Monday, September 27, 2010

MOTO GP: 2010 Indianapolis Race Outing

(Tech3-Yamaha U.S. special livery; Source:; Photo by David Swarts)

Yeah, I know, I should be getting pumped for this weekend’s upcoming IndyCar Homestead Finale... BUTT!

By now Y’all most likely know that your Humble Scribe attended his very first-ever MOTO GP Motorcycle Race... And although when I think of Grand Prix Motorcycle racing Stateside, I typically think of Laguna Seca... Nevertheless, what better place then the Indianapolis Motor speedway to take-in my Debutant MOTO GP event, Eh!

Thursday, August 26th
Today was to be a very long day indeed, especially with the +3hr time change... As I’d needed to be ready to depart for SeaTac Int’l Airport between4-4:20AM; CRIKEYS!
Before the telephone obnoxiously rang at 3:15AM as Dispatch wanted to let me know my Shuttle Express Driver was running late and would arrive at 4:30AM instead... And to think I’d awoken 1hr previous to this – SHEISA!

Arriving curbside at the Airport at 5:10AM, it seemed pretty seamless how it all went, as not one but two Female Check-in Attendant’s looked after me and my Wheelchair arrived to whisk me away at 5:25AM. As the friendly lady pushed me towards the requisite TSA Security Screening compound... We made light Chit-chat and she asked me where I was going? Telling her I was off to the Motorcycle race at Indianapolis, in a very strong Spanish accents she replied – Riding? As I assured her that I wouldn’t be participating, since I probably wouldn’t get very far on a Scooter; Hya!

Seated at my Gate 65mins prior to the 7:05AM Departure time, I found it somewhat annoying how three “Catty-Chatties” Dallas Flight Attendants were seated directly behind me, as one seemed to keep bumping into me as all three blathered on ‘N on about their Hours for the month and how American Airlines automated scheduling system was messed-up... Just what Yuhs wanna listen to at 6-FREAKIN’ AM Eh!

Then the Gate Attendant paged my name and escorted me down the Jetway onto my Day’s first Aeroplane, assisting me to my seat before a very cool Flight Attendant introduced himself to me... As a little later he’d make the announcement: If Y’all wanna Depart for Dallas then we need to have ALL electronic devices turned off at this time... Which brought much Guffawing from the Aeroplane’s cabin.

I say he was “Cool,” since he actually first assisted me back to my seat after using the “Loo,” and then later in the flight stopped and asked me if I needed anything? Then his ‘Pardner for the Back ‘O the Bus led me to the front of the Aeroplane to disembark where another Airport Services Assistant was awaiting me to take me up the Gangplank into the Terminal.

There, I was passed off to the Gate Attendant who called a “Buggy” (Shuttle Cart) for me, which arrived quickly and she escorted me over to my awaiting Buggy, as I don’t know if Y’all have ever been to Dallas/Fort Worth Int’l Airport; BUTT – It’s Humongous! Although at least this time we didn’t have to drive across any of the bridge’s that connect the adjoining Concourses, as we stopped to pick up other passengers, with my connecting flights Gate being last.

Yet the Buggy Driver was exceedingly nice to me, even making a special stop at the Restroom since there weren’t any nearby my Gate and I still had 2hrs before departing... As I exited the Buggy, for some strange reason my folding white cane wouldn’t open... SHEISA! The elastic rope that holds it together had finally snapped...

Thus as they started boarding my Aeroplane without calling for any needing assistance to board early, I tried walking over to the Gate and cutting to the front of the line during First Class boarding before going the wrong way... As a very nice passenger asked me; do you need help? Explaining that my cane had just broke, he said No Problema, I’ll help you... And told the Gate Attendant he’d escort me down the Jetway to our awaiting Aeroplane – Thanks Dude!

Then the Flight attendant walked me to my rearwards seat for our “Short” 1hr 40min flight to Indianapolis... Before she escorted me off the MD-80 Aeroplane to Shantay, (Lucky No. 13 – Assistants) who was waiting at the Gate to assist me to my awaiting party, as Danny B & Dia were standing at the Security exit waiting for Mwah... After getting my bag and their car, D ‘N D whisked me off to one of my favourite Restaurant’s; Union Jacks for a much needed dinner...

Friday, August 27th
We’d originally planned to be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) Credentials Office when it opened at 7AM, but decided to go considerably later since there was no Ontrack action Friday morning, albeit the Pitlane Walkabout would have been fun; Oh Whale...

Thus walking into an empty Credentials Office I was taken care of immediately and we set off for the IMS infield a la parking pass – Sweet! Before trundling off to see what was going on.

Exiting our vehicle, we walked thru the Manufacturer’s Midway towards the SPEED Stage where Ralph Sheheen was interviewing the Ducati Marlboro Corse MOTO GP Team riders Casey Stoner and “the Kentucky Kid,” a.k.a. Nicky Hayden, which could be briefly heard over the IMS’s PA system before suddenly having the “Plug pulled.” Then we briefly hung out as Ralph and Toby Moody of DAKAR fame (Versus’s Onsite Reporter) began an Auction of various items with the two riders participating.

Next we moseyed over to Ducati Island, which had some of their mesmerizing Street bikes on display, like one “Red Rocket” with a sticker price of $21k – CRIKEYS! While there we picked up some very nice Ducati embossed lanyards, so we could “Look Sharp,” before Danny picked up some more ‘Swag items for me to take home. Then we went thru the Honda Tent, complete with MOTO GP “Scooter” you could have your picture taken on, but you needed to have your own camera, which we were both without...

And prior to the Honda Tent, Danny noticed a SPEED booth complete with MOTO GP backdrop and the requisite “SPEED Girls,” informing me I needed to have my picture taken with them, what the Hell, right? (In for a pound, in for a penny...)

Girls Girls Girls!
(Tomaso’s New Friendz)

And I couldn’t believe I left my ear plugs in my Backpack at le Hotel Carpets; Aye Karumba! As the first Motorcycle noises we heard (minus a ‘Duc at Ducati Isle...) were some narly sounding “Thumpers,” as my notes sez; “Low Grade Thumpers” before the 125cc class. As originally I thought; surely those can’t be the Race bikes, eh? As I now believe they musta been the 4-stroke Moriwaki MD250H USGPRU (Moriwaki MD250H Spec single cylinder 250cc 4-strokes) Support class bikes that Peter Lenz was racing that fateful weekend. As it appears these bikes will become part of the Moto3 class slated for introduction in 2012.

And I was surprised that the Bikes run the same direction as the Cars, i.e.; Indy Car & ‘RASSCAR, as I’d assumed they’d be running the opposite direction like the Formula 1 cars used too... (DAMN! I miss F1 at Indy... Yet I certainly hope Austin comes to fruition!)

As the 125cc’s took to the track, I told Danny they’re loud. To which he replied; they sound like Popcorn... As I noticed that all too familiar odor of sweet smelling racing grade Octane wafting up from the Racetrack towards us thru the lower level Grandstands. Watching the action from directly opposite the Pagoda with the Media Center to our left, on the front straightaway...

And I felt bad for the 125cc riders, since it wasn’t anything against them, or the Moto2 class, but they were simply warm-up for the BIG ‘BOYZ, nee MOTO GP, which I was primarily interested in... As it was interesting how the noise level increased with each larger Displacement class, as the Moto2 bikes were louder and higher pitched then the 125cc’s... While the MOTO GP bikes were simply DEAFENING!

As I noted they’re simply INSANE! And that was even before any Ontrack activities... Being surprised how loud they were as the 125cc ‘Boyz were practicing. While the MOTO GP “Scooters” could clearly be heard barking over the din of the 125cc bikes Ontrack... As the Mechanics were blipping throttles constantly on Pitlane: BurRack- BurRack- BurRack- BurRack- BurRack- BurRack- BurRack- BurRack- BurRack- BurRack! (Which would become a constant theme over the weekend...)

Then we went for a different viewing angle, as we climbed all the way to the very top of the upper level Main Grandstands, where I’d never been before... As I found this to be an ultra cool vantage point; Hey! Isn’t that the Yard of Bricks I’m looking down upon? YES! As it was interesting to notice how the majority of the 125cc riders seemed to be hugging the “inside” (Outside Wall) from our vantage point; just like how the Indy Car Drivers run the Oval... As it looked to me that our Grandstand seat that Danny informed me would go for $130.00 on Raceday was above the Media Center – YIKES! Although Danny said we’re level with it and I believe that it’s situated on the 5th floor, while the Cafeteria’s on the 3rd, where they serve Danny’s favourite Crème sodas...

And my notes say that the MOTO GP Bikes sound like NASTY Uncorked Hot Rods! Which was very HARSH upon my ears, and we resorted to an old trick of using TP to attempt muffling those rancorous Motorcycles whailing from far below our perch!

As I’ve said before: How do I even attempt describing MOTO GP? I mean they’re simply the BADDEST BAD ASSES of ALL Motorcycles... Just plain NARLY! And I still cannot comprehend how that MUCHO NOISE can be generated by these 800cc ‘Reptilianz... Although I’d later hear over the PA system that they’re limited to a maximum decibel level of 130Db’s... HUH? Did Yuhs say’s somme-thuns? But the strangest thing to Mwah was that after the BIG ‘BOYZ (MOTO GP) had spent approx. 5mins BurRapping their throttles prior to their Free Practice session, they suddenly stopped with about 3mins left in the 125cc Practice session, which made the circuit seem somewhat starkly quiet... Then they refired the bikes for their Practice session; may be in order to let the riders mount their steeds?

And during the 125cc Free Practice session, two thoughts came to mind.
A) Do all three series utilize the same grade racing fuel? Or does the Octane rating increase with each class?

B) How many 125cc riders make it to MOTO GP? As it appears that all three current U.S. riders graduated from World Superbike and skipped the 125cc-250cc (Moto2) feeder route...

And then the BIG BOYZ took to the track and they’re simply amazingly FAST! Especially down the Front straightaway, as I’d “LUV” to know the respective classes Straight-line speeds...

And I swear the “Works” (Factory) ‘Duc’s (Ducati’s) have their very own unique sound, i.e.; different exhaust note; which I don’t know if it’s due to exhaust routing or their Desmodromic valvetrain? They’re “Throatier” and LOUD! As I’m not certain if all of the MOTO GP ‘Scooters are louder then an Indy Car? (Especially since I wasn’t in the same Grandstands and sans Earplugs...) And they seem to be riding down the middle of the track and have a very different sound going into Turn 1; kinda like Tractor’s barely slowing down...

Afterwards I’m treated to going to my very first ever IMS Suite in Turn 2, where we hang out for the Moto2 Practice session, which has a ‘Gynormous field of 40 participants... As we sit outside briefly on the Suite’s patio in the blazing sun, looking directly into it... What did your Momma say ‘bout starin’ into the Sun, eh?

Back inside to the AC and some lively banter before leaving for the day. On our way out Danny points out a “LAMBO” parked in the lot below, whale let’s go check it out! Approaching the white Lamborghini Gallardo three ‘Aussies inquire; is that your car? As they’re from Perth and on Holiday; as two of them work in Sydney and they’ve been to the Knoxville Nationals, Bristol ‘RASSCAR race (something else Saturday night) and the MOTO GP weekend, before we say our Goodbye Mates... Having recommended the Saturday night flat track event if they’re looking for something to attend, as I was unaware that The Kentucky Kid was gonna be competing!

Video of Nicky Hayden riding the Indy mile – amazing footage

Indy Notes
Both Fiat Yamaha riders are once again running the special Fiat 500' livery that was showcased in Laguna Seca earlier this season. The livery celebrates the forthcoming launch of the Fiat 500 in the United States and features the smiling faces of 500 Rossi and Lorenzo fans on each bike.

MOTO GP: Teams run Special liveries at U.S. Grand Prix

MOTO GP: Rossi – Better or worse with Special liveries?

Yankee Doodle Dandies
There are three ‘Yanks in MOTO GP: Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden and Rookie Ben Spies.

There’s a total of three Moto2 Wildcard Entries: Jason Di Salvo Qualified 27thaboard his GP Tech FTR M210, Roger Lee Hayden 29th on his No. 34 Team Honda/Moriwaki bike and Kenny Noyes 30th on his No. 9 Jack & Jones by A. Banderas machine.

Moto2: American Trio tests at Indianapolis

Friday Top 8
1st Casey Stoner; Ducati Corse: 1'40.884
P2) George Lorenzo; Fiat-Yamaha: 1:41.109
P3) Nicky Hayden; Ducati Corse: 1'41.405
P4) Dani Pedrosa ; Repsol Honda: 1:41.421
P5) Valentino Rossi; Fiat-Yamaha: 1:41.623
P6) Colin Edwards; Tech 3-Yamaha: 1:41.664
P7) Andrea Dovizioso; Repsol Honda: 1:41.683
P8) Ben Spies; Tech 3-Yamaha: 1:41.722

Friday Notes