qatar motogp 5-8 April 2012

“The best weekend of my life...”

(Comment from not one but TWO delighted customers! )

What a start to what will be an awesome racing season!

Qatar is like 2 weekends in one - you have all day to enjoy the city, the shopping, the activities or just laze at the pool; then an evening of scintillating moto action!

Thursday we started with an informal happy hours in each of our hotels, then booked up to the track to catch the very first ‘official’ sessions of the year. Brilliant to see the bikes all in their fresh liveries beautifully lit...

Friday we hit t
he desert. Hard. 

A small fleet of 4x4s carried the intrepid crew up and down dunes that won’t soon forget our invasion... We then chilled out by the Inland Sea for lunch and rays. Those not too chilled whacked a few dunes on their own; and some opted for 4 legs rather than 4 wheels and took the slower road...

Friday night we organised our opening reception AT the track in a private suite just over the pits. Spectacular! Food, drink and two very special guest speakers: Moto2 rookie from England Gino Rea and veteran boss of LCR Honda,

Lucio with some of our guests. One of the most fascinating guys in the paddock!

Lucio Cechinello. Gino shared his delight and trepidation at his Moto2 debut - first time on the track; new bike. The switch from World Supersport to Moto2 is quite profound. (Gino sensationally won the Brno Supersport round in 2011 and took 11th overall in the championship)

Lucio filled us in on some of the history of Losail circuit, and his experience in developing riders (notably Casey Stoner! His confidence in Stefan Bradl was borne out with a great result of 8th on Sunday!)

Saturday was another perfect day - just right for a lazy tour around Doha; catching the royal equestrian centre (if you think a Desmo is expensive try a $2m race horse!), the spectacular Villagio Mall; the new

The Villagio, replete with gondoliers and faux Italian village skyline!

development of ‘The Pearl’ and of course the old Souk. We challenged all with a brilliant Arabic meal, featuring our favourite dish roasted camel!

Of course the main event of the day were the qualifying sessions. One of the kids we are watching closely is our sponsored South African rider Brad Binder. Brad took 12th in the first free practice; which for a rookie on a new bike on a circuit he has never ridden, was a great result! He qualified 15th which we and the team were happy with (he hoped for a bit better!) Brad paid us a visit later in the evening.

We were honoured to have as a guest speaker British MotoGP star Cal Crutchlow. Cal filled us in on his current concerns and answered all our questions. We wished him luck; and instructed him to claim a front row position in the coming qualifiers... One of the reasons we love Cal is that he keeps his promises, and DID take a stunning 3rd place on the grid!

One of our guests for the weekend was Cal’s dad, Derek Crutchlow. Derek is a lovely chap, lives on the Isle of Man, flies his own plane; and of course is another mad bike fiend! WE joined him for drinks Friday night,

Derek Crutchlow (left) celebrates Cal’s first front row start with us. (Steve Burgess, manager of Danny Webb & Brad Binder, looks on with PPT guide Richard and customer Roy

toasting Cal’s achievement. When we ask Derek how he felt, he admitted “I can honestly say I am a very proud father!”

One rather humorous consequence to all this: Derek somewhat rashly had vowed to shave his moustache of 40 years should Cal ever qualify on the front row.  The next morning...  (Says it’s “a bit chilly”...)

Sunday started as lazy day by the pool, going shopping or just chilling out at the souk...

Of course, we were just resting ourselves for the real action at the track! And what action!  The first ever Moto3 race was a battle for the lead for virtually the entire race until favourite Maverick Vinales finally broke away from rookie Romano Fenati.

Special mention in the race to Jakub Kornfeil, who turned 19 today; and scored a point (not as many as he would have liked but good for a start). Australian rookie Arthur Sissis, took an astonishing 7th (and was 2nd in early laps!) - although we don’t formally sponsor him, he is one of the ‘Pole position’ friends! He joined us in the VIP suite after the race to bask in our adulation... (and have an ice cream!)

Brad Binder was doing incredibly well - fighting up to 10th place (from his start at 15th) and probably would have gone another 2-3 places, but sadly his engine seized and caught fire... He wisely decided to retire!  Finally, our ‘main man’ Danny Webb was having a pretty rough weekend on the new Mahindr
a Moto3 bike. He qualified a dismal 25th.  Just to add to his woes, at the start of the race the engine electronics were accidentally mapped to ‘pit lane’ setting (which restricts speed to 60 kph) and he lost a further 6 places off

The Mahindra Moto3 of Danny Webb (99). Click photo to hear it!

the line... So at the end of the day, his final position of 18th wasn’t too awful... Let’s hope they can get the bike sorted... It certainly SOUNDS the bit! (Click on the photo!)

The Moto2 race was what all racing should be like - edge-of-the-seat action right to the line! See our view of corner 10 from the VIP grandstand (video above).  Marquez took the win sensationally from Ianonne on the last corner... Great 6th place result from Brit Scott Redding!  Bradley Smith was riding with a severe cold; so his 9th is especially impressive!

Finally, what can we say about the MotoGP? We were all expecting Casey Stoner to walk away with it, despite missing the pole position. But Jorge Lorenzo proved he is the man to beat, catching Casey with about 2 laps to go and keeping it in there. Our hero of the race however was Cal Crutchlow, taking a career-best MotoGP finish of 4th. Since they don’t reward a 4th; we gave him an ‘official’ QMMF Mug from Pole Position Travel. Enjoy that coffee!

Sunday night concluded - as we always do - in the bar of the Mercure until 3am... More congrats to Derek Crutchlow, new Arabic friends (funny story here that can’t be printed... :-), and sad goodbyes, or ‘until we meet agains’...


The opening round of 2012 - doha, qatar

Our hero of the weekend Cal Crutchlow in action. Note the glowing front disks... (CRM)


Photos marked:

CRM: Cormac Ryan Meenan, PPT official photographer

(see his galleries, and follow on Twitter @CormacGP)

GH: Gordon Howell, PPT guide

See also photos from customers:


Matt Waugh

We catch Cormac at work while we are being taken around the service road (from the VIP Village) Photography at this event is quite tricky - and you are not permitted to use flash!

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Rossi captured under the lights by our new official photographer Cormac Ryan Meenan (CRM) See more of his work here