Valencia Moto2 test

I went to the Moto2 test in Valencia the end of January. It was cold, the first day so cold that no bikes went out. But I had a warm place to sit and work. And that’s what I did the entire first day. Which was fine with me because I was freezing.

My work computer, in the truck in front of the heater.

A few World Superbike teams including BMW and Aprilia, joined the test. Since the Moto2 bikes are all new everyone is curious about them. Xaus and Corser and a couple of BMW engineers stopped by the Kalex/Pons Moto2 garage to check out the bikes.

Corser couldn’t help himself, he had to climb aboard.

And then pretend to ride it. The only thing he didn’t do was make vroom vroom noises, (though I bet he did in his head).

That's Alex, the German engineer and co-designer of the Kalex bike observing Corser on his creation.

Speaking of the BMW Superbike. The swingarm is glued together. I don’t know about you but this wouldn’t inspire riding confidence in me. Evidently this is now common, shows you how much I know.

Second day bikes went out on the track. I took a scooter and observed from inside the track.

And from the hillside opposite the garages.

And then from pit lane.

Checa down the front straight.

The Moto2 bikes are … different. They sound great. Some are squirrely exiting the corners. The 250 riders are still learning how to ride them. But their times are all pretty close. By the way, the published times you may have seen for the Valencia test? 80% of them are false.  This is because they were recorded by someone walking into the boxes and asking for the best time of each rider. How hard is it for a mechanic be not to shave off a second or two? Very.

We went to one of the worst restaurants I have ever been to in my life. But it was convenient, being attached to the hotel. I ordered chicken and received a reconstituted, breaded, frozen and refried, patty of some sort. Now, I’ve been known to eat and even enjoy things that taste similar to cardboard. I’m not too terribly picky as long as whatever I’m eating isn’t greasy. But this place, I seriously would have been better off slathering a piece of cardboard with ketchup and digging in. And we went not just 0nce, but twice. Because you can never have enough chilled red wine.

This was the first test I have been to as a guest of a team- no messages to deliver, no people to meet, no agenda for me, and frankly, I felt a little awkward being there without anything to do. In fact, you could say I pretty much suck as a spectator.  I’m sure some people would be more than content to ride around on a scooter, drink espresso and wander around looking at bikes. While I am generally lazy, when it comes to motorcycles, and especially racing, I want to be involved.

Unless I have something to do, I’m skipping the rest of the tests before the season begins.

Valencia GP, part I

For the last GP race of the year, a friend of a friend in San Diego flew out and stayed with me for a couple of days in Barcelona before we headed down to Valencia on the train on Thursday night. We had passes from Honda and I was to deliver a Snap-On cylinder camera to Gabriele who works for Hector Barbara’s team.

The first night we hit old town Valencia and met up with a friend of a friend of Shanna’s – a skate park designer/builder and his linguist professor skate rat friend. These guys had no interest in racing so we did not see them again but had a fun evening going to various bars before I headed back to the hotel to work while Shanna stayed out until the wee hours of the morning (hey, she was on vacation).

Shanna and I in some random punk rock bar

The hotel we found not only included free WiFi, it also included fellow Finnish compatriots of Mika Kallio who shared taxi rides with us to and from the track. We met them the first day in the hotel lobby and usually shared a late night drink with them since we were all on the same floor. Mika’s (tiny) brother came to visit and was intent upon convincing us that he is a much faster rider than his brother.

With the Fins in the grandstand

Friday at the track I found Gabriele and he showed us 250 GP bikes in various states of preparation for the last 250 GP race ever.

Special delivery mission accomplished

While this was sad and nostalgic, it was also exciting – Friday night they uncrated in the new Pons Moto2 bike for inspection in the garage.

Then it was put on display in the hospitality the next day.

Next up – we dine in Fiat hospitality and have dinner with the Fiat PR and sponsorship group. To be continued…