It just falls short of Around the World in Eighty Days but it's very close: In just 47 days the MotoGP riders will travel approximately 55,000 kilometres, visit five countries in three separate continents and unlike those characters in the book, they are not doing it for a bet.

It's tiring enough just attending such events, but for the riders it's a very tough call - practise, qualifying and then racing in heat and humidity with the chains of jet lag dragging on their shoulders.

Waking up in the middle of the night, hungry at strange times and spending hours staring at the ceiling and then your watch as you try and get back to sleep. It's all part of preparing for the race.

The doctor who comes up with the complete jet lag cure will become an overnight millionaire. Perhaps giving all travellers a shot of 330 km/h plus action on two wheels after a long journey, might just be the solution. It certainly seems to work for the riders.

Camel Honda star Max Biaggi has been travelling the world for the last 12 years on route to four world titles and 42 grand prix victories. The Italian accepts that jet lag is part and parcel of travelling between continents but works hard to make it a minimal distraction.

"In these five races in so many different time zones, the first thing you have to deal with is the jet lag," explained Biaggi. "I usually try and adapt myself with a light physical training session such as running round the race track or having a good session in the gym before the start of practice."

Once into the familiar routine of a race weekend there is also little time and certainly energy to think about, let alone suffer from jet lag.

"I try not to sleep in the middle of the day in a practice or qualifying session," joked Biaggi. "As soon as practice, technical briefings, qualifying and interviews begin it's the concentration and adrenaline that keep you awake. I can assure you, usually in a couple of days I feel fine."

Sometimes that is not always the case: "On a few occasions I've had difficulty sleeping at night and I've been awake until the early morning. There is nothing you can do because you still have to get up at the right time even if you've only had a couple of hours sleep. Nobody waits for you when the lights go to green at 10.00 o'clock later in the morning."

Arriving in good shape is vital. Biaggi's success enables him to travel first class on the aeroplane but he never touches the alcohol on constant offer in such luxurious surroundings. Diet is also important and once again the former world champion sticks to his principles coupled with a good dose of will power.

"I follow a light diet avoiding junk food which I do at home in any case. Also I drink no alcohol and try to get in a as much physical activity as possible before the start of practice," he said.

The fly away races also mean the riders have to stay in hotels instead of their motorhomes which provide them with such a stable base when travelling round Europe. Biaggi has got his choice of hotel well sorted out.

"I always choose the hotel closest to the circuit and my physiotherapist always stays in that same hotel," he explained. "That makes things a lot easier for me because he makes sure I'm awake in the morning. He also takes care of my meals and pushes me to go to bed if I happen to remain too long in the pit garage at the circuit."

The MotoGP travelling circus is enormous with nearly one thousand personnel flying to every one of these five grands prix. It's a vibrant and friendly environment but as Biaggi points out, it's work and there is no time for relaxing.

"You can have some rest but not really relax, because we travel round the world together. Even if here in the world championship circus the relationships between people are friendly and you know each other so well, it's still a job environment," concluded the Roman.

In 2005, the MotoGP world championship will add China and America to the increased 17 round schedule.



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