Team Suzuki Press Office – August 24-26.
Russell Jordan has been a long-time member in the Suzuki GP Camp from the 2000s when Kenny Roberts Jr. was in the team, then managed by Garry Taylor. Since Suzuki’s recent return to MotoGP in 2015, he is now a key member again, in charge of spare parts for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s GSX-RR machinery. We caught-up with the Briton ahead of this weekend’s British GP at Silverstone.
With his glasses slipping down his nose, he gives a quick glance up, before returning his gaze to the computer screen. The temperature is perfect inside his truck, a little climate bubble in the middle of the paddock. Russell Gregory Jordan (born in the UK in 1964) doesn’t care if it rains, snows, or if the sun is unbearably hot outside; “It’s the best thing about this job, here in the truck I’m always at the same temperature: 21ºC,” jokes Jordan, who is in charge of controlling the spare parts for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR.
Suzuki’s Spare Parts Manager lives in between cardboard boxes and a hive of drawers in a pleasant microclimate, which he only leaves so he can watch the race from the Suzuki garage. “Sometimes the parts are piled up and I barely have space to move,” he says, cocking his head and casting a gaze over every crevice of the room. Each season, he must work with some 100,000 items, which arrive and leave in innumerable boxes which look like wagons of a train, to-and-from Suzuki’s base in Hamamatsu, Japan: Thousands of chains, hundreds of brake discs, different chassis’, titanium screws, and exhaust pipes from Slovenia…
To organise a parts warehouse such as this, Jordan has been working for many years with a computer programme that allows him to have everything on site and perfectly catalogued. “For example, I know what piece broke in the engine of any race in 2015 and what other piece perhaps caused that break,” he explains. Russell’s encyclopaedia contains everything; the new parts, the defective ones, the used ones, and those which are now out of the catalogue, he also knows the longevity of each piece. “Sometimes I also advise the team when it would be better to replace a part because it is reaching the end of its useful life,” he adds.
For him, the ‘worst’ days of the week in terms of work are Wednesdays and Thursdays: “That’s when all the remittances arrive with new pieces that must be organised and catalogued. I also need to separate out the parts which should be returned to Japan,” he adds. The long test days, where the materials to be tested are piled-up in every corner, are also a challenge. And, of course, the moments of greatest stress arise when there has been a crash.
He is the first to arrive in the garage to carefully examine the damaged motorcycle. Then, like a surgeon preparing his tools, he carefully chooses the parts to be replaced and places them in a stainless steel tray to be delivered to the team.
Jordan arrived in MotoGP in 2001 from Formula 1, after becoming Arrows Racing Team Parts Manager in 1995. “I didn’t imagine I would be a part of this world but one day I saw an F1 truck on the road and the opportunity arose, he remembers. He took his first steps in the test team for Arrows, and later assumed the role of Spare Parts Manager, where he spent about five years. Following a stint with the Jaguar team, he received a phone call about a new and very different opportunity – and that’s when he came to Suzuki and motorcycle GP, first with Team Roberts and later, in 2004, with the Suzuki GP Team where he continues to dispatch parts from his beloved truck with the precision of a surgeon.