Meet the Pinoy who works in MotoGP and is a VR46 superfan

Date posted on April 22, 2021
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He is one of the first fans of IR Nation more han a decade ago. Elmer Illano is the guy who posts on social media his annual selfie photos with his MotoGP idol Valentino Rossi. These are not just rushed unplanned selfies, but shoulder to shoulder photos of him together with his MotoGP idol.

So far, he has a total of 13 selfies with “The Doctor” from 2009 to 2021. The reason he gets this close every year to the legend himself is because Elmer regularly works at the Qatar MotoGP races as Team Lead for Scrutineering for a number of years now.

We thought it will be interesting to our readers and MotoGP fans to know more about this Filipino who has been rubbing shoulders with the MotoGP gods and able to tinker with the multi million dollar grand prix machines.

How did you ended up working in Qatar?
“My regular work is far from my passion. I used to work at the Petron Bataan Refinery, for 13 years bago ako nag abroad. Now I work in the state owned oil and gas company of Qatar as Senior Operator/Permit Controller in Crude Storage unit. I used to follow all scooter races during 2T days. I have the first issues of IR magazines in black & white pa including the first one in 1999, si Benjo Mendoza ang naka front page! Then nag subscribe ako, kaso parang hindi natuloy un production ng second issue in 1999.”

“In 2004 I decided to go overseas, sa maniwala kayo or hinde, yun pagkakaroon ng MotoGP dito sa Qatar ang isa sa naging factor sa pag decide ko to work overseas. Since then napanood ko si Valentino Rossi win his World Championships, at napabilib ako sa kanya sa galing nya sumakay at charisma sa fans.”

How did  get involved in  MotoGP events?
“I am not a motorcycle mechanic but I would say, enthusiast ako ng 2 wheels. When I bought my first bigbike wayback in 2007, pinag aralan ko paano mag DIY sa preventive maintenance ng motor, hanggang napasama ako sa isang local team na nag wild card sa FIM World Endurance race way back 2009. “

“Tapos nag volunteer ako sa isang team (Bahrain) sa local SBK race dito. Hanggang kinuha ako ng isang local rider nung mag simula sya kumarera as his mechanic. After a year, na sponsoran ang rider ko ng QMMF (race governing body) at nagkaroon na kami ng tunay na team, 2 Spanish ang kasama ko, isang mechanic at isang data guy.”

“2017, na invite ako sa Technical Team na mag scrut ng GP bikes. In 2018 isa ako sa na sponsoran ng QMMF to participate FIM technical training, which I passed as Senior Technical Steward in All Discipline.” 

“Since then kasama na ako sa Technical Team ng Losail at QMMF events kasama na MotoGP. Year 2020 ako na pinag lead ng team for bike technical checks ng race bikes from Moto3, Moto2 at MotoGP.”

“The scrutineering process in the  Qatar Moto3 and Moto2 races are not so complicated , unlike MotoGP. Sa MotoGP bikes meron mga team na ayaw mag bukas ng fairing infront of other teams or media, especially Ducati, so to be able to see what we need to check, pumupunta pa kami sa paddock nila where doors are all closed and bikes are stripped. Ducati rule is  “What you see, leave it here”. The Ducati is the most sophisticated bike in the paddock compared sa ibang teams. Pinakamaraming sensors.”

“Wala kami picture while working inside the team paddock as it is prohibited by Dorna unless meron press na kukuha ng picture sa amin, iniiwasan kasi ng Dorna na mag complain ang teams, baka kinukuhanan ang mga parts, bikes nila.”

“Pag naka assign naman kami sa paddock ang work namin eh, i check ang engine number na dapat mag match sya sa allocated bike (bike 1 or bike 2), then tyre scanning, kasi doon naman malaman kukuha ng data sa gulong. Before ng main MotoGP race, kasama kami ng team kumuha sa pag sukat ng temperature ng gasolina based on MotoGP declared ambient temp. MotoGP fuel hindi by liters ang karga nila kung di by density kaya they freeze ang fuel na gagamitin nila to compress, pero di sila pwede bumaba sa fuel temperature requirement on that race day”

What year is your favorite selfie?
“Lahat eh, kasi as a fan proud ako na every year nakakapag paselfie ako sa kanya. Aside from selfies, me mga pinapipirmahan din ako sa kanya like caps, picture, helmet visor. Last race meron kami video natawa sya nung pa autograph ko sa kanya yun pictures namin for 13 years!”

Elmer is a true hard core VR46 fan that us why he also made time to visit Rossi’s hometown of Tavulla in Italy.

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