Gran Premio San Marino 14-16 September 2012

“Everyone is very very happy!”

(Flavio - Vice President of the Valentino Rossi Fan Club when we meet him Monday in Rossi’s home town of Tavullia)

See gallery of Andrew Northcott../Andrew_Northcott/Presentations/Pages/2012_San_Marino.html
We thought Brno was an event that couldn’t be beat... Yet just three weeks later we are saying San Marino 2012 was the ‘perfect’ weekend!

Great location, (almost) great weather, great racing and of course exceptionally cool people just makes this an event staff at Pole Position consistently rate as one of our personal favourites!

See separate gallery of our Ducati Museum visit

The fact that TWO riders we love made the podium in the MotoGP really capped it off! Alvaro Bautista scored an impressive first MotoGP podium for him and Gresini this year, at their home race. This was sensational for we Gresini supporters; but of course The Man that most of the crowd was dying to see on the podium took his best result ever on the Ducati - of course Valentino Rossi.

Our event as usual started on a rainy Thursday.  Instead of our ordinary “Insider’s Night” in the paddock, we were going to attend the annual “DediKato” evening; which was also to feature of course Marco Simoncelli. Alas, it was rained out and postponed to Saturday night; so our usual “happy hours” got extended (much to the detriment of our bar bill :-)) and we sloped off to a local favourite restaurant where we got up to all sorts of over-indulgence... We did our own tribute to Marco in the form of several bottles of the newly re-christened ”Simoncello” lemon liquor.

Friday we hit the track. It was a dreich day, with some sessions wet, but most in that deplorable half-wet/half-dry situation, rendering the track dangerous and the times effectively meaningless. However is was kid of cool to see Karel Abraham at the top of the MotoGP timesheet in the second session (with James Ellison 2nd!)

We got a chance to visit some our teams and friends, especially an opportunity to chat to Stefan Bradl who is amazing everyone this year! We had several guests of team LCR Honda, and this proved to be a great place to be!

Friday night we held our opening dinner.  Our featured guest was top MotoGP photographer Andrew Northcott; however first we had an opportunity to present our man Danny Webb.  Danny tells us that he was signing a new contract the following day for 2013; leaving Mahindra.  He tells us that his goal is to win the world championship. We now know the details of his new team and we are pretty excited.

Andrew’s photos were stunning (see them here) as were the fascinating stories behind them - both technical (“how did you know to stand THERE?”) and anecdotal (“That wall [Aragon] is actually preventing the hill from sliding into the track.”)  Following the presentation, the hard core (and might be said ‘younger’) crowd headed to the LCR Honda party; while others propped up the hotel bar for a few hours...! 

Saturday dawned perfect, and the weather was to remain like that  the rest of our stay.  We were treated to another thrilling Red Bull Rookies race; our man from the USA Joe Roberts pushed his way from 13th to 4th before falling off the pace and ending 12th.  Later we found he was suffering from a stomach bug that decided to aggravate him during the race... After a great day of qualifying, exploring the track and a little retail therapy, a number of us headed for the paddock where we had a great evening lined up as guests of LCR Honda or San Carlo Gresini. Yamaha was sponsoring a band and bar in the paddock, and we saw tons of riders, some pits, and generally had a perfect evening.

The group originally scheduled to attend DediKato on Thursday went on Saturday night (the paddock group joined them later). We were real VIPs, in a small enclosed area just in front of the stage with free-flowing wine, food and literally rubbing shoulders with the various riders who turned up, such as Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri, Michele Pirro and others. (Sadly the move from Thursday prevented most of the main MotoGP riders from attending)  About 10,000 people were in the general admission areas (all wishing they were us! :-)  The event started with some crazy races on ‘Ape cars’ (won by Italian former Red Bull Rookie Kevin Calia)  The evening closed with a touching live performance by the UK band “the rainband” of their Marco Simoncelli tribute song “Rise Again”.  (See the video)

ay was another perfect day. As usual we don’t cover the actual racing here, but some highlights:

Brad Binder’s team mate Luis Salom put in another astounding ride, ultimately taking 2nd place. We watched the end of the race from their pit -- lots of happiness!  (Pic is Luis’s mum kissing Steve Burgess...!) The Moto2 race was edge-of-the-seat stuff; with Mark Marquez putting in a typically daring, game winning move that left us speechless. He is a star on the rise.

The MotoGP race was bizarre and wonderful. Strange antics at the start - which ultimately put Dani Pedrosa out of the race and perhaps this championship, to our annoyance - also helped put two great riders on the podium. A couple of us were watching the race from  the Gresini pit & the joy of their 1st 2012 podium was unbounded!

Sunday night we had our traditional wrapping-up dinner.  Over 40 made it to what is usually one of the more hilarious evenings & doubled as Gordon’s birthday party! The hard core went on to the riders’ party a a local club - see the photos in the gallery...

We concluded our weekend Monday with 30 of us taking a trip to the Ducati Factory (fortunately re-opened for tours just the preceding week), the museum, the lovely Republic of San Marino and finishing with coffee in Rossi’s back yard of Tavullia. We brought many new Rossi Fan Club members! Our planned quiet evening Monday was thwarted by the untimely appearance of yet more bottles of Simoncello, wine, beer, and more scrumptious Italian food.

We love this place! See you at the World SBK next year!


Misano, Italy

OK - we have never put up a video of US! Here’s Gordon making the intro to the Friday night party. Not actually that interesting but gives you an idea of what our opening dinners are like!

Rossi takes a sensational podium; Alvaro Bautista takes the first MotoGP podium of the year for him and San Carlo Honda Gresini


Photos marked:

GH: Gordon Howell, PPT guide (and photos not marked)

SS: Susie Staton-Cowdery, PPT guide

FL: Filip Lachman, PPT Guide

ET: Eva Technikova, PPT Guide

CRM: Cormac Ryan Meenan, PPT photographer (more)

MGP: Courtesy

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Event Videos

The Best Things about the San Marino MotoGP

Make your reservation for San Marino 2013 here...

Who’s the man? (CRM)

Each year San Carlo Honda Gresini hosts the DediKato event in honour of Daijro Kato.  This year of course it was broadened to include Marco Simoncelli.  They invited the Rrainband headed by lead singer Martin Finnigan and guitarist Phil Rainey to perform their Marco Simoncelli tribute song "Rise Again".  This is a complete video of the event closing with this song, followed by the fireworks (about 9 minutes at the end).  Over 10,000 people attended the event Saturday night

Q: "What makes a good photograph?"

A: "Something that some else likes..."

This is 8 minutes of Q&A of top MotoGP photographer Andrew Northcott at our Friday opening dinner in Misano on 14/6/12.  Julian Ryder also contributes (from behind the camera)  Light is poor but you can hear some of the very interesting questions and answer.

And for the record: we LOVE Andrew’s work! See it...

(n.b. the Olivier Jacque photo mentioned....)