Valencia Part II

Finally, I am posting the rest of the photos from the Valencia race.

Some exciting things happened from Saturday afternoon on. First, my friend Nico’s team revealed their MotoGP racer for next year! Read more about it here.

Nico looking snazzy

We had some lunch in the Yamaha hospitality and watched qualifying there.

Oh, and VR’s father joined us there.

That night, we went out for paella with the Fiat sponsoring crew. Even though Paella was originated in Valencia, it was only so-so at this place. But the night was fun.

Sunday we watched the races from the Yamaha hospitality (well, Shanna watched some from the box). The normal end of the season festivities ensued, though on about 1/2 the scale from last year. There was no redbull present, no rookies cup, half the fans, half the riders, no privateer teams…it was smaller than last year. Also present was an overarching gloom over most teams, since many people lost their jobs this year and in fact did not find other teams to join. But the roaming band of terrible musicians made the rounds as usual and there were still crazy VR fans in all manner of wigs, yellow clothing and noise makers.

The wandering band in their circus outfits.

Then of course, the end of the year party. This year was better than last year, a bigger place, more people, and better music. Of course all the drinks were free, all night. I left at 6am. I had a good time.

Monday we went to watch testing. The Moto2 bikes sounded great. Simoncelli rode his 800 like a 250 and I thought he was going to pitch it in every corner. Kenny Noyes was there testing his Moto2 ride for next year, and disgruntled Honda employees had to work another two days even after they had been fired. When the new crew rolled the ne w bike out, still under wraps, the laid off crew said, go ahead, take all the photos you want, we don’t care. It’s understandable that after 6, 8, 10 years one would be embittered when the thank you they get is their last paycheck, ever.

Next year, I will be going to the Japan GP. I will tell you with whom later.

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…