to compete. But it's all to do backing if they get the money they will be able to compete. But you just got to be in the right place at the right time. The worst thing is if you’re thrown into GPs and you aren't ready to compete at that level, and after a year you want to go away again. If these young riders are being brought up through the right championships; those being the British championships, followed by the Europeans, then they should have the better chance of making it.

Tarmacsurfer: Do you think the Irish road racing should remain the same or change to tracks to curb the mortality rate

JeremyMcWilliams: No, I've always said they should choose the tracks that are at the moment, less dangerous, and make them more safe, and ignore the very second rate tracks that exist at the moment. But every time I say something about road racing, I cause a stir, and I'm better saying nothing, because it doesn't actually achieve anything.

d4vec: Do you think Leon Haslam or Jay Vincent stand any chance of a podium this year?

JeremyMcWilliams: God...*laughs*. I'd like them to be able to, I'm honestly not sure they are on the right machinery just yet. And they’ve got a little bit more of an apprenticeship to serve yet. Somewhere like Donington, of course they could be on the podium. Wet race. Drying conditions. All the reasons why I won a grand prix! It's a big gamble to be honest.

Atom: Do u keep fit by riding offroad like some of the other riders

JeremyMcWilliams: Yes. As often as I can. Trials bikes this year and for the last three years. I used to always have Motocrossers but I was still managing to hurt myself just before the season started so I got trials bikes which didn't really help cos I broke my collarbone as soon as I started riding those, but I'm not really riding "sections" as they call them so we tend to ride long, long enduro type riding on trials bikes with sections thrown in. What I'm trying to say is that I'm good at the enduro parts and shit at the sections!

Kevin: When you talk about difficult championships, do you think that one-make series are a good start?

JeremyMcWilliams Yeah, yeah definitely. Yeah, I think some of the closest and best racing to watch has been the Aprilia Challenge both here and on the mainland. We've got a great series here and it's highlighted a couple of very good riders for the future.

Revezxr: KR always looks so serious on tv, whats he like to work with? does he have a sense of humour?

JeremyMcWilliams: He is probably the funniest man I've met for a long time, and calls everybody on the team an asshole or a wanker and gets away with it. And, uh… I better tell you a story, when all the teams stopped to eat in Spain, he sat down to eat and looked around the table and asked them "what the f*** are you doing here, who are you " and the guys all came from Formula One backgrounds and probably had never had a boss like that. So he's very down to earth, very easy to work for and with a great sense of humour.

Livid: How many more seasons do you think you'll do? Will you race in BSB before you retire?

JeremyMcWilliams: Yes I will. I'll race in British Superbikes, but no idea how many more seasons I’ll do this. I'm six years older than anyone else in GPs so and I can't stay there much longer. No longer than 5 years! Only joking, we’ll see.

JeremyMcWilliams: You'll have to hang on a second, because I'm actually on the phone in the hairdressers, and they're making me move to wash my hair… Ok, I’m back now

Beercan: Are you going blond again?!?

JeremyMcWilliams: I'm not actually going blonde again The reason I'm here is that I've been waiting for them to wash my hair when the web-chat was due to start. But do you all think I should go blonde again????

d4vec: Why do you think that the british youngsters seem to get overlooked for the top rides?

JeremyMcWilliams: Top rides where? I think, you know, the younger riders tend to get there but they get overlooked for a year or two because people are waiting for them to mature a bit, they get more experience. I think riders like Leon Camier have made the right move and will be in GPs this year and it took a lot of bottle to go off and have a go to try and into the Spanish series but it seems to have paid off for him. Young riders who stay in Britain tend to come up into the good rides in about 4 or 5 years.

A82Addict: What do you see yourself doing when you decide to hang up your gloves? Would you like to run your own GP team like Foggy is doing in WSB with Petronas?

JeremyMcWilliams Yeah, I would. That appeals, certainly whenever I finish racing that'd be a great thing to do. I'd love to do that and hopefully the chance will come up someday. I'd like to have a long term association with a team though, rather than a year here and a year there. I’d like to finish my career with someone and maybe go further with them..

Pauly: what about Chris Walkers chances

JeremyMcWilliams: Yeah, I've a lot of time for Chris. I think he'll do very well in WSB He’ll surprise a few people. He's got a lot to comeback and prove so he'll be up for it. If there’s one man who will be up for it, it’ll be him. I'm not sure if he'll win a championship in his first year on a new bike but there’s every cahnce he'll be winning races, I'll put my money on that.

Atom: Could you beat Rossi in a fist fight? And who do you think will be the top three in GP1 this season?

JeremyMcWilliams: I fancy myself, as I could beat anyone in GP…with fists. Er... top three...I'll have a go.... I'll say Katoh. There's a surprise for all you Rossi fans! Katoh and Rossi fighting for the championship. I think Katoh's really gonna surprise a few people and... let me see… Nakano and Biaggi, fighting for the next two positions.

Pauly: Jeremy how did you feel being left out of the Top 50 racers of all time in this months Motorcycle Racer especially when James Toseland made it in.

JeremyMcWilliams: I think that's a list compiled by riders. I'm not particularly worried if another rider doesn't think I'm the best rider in the world. But that sort of stuff...I mean I read it...but it doesn't seem to me to make any particular sense. It’s not in any particular order. It should have just been name your favourite rider of that era, cos all the old guys voted for Hailwood and all the young guys voted for Rossi.

d4vec: If 4 strokes prove to be the way to go will Kenny push the 4 stroke project forward or is he commited to the 2 stroke for this season?

JeremyMcWilliams: Yeah, definitely... They've been saying they are committed to 2 strokes this season, but I think anybody… if one four stroke engine became available to lease or buy I think the team would push to have one, I assume. They were talking to me about September but you know, September doesn't mean they’d race one. I think they'd like to have the direction by September, or the engine by September and then start testing with it.

JeremyMcWilliams: Thanks to everyone for coming and all your questions But I better get going or else they'll have to cut around my phone!