-- Intro - This is another regular column from a former mechanic that many
people in the Australian Superbike paddock would have come across before. Indy
Sam worked for Paul Free and Honda Racing Australia for a number of years before
taking the plunge and heading overseas to gain more experience in the big pond
of World Championship motorcycle racing. This year Indy is off the tools and providing
special tour packages at each MotoGP race event. To book/enquire about the MechMoto GP Tour, please contact
-- Indy Sam - 2013 # 3 - Ant never gives up, he’s an adrenaline junkie
Arriving in Mugello I was sure glad to be picked up by Ale, Ant’s girlfriend, but only if we didn’t have to both wait an hour until we found each other, damn Italian airports make things difficult. Getting to the circuit, I was surprised at how cold it was, quite unusual for Mugello. I went to see my mate Marc Cañellas at Honda Pons and ended up talking to Pol Espargaro about his R8 which he vinyl wrapped pearl white as it was grey. He loves drifting everywhere but we’ll compare his skill to Ant’s this week as he’s taking us for a test drive, what a dude!
Going for a track run a little later with Ale turned out to be a half walk, I was still a bit sick but Ale had no excuses, although the hills and valleys in the layout were quite steep. When we got back I saw Scott Redding hanging at the pit canopies which he normally helps build and setup, I asked him to pose for a photo for his fans in Oz after chatting about the championship and how he’s taking it race by race. Marc used to work on his Spanish Championship team but for team mate Stefan Bradl when he won the championship and Scott came second so they were good mates.
The next day I went over to see Achim, Joerg and Hardy who were Luthi’s mechanics. Achim and Joerg used to work together on the Yamaha Germany World Supersport Team for Kev Curtain and also Ant West when he did the wild cards before moving to Kawasaki MotoGP. They told me Luthi was feeling the pain under heavy braking as he’s still recovering from broken bones in Pre-season Testing, and tried the first session without pain killers but it was too painful so he needed them special injections.
Going over to congratulate my mate Jordi Arquer who manages the Estrella Galicia Moto3 team of Alex Rins and Alex Marquez on the Sunday after the race, he was just amazed by Alex Marquez’s race results. He explained how Alex has never been to Mugello before, yet was fighting for a podium and making record lap times!
Jack Miller had big tyre problems in the race although he qualified 5th, unfortunately his dud race tyre was just a manufacturer fault. He still had time to lend me his wig and pose for a pic, he's pretty head strong!
Luis Salom who won the Moto3 race explained to me that he prays before a race next to his bike in relation to the race going safely and nobody getting hurt, this was while he was washing his boots the next day, I had to take a picture!
Ant West actually had a decent race even though his clutch slipped due to worn plates and it took a few laps to cool down from his awesome start where he went from 25th to 18th in the first corner, but went back to last position by the time the clutch had cooled. He fought his way back to 18th position and is feeling confident with his new chassis now, especially as he went over a second faster than he did in qualifying at the Moto2 test that following Monday. Plus he absolutely hates Mugello circuit, but loves Catalunya which is this weekend so watch out for a podium if things go to plan!
Scott Redding didn’t bother too much at the test as he was more concerned about getting a new exhaust put on his Kawasaki Super Motard bike, warming it up later in pit lane as Ant pulled in before the rain started. Scott does a lot of training everyday on bikes, he’s obsessed with riding, like the rest of them.
After the test I caught a ride to the airport back to Barcelona with the Pons team and chatted to Pol Espargaro about the championship so far. He was a little frustrated as he found it difficult to stay positive with his results so far. I reminded him that at the test that day he found a new setup which made him go a second faster than he’d gone all weekend and he should focus on that, instead of how it was too late for Mugello as the race was over. I added that it’s only 5 races in and there are 13 to go, and he should be more confident in himself as he’s a really fast rider.
I just got back from a road trip to Milan with Ant West as we went to pick up all his stuff to bring over to Spain. He couldn’t believe we could fit everything in the van and trailer, all his racing suits and helmets, even the Kawasaki MotoGP suits, one of which he’d like to sell to an appreciated owner. I couldn’t resist but claim one of them as he has 2 even though I’m a Honda head, the official green suit looks sic!
We’ll it’s off to Cataluña tomorrow for the race this weekend, fortunately it’s only 40 minute’s drive from our BCN home, I hate sleeping in hotels, or planes for that matter. It's not as bad as sleeping in a van on the road trip drive to Milan though, Ant and I pulled over at 7am after 10 horus driving, and promptly fell asleep upright on the non-reclining Van seats for an hour.
See you all after Catalunya!
-- Previous Indy Sam Columns
-- Indy Sam - 2013 # 1 - Marinating In Jerez
-- Indy Sam - 2013 # 2 - Fried Frogs in Le Mans
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