The very first opportunity to see the new teams and bikes in action! Like you need an excuse to make a break in the heart of winter to visit gorgeous tropical Malaysia! We of course are in the heart of it all as team guests in the paddock!
An insane 3 days at the first test after the winter!
As guests of the new Sepang Circuit Petronas Yahama MotoGP Team at their home track, we got the proverbial 'red carpet' treatment! They furnished us with the Presidential Suite at the track, overlooking the start grid and with massive viewing terraces. Superb food, soft drinks, and lovely lovely air conditioning made a very comfortable base indeed.
Visit to the Petronas garage (and a few others on ad-hoc bases) gave a rare glimpse into the hard working crew at the test.
Even better, we obtained permission from the circuit to visit the TRACK during several sessions. This was on the actual service road allowing some stunning up close photography of the bikes in action!
Every day we brought speakers up to the suite. Neil Spalding gave us a daily briefing on what teams were up to, what they were testing (as far as he could spy on!) and answering any and all questions no matter how detailed the technology! He was augmented by leading Spanish journalist Manuel Pecino, who shared insights into the riders.
Petronas themselves sent over Johan Stigafelt, the vastly experienced team captain to share how the team came into existence and what they were trying to achieve. Later we were joined by Sepang Circuit and team CEO Razlan Razuli, one of the real movers and shakers in MotoGP. His comments were the kind of things you never normally hear.
Our Moto3 'ambassador' John McPhee spent much of the weekend with us (as he wasn't riding!) and we learned a lot about the rider experience of Sepang circuit and the sport.
Off track we celebrated our 2019 season launch at a dinner party at the Sama Sama, featuring John and both Neil and Manuel. War stories and more light-hearted stuff, washed down with the excellent beer & wine!
Our closing dinner Friday featured more of the Malaysian fare, and ended appropriately enough with the group taking over the bar (and the band!) and staging an impromptu 'karaoke night'!
And yes, we bumped into a few riders, on AND off the track...
With 30 guests it was our biggest, and certainly our best, ever MotoGP Test. We'll do it again!
Picture gallery - Sepang MotoGP Test 2019
See our photos of the event on Flickr here
Or check out ALL of our past event galleries here