March 28, 2006

WSBK Test with Ducati NCR in Valencia (couple weeks before the race)

I was here because World Superbike (SBK) was having their first official test of the season and I was slated to work for SC Caracchi Ducati, also known as Ducati NCR. I know - Weird that their official tests come after the first two races. The other tests before this were all unofficial. That meant everyone was here, SBK, World Supersport (which is like Formula Extreme, to the extreme), and World Superstock. I think I bumped into Chris Perris, formally tagged to ride for WCM in MotoGP, because not too many people are wearing leathers with Traxxion Dynamics on them! He was busy getting sorted, so I left him alone. Maybe I'll see him again and see if I can score an interview. This was another great opportunity for me to spend some time with the teams and get to know the scene. While there is a lot of glamour and money in MotoGP, there's a much different feel here in SBK. As Tomo-san (Nissin Racing brake guru, who I met in November and several times again, at just about every event I've been to!) pointed out to me, SBK feels like it's more about the racing, and there are several reason for this. Maybe the money changes things, but I feel that a lot of teams out here are running on passion. Some teams are fully funded (i.e. Xerox Ducati, Ten Kate Honda, etc) but the rest are coming out here because they love to race. They live for racing. Maybe they don't have all the unobtanium, but they're still putting a bike on the grid on the world scene, and that's doing something! I'm still coming up with the differences between the two World Championships, and I'm still having a good time.

On a sadder note, Karl Muggeridge, #31, crashed shortly after this photo and broke his back. It's a sobering moment whenever a rider has a big crash, but fortunately, he's expected to be up and riding again in roughly forty days. Godspeed #31.

I should also mention that there was no speed limit in pit lane, so people were ripping through the pits, popping long wheelies, and revving the crap out of their bikes. Brrappppp! It was great, though a little wild.

Andrew Pitt, raced in GP and now on the Yamaha factory bike with Haga.

Fonsi Nieto, formerly in 250ccGP, then with Caracchi Ducati last year, now with factory Kawasaki.

Troy Corser. Long time rider, and still fast!

James Toseland. Hoping that Honda gets the TC going . . .

Overall, testing was great. I working primarily with Josh Brookes in World Supersport wrenching on his Ducati 749R. I hung out with the team for four days, working sun-up til whenever, and slept in the team Semi truck. It was a little rough, because I was expecting to be in a hotel, but showering at the track wasn't too bad. Except I didn't have a towel, soap, or hot water. Next time someone tells you not to worry - there's a hotel - Verify that there's a hotel! I received a ton of help from these two amazing mechanics, Corrado

and Volta, ex Ducati factory racer from the eighties.

I can't say enough about the experience, except that I'm not supposed to talk too much about it.
But I was there, and I kicked ass.

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