JEREZ motogp 27-29 April 2012

“There’s a mouse in my house!”

(Cal Crutchlow unburdens himself to us Friday... Didn’t affect his performance as he took a 4th!)

What can we say about a weekend where 2 of the riders we sponsor crashed while in the lead... It was certainly thrilling!

The biggest player of the weekend was the weather - almost all the sessions were wet, apart from some qualifying and race. Made it an unpredictable event to say the least!

We started Thursday with a visit to the paddock to check out the first European MotoGP paddock of the year! Apart from drinking Gresini’s beer and seeing the garage, we caught up with Cal, Ant West, and a number of the younger riders. Always a brilliant relaxed evening.

Friday was a damp day at the track - we won’t keep saying this!

Friday night we had our traditional welcome reception and dinner. Our guest speaker was the fascinating Dr Martin Raines - the official statistician from MotoGP and a paddock veteran of over 30 years.  He is the guy who produces all the timing sheets you see, the pre-event briefings and all the background into to sportscasters, notably Julian Ryder and Toby Moody.  He brought some fascinating materials from the early 1960s, including an event list from a 1963 Grand Prix - showing over 40 on the start grid and many from UK!

Saturday persuaded some customers to upgrade our of the rain and damp and enjoy the lovely surroundings (and endless beer!) of the VIP Village. The Moto3 qualifiers were manic - the track dried sufficiently for slicks in just the last couple of laps - so there was a frantic struggle to get back out there with the right tyres!  Sadly, from the point of view of Ant West, the rain also stayed away from the Moto2 qualifiers.

MotoGP we were keeping fingers crossed for a front row start again for Cal Crutchlow. Alas a ‘mere’ 4th, but still pretty happy! As were our Team Experience customers who got a bonus tour of the Tech3 garage (thanks Dek!) - even though in this case they were with Gresini.  Speaking of Gresini, we inaugurated our new Team Experiences with them this year. Now we are doing a private service road tour as part of the experience! Saturday we decided to use the BMW as opposed to the scooter - this photo from customer Steve Gore shows why!

The first race of the weekend was also the opener for the REd Bull Rookies Cup - and the first time we saw our sponsored rookie from the USA Joe Roberts in action. He took a creditable 7th while the German Florian Alt won a 5-way fight for the win, right at the line!

Saturday night we had dinner in the paddock - stalking riders between raindrops, when the downpour hit we hung out for a while in QMMF with Anthony West... Great Arabic food! Dinner at Gresini was brilliant as usual, just the damp made getting lots of face time with riders a bit tricky.

he racing was thrilling... The Moto3 race on a drying, windy track wreaked havoc on about half the field.  Our own Jakub Kornfeil took an early lead, and just as it looked like he might get away, he crashed...  Did an amazing near-recover (see the photo gallery), only to pitch his bike right into the path of one of our other sponsored rider, South African Brad Binder (#41 in photo).. Well, that’s racing! At least Brad’s team mate Luis Salom took a stunning 2nd, just a little bit behind the rookie sensation Romano Fenati - who won by an awesome 36 seconds!!  Sadly Danny Webb retired with a broken engine; making it zero points for ‘our’ riders in this one!

After the gripping action of Moto3, the Moto2 race couldn’t have been better -- could it? Well it was damn close! After Scott Redding lost his early lead, Aa fantastic 3 way duel between Espargaro, Marquez, and Luthi took the rest of the race -- Marc got past Pol and looked set to take the win when the rain came back; causing the race to be red flagged and positions determined from the previous lap - giving Pol Espargaro his maiden Moto2 victory!

In MotoGP we saw what we are coming to expect the entire season - the 3 ‘aliens’ of Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa. It really looked like Jorge would catch Casey in front of his home crowd, but it was not to be - another tour de force from Stoner. The REAL excitement was our own Cal Crutchlow almost catching Dani Pedrosa for the 3rd podium spot. Cal told us later he was running 110% and just couldn’t catch the Spaniard - but what a super ride!  Even the mouse was so in awe, it moved out after the weekend! Valentino Rossi’s woes were to continue, as their hoped-for rain never materialised...

The final race was the 2nd Rookies race the usual edge-of-seat stuff with the reigning champion Lorenzo Baldassarri taking the win in the final stretch. For us, the excitement was Joe working his way from the mid-pack to take the lead! ... then crashing out a few corners later :-(

Okay - it was all a bit damp & chilly, but with racing like this, who cares?!

We ended up Sunday night at our favourite local bar. Thankfully it is also the favourite of several riders (Bautista, Danny Kent, Scott Redding to namedrop a few...!)  A good time, as they say, was had by all!

Jerez is DEFINITELY back next year - even in the wet a real treat; and when dry it is beyond glorious -- book now at this year’s prices!


The EUROPEAN OPENER - Jerez, Spain


Photos marked:

CRM: Cormac Ryan Meenan, PPT official photographer

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

RG: Richard Gledhill, PPT guide (also unmarked photos)

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

Our sponsored rider Jakub Kornfeil crashes while leading the race :--( But his almost-save wins him the Supercross award of the weekend!  Also in the photo gallery