Pole Position Travel

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Event review

01 Qatar MotoGP 2016 Another perfect weekend at one of the most exciting circuits in MotoGP!

Austin is a brilliant city, we managed to arrive a day early and stay a day Monday to catch more of it's charms. We wished we could spend more time; if just for the food! What a great place to hold a MotoGP.

We started Thursday with the traditional happy hour in the Hyatt bar. This went on - as tradition dictates - several hours longer than planned. Eventually a group of us, mainly the guests at our classic package in the nearby Super8, rolled out and found an awesome Taco truck for the perfect opening night Austin meal.

Friday we set about exploring the track. One of our groups (local Texans mainly) were guests of our teams LCR Honda and Aprilia Gresini, so we got an opportunity to see their operations and make it trackside to watch the bikes close up. We also managed visits to several Moto2/3 garages including our sponsored Moto2 Team SAG Racing. Early threats of rain never materialised for the MotoGP boys, with Marquez and Vinales splitting the honours. Friday evening a group of us hit an Austin classic - Cooper's BBQ. "It's about the meat!" Messy and lovely.

Saturday we opened our private VIP Village suite, nestled in good company between Repsol Honda and Michelin; just above the Pramac Ducati garage. Brilliant breakfast (tacos!), lunch and snacks throughout, along with a bar well stocked with wine, beer and champagne made this a place that was hard to leave. Of course we only had to step out to our private viewing terrace or head up to the rooftop for more views. Other customers had the run of the track, and it was a great day to explore around the vast COTA. Qualification was dramatic with Marc Marquez pulling out a final lap to put him first on the grid ahead of rival Maverick Vinales, and old favourite Valentino Rossi taking 3rd. We also loved taking in the MotoAmerica races. The atmosphere around this circuit is fantastic, especially on a blazingly beautiful day of perfect temperatures (a little on the chilly side, which we - and the riders - like)

We had two rider guests up to the suite. In the morning it was our sponsored Moto2 rider and Moto3 world champion, Danny Kent. A lovely lad, easy to talk to and honest about his problems on the bike, what it felt like to be crowned the first British champion in many years, and much more. (As a footnote, Danny was not to race on Sunday, citing a pinched nerve in warmup. In fact he and his team had had a falling out and he quit the team Sunday morning. Being such a professional, he didn't even hint at any trouble when he met us in the suite Saturday.)

In the afternoon we were entertained by Moto3 rider Jakub Kornfeil. "Kuba" had been the fastest Mahindra in qualification, but sadly that still placed him 23rd. He gave us some real insights into riding the track, what you have to do on which corners and things to look out for. Fascinating.

Saturday evening we held our welcome dinner (this is normally on Friday but owing to scheduling requirements we moved to Saturday) This took place again at the tantalising Indian restaurant the Clay Pit, in downtown Austin. Plenty of food and drink flowed as the night wore on... Our special guest was MotoGP rookie Sam Lowes, who spent a lot of time with us, talking to individuals, signing autographs and more. He shared with us the experience of stepping up from Moto2 to MotoGP -- far more profound than (what he thought at the time was a big step) from World Supersport to Moto2. He also lets slip that he is a 5 handicap golfer, so think twice before accepting HIS invitation! A brilliant charismatic guy, struggling a bit with the Aprilia but we expect him to come on strong late in the season and of course into 2018.

We were also joined by our "mystery" guest. We often bring in "unknown" people working in the MotoGP world - at European rounds we do this on Thursday at our "Insider's Night". This night it was Olga Budimir who is as close to a "professional" marshal as this volunteer job can get. Doing this job for over a decade all over the world, she offered some amazing insights into the world of marshaling, track prep and related issues. Some very scary stuff here! Spellbinding.

Race Day Sunday dawned without a trace of the rain we had been warned of. A bit cold, but perfect track conditions meant we would see some stellar racing. As usual, the day was over before it started, but not before we had experienced some great racing in all three classes. A group of us ended under the podium to witness Marquez's continuing domination of the USA; and Valentino Rossi taking 2nd place, and 1st place in the championship. The third podium was Dani Pedrosa -- a rider we think will be one to beat this year!

But the ride of the race was our sponsored Cal Crutchlow, who overtook Zarco in the last lap on a beautiful pass, and went on to take a sensational 4th - the top independent rider of the race!

We closed the day right with Cal coming up to our suite basking in the glory of his race and adulation of his many fans in our suite! What a way to end a perfect MotoGP weekend!

Sunday night, as is our tradition, we took in a bit of the local culture -- which of course in Texas means Mexican! Stellar margaritas, table made guacamole and a good time for all - especially those who hit the music bars after - sounded a great note to leave the music capital of the world, lovely Austin.


All photos have the initials of the photographer in the filename:

JV - John Vanderpool (guide)
GH - Gordon Howell (guide)
NP - Neil Pulbrook (guide)
JH - Jana Hrstkova (company director)
CRM - Cormac Ryan Meenan (official PPT photographer - cormacgp.com)

# Rider Nationality Team Bike Time/Gap Pts
1 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 43'58.770 25
2 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +3.069 20
3 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +5.112 16
4 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda +7.638 13
5 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +7.957 11
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati +14.058 10
7 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +15.491 9
8 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati +16.772 8
9 Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team Ducati +17.979 7
10 Jack MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +18.494 6
11 Jonas FOLGER GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +18.903 5
12 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati +28.735 4
13 Tito RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +30.041 3
14 Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati +31.364 2
15 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati +1'06.547 1
16 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1'22.090
17 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 2 Laps
Not Classified
Sam LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 10 Laps
Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 12 Laps
Loris BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 13 Laps
Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 20 Laps
Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 20 Laps
# Rider Nationality Team Bike Time/Gap Pts
1 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex 41'20.078 25
2 Thomas LUTHI SWI CarXpert Interwetten Kalex +2.633 20
3 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +6.809 16
4 Alex MARQUEZ SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex +9.852 13
5 Dominique AEGERTER SWI Kiefer Racing Suter +10.927 11
6 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM +13.029 10
7 Simone CORSI ITA Speed Up Racing Speed Up +13.335 9
8 Marcel SCHROTTER GER Dynavolt Intact GP Suter +13.754 8
9 Xavi VIERGE SPA Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 +18.079 7
10 Luca MARINI ITA Forward Racing Team Kalex +21.418 6
11 Hafizh SYAHRIN MAL Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex +21.430 5
12 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Pons HP40 Kalex +21.736 4
13 Xavier SIMEON BEL Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex +21.974 3
14 Ricard CARDUS SPA Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM +24.245 2
15 Jorge NAVARRO SPA Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +24.863 1
16 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex +28.226
17 Isaac VIÑALES SPA BE-A-VIP SAG Team Kalex +28.443
18 Axel PONS SPA RW Racing GP Kalex +34.767
19 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA JPN Teluru SAG Team Kalex +37.279
20 Andrea LOCATELLI ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +37.530
21 Jesko RAFFIN SWI Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex +38.953
22 Mattia PASINI ITA Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +43.720
23 Sandro CORTESE GER Dynavolt Intact GP Suter +51.515
24 Axel BASSANI ITA Speed Up Racing Speed Up +1'07.841
25 Khairul Idham PAWI MAL IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +1'08.137
Not Classified
Edgar PONS SPA Pons HP40 Kalex 17 Laps
Lorenzo BALDASSARRI ITA Forward Racing Team Kalex 0 Lap
Yonny HERNANDEZ COL AGR Team Kalex 0 Lap
Julian SIMON SPA Tech 3 Racing Tech 3 0 Lap
Stefano MANZI ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex 0 Lap
# Rider Nationality Team Bike Time/Gap Pts
1 Romano FENATI ITA Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda 27'15.841 25
2 Jorge MARTIN SPA Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda +4.504 20
3 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda +4.527 16
4 Enea BASTIANINI ITA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda +4.673 13
5 Nicolo BULEGA ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM +4.968 11
6 Juanfran GUEVARA SPA RBA BOE Racing Team KTM +5.618 10
7 John MCPHEE GBR British Talent Team Honda +5.687 9
8 Joan MIR SPA Leopard Racing Honda +5.852 8
9 Philipp OETTL GER Südmetall Schedl GP Racing KTM +6.594 7
10 Darryn BINDER RSA Platinum Bay Real Estate KTM +12.709 6
11 Gabriel RODRIGO ARG RBA BOE Racing Team KTM +13.240 5
12 Andrea MIGNO ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM +13.285 4
13 Jules DANILO FRA Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda +13.290 3
14 Niccolò ANTONELLI ITA Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM +13.412 2
15 Livio LOI BEL Leopard Racing Honda +13.491 1
16 Marcos RAMIREZ SPA Platinum Bay Real Estate KTM +23.922
17 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA CIP Mahindra +24.347
18 Ayumu SASAKI JPN SIC Racing Team Honda +24.650
19 Adam NORRODIN MAL SIC Racing Team Honda +24.795
20 Tony ARBOLINO ITA SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda +25.166
21 Albert ARENAS SPA Mahindra Gaviota Aspar Mahindra +26.811
22 Maria HERRERA SPA AGR Team KTM +27.431
23 Jakub KORNFEIL CZE Peugeot MC Saxoprint Peugeot +37.960
24 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT THA Honda Team Asia Honda +41.408
25 Manuel PAGLIANI ITA CIP Mahindra +43.789
26 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA ITA Mahindra Gaviota Aspar Mahindra +44.004
27 Patrik PULKKINEN FIN Peugeot MC Saxoprint Peugeot +51.071
28 Gabriel MARTINEZ-ABREGO MEX Motomex Team Moto3 KTM +51.438
Not Classified
Tatsuki SUZUKI JPN SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda 3 Laps
Aron CANET SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda 9 Laps
Kaito TOBA JPN Honda Team Asia Honda 9 Laps
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