MARK WOODAGE Crew Chief
One of the longest-serving members of the teamMoto3 Technical Director Mark Woodage has been with the squad through various iterations since Team Director Johan Sitgefelt first launched a Grand Prix team in 2014. A veteran of multiple series and types of bikes, the Brit’s experience gelled perfectly with John McPhee in 2019 to deliver the team’s first ever victory at the French Grand Prix.
How did you start in motorcycle racing?
“I started motorcycle racing back in 1990, straight from leaving school. I got an apprenticeship with a guy called Frank Wrathall, who was one of the leading two-stroke engine tuners in the U.K. I served five years working with Frank, and he taught me everything about engine-building, dynos and pure racing. From there, I went to Aprilia U.K. with Ian Newton for my first year as a crew chief in a race team.”
Which other teams have you worked with?
“After starting out with Ian Newton, I worked with John McGuinness and Callum Ramsey on 250cc bikes, I spent a few years as a 500GP crew chief with Scott Smart and Team Miller, I was crew chief for Michael Rutter at Renegade Ducati as he fought Steve Hislop for the British Superbike title, and I ran Honda UK’s British Supersport team for two years with Eugene Laverty and Jonathan Rea. I was crew chief for Jeremy McWilliams at the Ilmor MotoGP team, I worked in the World Supersport Championship for six or seven years, with Eugene Laverty and the late great Craig Jones, went to BSB and worked for Shakey Byrne and Nori Haga for two years. I’ve been with the Sepang International Circuit team since 2015, but I worked with Stiggy in 2014 in his Caterham Moto2 team.”
What was the appeal of joining Petronas SRT?
“I’ve been with the team since day one, since Razlan took over the team back in 2015 and we moved to the Moto3 class with Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Jakub Kornfeil. I became technical director of the team, and I’ve been with Stiggy ever since!”
What’s your favourite part of the job?
“The results, and the satisfaction that comes with them. Be it a win or a fifth, credible results are a great way to repay all the hard work that goes into it, and this year has been special with wins, podiums and front row qualifying positions!”
What is the team like to work with?
“I’ve known Stiggy since 1995 - we spent a lot of time back then travelling together, and I used to stay at his house when he was a 250GP rider, and even when I went to BSB we used to always catch up at my home race. It’s an absolute pleasure to work with him, and all the guys back in the office in Malaysia are just such nice people that it’s great to work with them. Working with such enthusiastic people makes it easy. Most of the Moto3 team are British and I’ve worked with them for a long time, but I know quite a lot of the guys that have joined us as we expanded into MotoGP as well - I think I’ve worked with nearly all of them at one point. To be a part of that big family is great!”
What’s your best memory working with Petronas SRT?
“The best part has to be Le Mans this year, and to take the team’s first win after all our hard work was just incredible. We’ve worked hard for years, and bagging a podium in Malaysia in 2016 with Jakub Kornfeil was one of the best moments up until John’s win in Le Mans. It took four or five years of hard work to get to that point, and it was a huge moment of satisfaction for the team even more than it was for John.”