malaysian motogp 19-21 october 2012

“I’ll be out there doing my best, but yeah, I hope it rains!”

(- Our opening party guest speaker Ant West Friday night in response to question.  He will go on to take a sensational 2nd place, for his first podium in 13 years!)

It would be impossible to return to Sepang a year later and not think of the beloved Marco Simoncelli.  Thursday I was honoured to be invited to join Team Gresini at the front of a walk to Turn 10 on the circuit, where Fausto Gresini erected a plaque commemorating the spot where Marco met his end.  This was a moving moment for all; and upon our return to the garage I remarked to Fausto that this was a fitting close to the Marco saga.  He simply repled “Marco sempre” (Marco forever)

Thursday evening we greeted the early arrivals - we made extensive use of the executive lounge at the Pan Pacific (Cal Crutchlow even dropped by!), and in KL it was off to the pub!

Friday is an open day at the track - anyone can attend.  We were fortunate in that we had a private VIP Village suite, so our VIP’s had a cool place to relax and get a few drinks! We also introduced some of our “Team Experience” customers to their teams and riders.  For the first time, we offered an “Anthony West Experience” and had an Aussie group with Ant all weekend.  It will turn out to be an inspired choice!

Speaking of Ant West, he was our first guest speaker at our traditional Friday night opening gala.  Over 300 people attended the ballroom in the Pan Pacific for a fantastic evening of food, drink and our surprise guest speakers Cal Crutchlow and Randy Mamola.  We also took the opportunity to celebrate the birthday of noted MotoGP ‘insider’ and manager Steve Burgess....

Saturday was a perfect day at the track - no rain, great action.  We had an opportunity to take some of our Team Experience guests out to the trackside itself, to see the bikes up real close!  Apart from the Marco walk, even I had never been to the track!  Sepang is such a brilliant track for meeting riders - it is a small paddock with few “tourists” and they are pretty available.  Apart from our Team Experience customers, we had paddock passes for checkout in both our VIP Village suite AND our private “Pole Position Club” hospitality - so there was plenty of opportunity to get “inside”.

Saturday night the KL people hit the town, whilst many of us at the Pan Pacific shamelessly gorged ourselves on the free hors d’oeuvres offered in the club lounge and took full advantage of the “happy hours”!

For a more detailed report read blog by Harry LloydSepang_race_report.html
Sunday started clear, but the ominous clouds delivered on their threat to bring the classic Sepang rain.  The Moto3 racers were spared, and we witnessed the crowning of the new Moto3 world champion Sandro Cortese, as well as a spectacular performance by local hero Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN who narrowly missed winning the race.

The race of the weekend however was the Moto2. In increasingly dreadful conditions, we watched with growing awe as BOTH the Moto2 riders we support - Aussie Ant West and English Gino Rea, riding for our partner MotoGP Team Honda Gresini, pushed their way through the pack to take sensational podiums.  Gino actually passed ultimate race winner Alex de Angelis in the final lap, but the race was red flagged moments before he cross the line, and thus the positions were determined by the standings at the previous lap.   Considering our relationship wth Ant over the weekend it was a remarkable and happy finish!  Needless to say, his private guests were over the moon! Special honour also to local wild card rider Hafizh SYAHRIN who took an amazing 4th place.

The MotoGP race was exciting mainly for the tension of riders competing in the atrocious conditions. Many riders fell, including Cal Crutchlow, Stefan Bradl, Ben Spies and others. With Casey Stoner rapidly closing the gap to second-placed Jorge Lorenzo, Jorge was fortunate that race direction made the wise decision (helped no doubt by Jorge’s frantic waving!) to stop the race, and giving Dani Pedrosa a much deserved victory, keeping alive a very slim hope for the championship.

Sunday night while one group headed into KL for our closing Malaysian night, another group stayed put in the Pan Pac bar where we enjoyed the company of many MotoGP riders (Rossi, Pedrosa, Hayden, Dovi - to name a few) and other denizens of the paddock.  We were also honoured to be able to help LCR Honda boss Lucio Cecchinello celebrate his birthday!

A good time as had by all (esp. Jeremy! :-)  (see the photos and our special race report)

BUT -- the trip wasn’t over!!

MONDAY a small group of us went to Penang Island for a superb 3 days of R&R in the lap of luxury and to see a bit of this wonderful country. Jimmy Webb (Danny’s dad) rediscovered a childhood love of snakes...  See more photos from Penang here.


sepang Circuit, Sepang, Malaysia


Photos marked:

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

SS: Susie Staton-Cowdery, PPT guide

ET: Eva Technikova, PPT Guide

MGP: Courtesy

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This video is from the QA where  Randy talks about electronics, World SBK, media coverage, Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Ducati.

A sensational podium for TWO of our supported Moto2 riders - Anthony West (2nd) and Gino Rea (3rd). Both known for their wet skills, the driving rain made conditions appalling and the race was red flagged.  Had the flag come down 10 seconds later, Gino would have won the race!  We have never enjoyed standing in the rain so much (and for us, mixed a little with champagne!)

n.b. Ant - riding for the Qatari team QMMF - is told not to splash or drink the alcohol for fear of offending the sponsors.  Hence why he is in the back; but he sneaks a much-deserved swig later! :-)

Thursday we lay a commemorative plaque on the corner where Marco Simoncelli had his fatal accident. A fitting closure to this tragedy.

See all our photos from the GP! Click here...Sepang_Photos.html

Our surprise guests for our traditional Friday night dinner at Sepang were Randy Mamola and Cal Crutchlow. This video is the opening discussion and some QA between them.  It stops rather abruptly, but is just the closing applause for Cal. About 300 people attended the evening in the 5* Pan Pacific hotel.  Our guest opening speaker was Anthony West. Many Aussies in attendance. Our beer bill was enormous! ;-)

See also photos from our post-GP Penang Island excursion!Penang_Island_Trip.html