This is how those six Japanese, including the one who is infected, as he is asymptomatic and in good health, are teleworking and “in continuous contact with the pilots, with the boxand the rest of the team’s staff ”.
“They are missed, it’s not the same as if they were here, but they can hear every comment I make. And although they can’t really see how I express my feelings with the bike, they are attentive to everything.
And, of course, they have access to all the telemetry data ”, explains Viñales. Furthermore, Yamaha has been able to react minimally and has reinforced the team with personnel from Italy. In the case of Viñales, he has a new electronic technician for this ninth round of the World Cup.
“This weekend we saved him, for sure,” he says optimistically, after finishing with the second best time on the first day of testing in a cold and rainy Le Mans.
Yamaha engineers are not the only ones living in an extraordinary situation. The other Japanese Honda or Suzuki technicians have also had to face an extraordinary championship that is also extraordinary due to the COVID crisis.
By not being able to return to Japan after each grand prize, especially with the demanding calendar that has been imposed for this 2020 – full of triplets that force the staff to stay two weeks in the same country and travel to a second destination after few days they have chosen Andorra as their headquarters from where to travel to different European countries with World Cup events.
There are those who have not returned home since the first race, on July 19 in Jerez or they have done it for just a few days. Teams like Yamaha have facilitated the sporadic and turn-based return of some of their members
Eager to see their families. Also Suzuki. “A few returned home in those two weeks without races that took place before the Italian GP, in early September: they traveled to Japan, quarantined, and traveled to Misano,” they explain from the Hamamatsu structure.
In his case, there are five Japanese on the team who have led an almost monastic life since the championship began. They live in a hotel in Andorra, in individual rooms, and hardly go out for lunch and dinner.
“They avoid having relationships with other people,” explain team sources. This is confirmed by Ken Kawauchi, technical director of the Suzuki Ecstar.
“Most of the time I am at the hotel, checking my emails and in contact with the factory. I just go out to eat something. The truth is that I miss Japanese food, although luckily we have the odd Japanese restaurant in Andorra ”. One of those restaurants is, curiously, the Ginza41, owned by Aleix Espargargó, former pilot of the house.
Kawauchi also recognizes, in statements to EL PAÍS, that it is not being pleasant to live so long apart from his family. “But it’s my job and I try to stay focused and not think about it too much.”
Between emails and MotoGP sessions, the Suzuki boss is looking to get some free time. “More than anything to rest and be able to be a little more productive when I go back to work.” 100% Japanese philosophy.