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Highs and lows of 2005...
3 November 2005
The release of the 2006 official - unless F1 changes its mind again - MotoGP calendar made many think, 'just where has 2005 gone'?
It seems like yesterday Valentino Rossi and Sete Gibernau were involved in their own private arm wrestling contest on the last bend of the first race of the year at Jerez. But that was now seven long months of highs, lows and plenty of travel, ago.
It's been another amazing season dominated by a certain Valentino Rossi, who chases his 12th grand prix victory of the season before the end of season party on the beach in Valencia.
So what has the last seven months on the road been like for half a dozen vital components to the success of the travelling MotoGP show? Here are some highs and lows…
Organisers and promoters:
- Spreading the MotoGP word to new countries such as China and Turkey and the re-emergence of America as a grand prix venue. Also the two wins by Ducati in Japan and Malaysia to break the Japanese domination and the maiden grand prix wins by Nicky Hayden and Marco Melandri, surely the MotoGP future if and when Valentino Rossi retires.
- The loss of a couple of major sponsors and a terrestrial broadcaster. The sport could be in for a tough time unless new sponsors are persuaded to support to the second biggest Motorsport Championship in the World.
The International Racing Teams Association (IRTA):
- Getting through all the logistics to actual arrive and race at new venues and away from their European basses for the last five races. Those last five races have ensured a massive operation involving three cargo jumbo jets to reach destinations in different continents on time. Despite plenty of moaning and groaning, everybody and everything arrived on time which is an enormous credit to all involved.
- The 2005 calendar which involved so much travel in the last six weeks. Hopefully the 2006 calendar looks a lot easier…
- Getting through practice, qualifying and race without any serious accidents at Laguna Seca. Not having to come in to pit lane to change bikes when the rain arrives. Good communication between riders and organisers about safety, resulting in no major accidents. The chance to race through turn 11 in Turkey, the newest and fastest bend in MotoGP.
- The 2005 Calendar producing some very tired bodies and minds in Turkey. The injuries to Kenny Roberts and Loris Capirossi in Australia.
- Valentino Rossi signing a new contract with Yamaha and his 'involvement' in Formula One has ensured thousands of column inches to keep the food on the table for the hungry journalists. Rossi's presence means world-wide media interest continues while the likes of Marco Melandri and Nicky Hayden are emerging as the new stars challenging The Doctor.
Six hundred media applications including radio and television have been received for Valencia this weekend showing the global interest in the sport. Also the introduction of wireless systems at many of the MotoGP venues has greatly helped with communication between newspapers and the media centres.
- The 2005 calendar which ruled out some of the long haul venues for tight budgets.
Fernando Alonso's victory in the Formula One World Championship has meant a massive surge in four wheels coverage in Spain which has not been good news for a number of the large contingent of Spanish MotoGP journalists.
The death of Swiss photographer Maurice Bula who's been involved in grands prix racing since that first year in 1949 as a rider, sidecar passenger and photographer.
- Air conditioning in Qatar. The Hotels in Qatar. The size of the garages in Turkey and China. The return of their hospitality units to Valencia after five consecutive flyaways.
- The 2005 calendar and the laundry facilities in Turkey. Not being able to test out the new regulations about coming into change bikes if it starts to rain. The Donington Park paddock. Airline food and lack of leg room in economy.
- Mugello. Witnessing probably the greatest Motorcycle racer the world has ever seen in action. Watching Nicky Hayden and Marco Melandri win their first MotoGP races. Being able to brag to their Formula One friends about witnessing more overtaking in one lap than in a complete Formula One grands prix.
- Freezing race day weather at Donington Park. Camping in the Sachsenring and traffic at Donington Park and Laguna Seca. Ticket prices in Turkey and the lack of somebody to chat to in the Qatar grandstand.
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