portugese motogp 4-6 may 2012

“It’s a good weekend to be Dutch!”

(Our comment to some Dutch customers following the double win of Dutchman Scott Deroue in the Rookies Cup and Dutch team RW Racing putting Luis Salom on Moto3 podium.)

Just in case anyone who has any influence on the matter is reading this: We and all customers LOVE Estoril.

PLEASE don’t lose this ‘perfect’ round! Great location, easy access to circuit, good viewing around the track; and the Portugese are wonderful. This ALWAYS adds up to a great customer experience.

The weekend started, as now all European rounds start, with our unique “insider’s night” in the paddock as guests of San Carlo Honda Gresini. We enjoyed drinks and snacks in the hospitality and a wander through the paddock, bumping into many riders such as Cal Crutchlow, Anthony West, Bradley Smith, and of course Alvaro Bautista. (See pics below) Most interesting was the presentation of a special carved memorial plaque to Marco Simoncelli on which Portugese fan Jorge Desousa Martins spent a 5 month labour of love. (see the detail and a picture of Jorge in the photo gallery)

We were worried about the weather all weekend - predictions of rain, dark clouds, etc. Well, apart from a few very light scattered showers, the weekend was the spectacular Estoril we usually expect. Friday was the ‘wettest’ of days - a somewhat damp track in the morning session saw Rossi achieve his best result of the weekend - a 3rd.

Friday evening we held our traditional opening reception at the Hotel Baia. We were honoured to have with us Moto3 riders Danny Webb and Brad Binder; and a bit later our sponsored Red Bull Rookie rider Joe Roberts put in an appearance. We had Neil Spalding and Cal’s dad Derek Crutchlow on hand to ask the most embarrassing questions. Steve Burgess introduced Derek as a ‘spitfire pilot in the war’ - one customer later asked him what model he flew, to the general hilarity of all (apart from Dek!)  Dek did tell us he was no longer under the onus to shave his moustache if Cal re-took the front row -- just as well!

Saturday was another perfect day - made the more so when Cal Crutchlow grabbed another front row position! Brad also took a respectable 14th position. 

The first Red Bull Rookies race was a thriller - as they all are! Joe took a respectable 9th; but the thrills were at the front as the Dutchman Scott Deroue drafted Florian Alt at the line to win be less than a 10th of a second! Th
is move is from the ‘Toni Elias Book of Estoril’! We had been in the bar the previous evening with Scott’s dad - we caught up with them in the hotel lobby in the evening - they had been twittering all night! :-)

In the evening Eva lead one group into the wilds of Cascais, while a few of us had an amazing time in the
MotoGP paddock as guests of San Carlo Gresini. The kids, Brazilian Octavio and Irish Conor (augmented by our own 4.5 yr old Alex), were autograph stalking, and tremendously successful! Even Dani got into the spirit!

We couldn’t have asked for a nicer race day than Sunday.  This is how I will always remember Estoril, should we not return here. 

e have introduced private service road tours to the Gresini MotoGP Experience in Europe - and today was the first opportunity to try this out on the scooter! The experience was amazing (we did it in Jerez, but owing to the weather used a BMW)  Estoril has an extensive service road, and we saw all angles of the track. Gresini customers Joe & Connor (age 16) were in heaven!

As we have come to expect of Estoril, the racing was stunning. The Moto2 was a repeat of the Luthi/Espargaro/Marquez dueling we have already been seeing; with Marc once again coming out on top. MotoGP was probably the least thrilling of the races, but another great duel between teammates Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovisioso had Andrea on top this time - but Cal won’t complain much about a 5th!

The best was saved for the last, with two brilliant races:  The Moto3 race came down to the wire as Vinales and Cortese battled to the line - and just to make it interesting got caught up in back markers 3 corners

Rookies race 2 showing Joe (27) charging to overtake Florian Alt (66). Dutch Deroue in the orange helmet will overtake them all!

from the end! The Red Bull Rookies race saw Joe battling for the podium, indeed leading briefly; but getting tangled in some of the fallers; finally taking a very strong 5th. Deroue played a carbon copy of race 1, beating another German (Oettl) to the line by 1/100th of a second!

Sunday night about 25 of us went to our favourite Portugese restaurant slightly off the tourist paths in Cascais; where we wound down another super Estoril weekend, with the prayers that we would return next year!

Sadly, the MotoGP Test Monday was canceled owing to rain.


Estoril, POrtugal

Ivan Silva crashed during the MotoGP warmup Sunday.  It looked bad as they had to stretcher him off, but thankfully h wasn’t seriously injured and participated (albeit briefly!) in the race.


Photos marked:

GH: Gordon Howell, PPT guide

ET: Eva Technikova, PPT guide

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Caught Randy Mamola and victim on the thrilling 2-up rides. This is on the notorious uphill chicane. Photo Gordon Howell while conducting a MotoGP Team Experience service road tour.

See also the ‘Cal Crutchlow’ garage experiencehttp://galleries.polepositiontravel.com/ClubGP/Cal_Crutchlow_Experience.html

Oddly enough we didn’t take any trackside videos this weekend - too busy watching the racing!  Here are a couple of silly videos shot at our closing party.  A good time, as they say, was had by all!