Joan Olive: “We must maintain the same line of work and commitment until November”
Passion, effort, professionalism and teamwork. These are the principles of Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS that, under the leadership of Joan Olivé, aspires to constantly demonstrate in 2019. After the first half of the World Championship, it's time to take stock.
At the end of 2018, Joan Olivé accepted the position of Team Manager of Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS and was given the task of returning the team to its historic level of excellence. It was with dedication and affection that the team that currently leads the intermediate category of the MotoGP World Championship was set up. Olivé does so with the help of Alex Márquez, a rider who, with four victories this year, remains a firm candidate for the title. At his side, Xavi Vierge continues to make steady progress and is moving closer to the podium. After nine Grands Prix, there are goals already achieved and many more to be achieved in a second half of the championship that is expected to be exciting.
What do you think of this first half of the season?
“The balance is very positive. Alex is living a moment of great maturity. His ability to work and concentrate during a race weekend is really amazing. Without a doubt, this year he has taken a step forward to become a firm candidate for the title. Xavi has improved a lot since we started working together in November. We haven't been able to see the results yet, but with a little patience they will arrive, because the work is well done and he has shown that it can be at the front.”
A year ago, a difficult start to the season made the future of Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS uncertain. Now the team is living its best moment. What factors have changed?
“The cohesion between the members of the team and a good atmosphere have been key in giving the riders the peace of mind they needed. The professionals who make up this team have treated this project as something personal. We have all been eager for this to go ahead. Marc van der Straten has insisted that we all form one big family, and without a doubt we have achieved it.”
Were you expecting such positive results when you decided to take charge of this project?
“I knew that Alex was a very fast rider with a great technique and I was convinced that if we worked on certain aspects we could make a good year. In fact, he was one of the reasons why I decided to come to this team. He trusted in his abilities as a rider and in the viability of achieving the challenges we set ourselves. I didn't know Xavi that well, but he has proved to have the speed and he is a hard worker. The project was very motivating.”
The first victory was long overdue. It took five races and overcoming the crash at Jerez… How did you experience it within the team?
“We lived it very intensely and it belonged to everyone. It was like an explosion of many things. You could see the joy in people's faces. The winter was hard, with many changes at all levels and it was almost like starting from scratch. Things were going well and we were sure that someday the victory would come. And when, after the Jerez crash, Alex crossed the finish line first in Le Mans it was, uffff (remember the moment and smile), like a release. At last we were there. It was like a reaffirmation of our potential and kind of a “if anyone doubted it, we've arrived”.
And after the first one, three more… What made Alex Márquez click?
“Among the whole team we have managed to create an environment where Alex feels very comfortable. The incorporation of David García, his new chief mechanic, and the great effort made during the pre-season have been key to obtaining good results.
The start of the season wasn't easy for Xavi Vierge: crashes, a mechanical failure when he started from pole… What separates him from the fight for the top positions?
“Xavi has worked very hard since pre-season to adapt to the team and his new bike. Although luck has not been with him at the beginning of the season, these last two races we have seen a Xavi more prepared and able to fight for the top positions. He's a great rider and I'm sure the podiums will come soon.”
Now a few days of rest and ten more Grand Prix ahead. How do you plan the second half of the championship?
“In this second half of the season we have to keep our feet on the ground. The competition is very high and we only have a few points ahead of second. In this category, there is very little margin for error so we must maintain the same line of work and commitment until November if we want to reach our goal.”
Who are Alex's main rivals in the World Championship?
“It is evident that among the strongest rivals are veteran Tom Lüthi and Augusto Fernandez, who have already won in the World Championship this year.”