Catalunya rocks.


Well organised circuit, great viewing, all set in one of the world’s greatest cities - it is little wonder that this event has won the ‘best event’ award more than any other since it has been offered by IRTA.


Thursday several us went up to the track, where Riders for Health had their ‘MotoGP experience’ complete with paddock access. We caught the launch of the new Honda entry for the Moto3 class - the NSG250R 250cc single. We saw this in action later - a but underwhelming - a lot less power than the 125cc two strokes and certainly sounding a lot milder. But it is the future... I think we will still see exciting racing - and will save money on ear plugs! You can read the press info online here.


Thursday night we enjoyed our traditional ‘Happy Hours’ in the hotels; many joined us in the stunning 5* Grand Marina Hotel, much to the detriment of our budget! :-)


Friday a group did a wander around Barcelona. This is a city you can come to dozens of times and still feel you haven’t seen it all. From the mind-boggling Sagrada Familia (pictured) to the hills, beaches and tons of museums; its small wonder this always gets rated amongst the top ten cities on the planet!


Another group hit the track. Sadly we were there to see Colin Edwards crash out and break his collarbone - he will miss his first race in years.


Teams LCR Honda and Ongetta-Centro Seta (Jakub & Harry) played host to several of our clients.  Both are Italian teams, and it has to be said, for food and hospitality they are the tops!


Friday night, in a departure from our usual running order, we organised a tapas dinner in town. This led on to a pub or two and we ended up at the gala party thrown by LCR Honda in the swank W hotel. Thankfully Eva was leading the group, as no dance floor is complete without her!  We saw Luccio & the whole LCR team and of course many guests from the paddock and further.


Saturday, the highlight of the day at the track was unquestionably the pole position taken by Marco Simoncelli of our supported team Honda Gresini. This was especially considerate of them since Saturday night the chief mechanic of Gresini, Antonio Jimenez was our guest speaker! Cal’s 6th place was pretty satisfying as well, we are following him closely!


Saturday night as noted Antonio was our guest speaker. Fascinating insights across a variety of topics such as tyre development, Casey Stoner, Toni Elias and of course their own riders. With over 23 years in the paddock, Antonio is one of the real veterans and his opinions weigh heavily with us! Following the talk we were honoured to present our first ever ‘unsung heroes’ award thanking him for his years of service.  Several of the riders he has worked with signed the award: Carlos Checa, Max Biaggi, Jorge Martinez ‘Aspar’, Alex Criville, Alex de Angelis, Toni Elias and of course his current rider Hiroshi Aoyama. We just missed Mick Doohan, and there were many others...  Sadly the food didn’t match the quality of the speaker (sorry about that gang! most uncharacteristic) but with plenty of beer & wine, a good night was had.

Sunday race day saw plenty of action.  The 125cc was especially thrilling, as Johan Zarco won the race in an aggressive last corner push over Terol. However race direction decided to slap him with a penalty, and Zarco ended 6th - this was generally not a popular decision amongst our customers! Sadly in the first corner Danny Webb and Harry Stafford took each other out, disappointing our customers who were guests of Harry’s team as well as we sponsors of Danny! Jakub took a solid 10th so that helped the mood a bit! Bradl took another comfortable victory in the Moto2, Scott Redding finally managed to get some points on the board with an 11th; a dismal day for other Brits Bradley Smith and Kev Coghlan.


The MotoGP race got off to a downer of a start for us Simoncelli fans - he seemed to go backwards at the start, and only later got up to speed; too late to catch the leading group; but at least putting solid points in his pocket finally with a 6th. Cal did well, taking 7th and beating Nicky in the process.


Sunday evening a group of us went to one of our favourite seafood restaurants to finish off Catalunya in proper Barcelona style.


Always a most satisfying weekend!


See all our Catalunya MotoGP offerings.

 

Gran Premi de Catalunya 3-5 June 2011