– 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.
— Indy Sam – 2013 #2 – Fried Frogs in Le Mans
Packing a warm thermal shirt for the Le Mans event didn’t seem necessary as at the time I was in the Spanish heat, but boy was I glad my mate Marc Cañellas advised me to take it as France is normally cold and wet this time of year.
When Anthony West arrived at the airport we got ready for the 200+km drive to Le Mans and headed straight towards the nearest Buffalo Grill at the destination, our caramelised ribs were waiting!
The next day was quite warm which made all the mechanics happy as they set up box and prepared the bikes on that Thursday.
Ant’s personal sponsors Deborah Funoo and Paul Rutherford of Tuross Holdings were once again attending the MotoGP event. They fly back and forth from Australia religiously, Ant still doesn’t know how their bodies can cope with the jet-lag!
Jack Miller is feeling pretty confident this weekend as his Honda didn’t suffer too much at the Le Mans circuit against the KTM’s and he could have qualified a little higher than 6th but ran into another rider on the last corner of a hot lap.
Arthur Sissis finally found a good bike setup in the qualifying session, managing to lap 1.5 seconds faster all weekend in the worst conditions which gave him more confidence and a direction to work on in Mugello.
What surprises me most, and is great to see, is how a lot of the Moto3 riders hang out near the team trucks after sessions like race winner Alex Rins, Alex Marquez, Jack, Arthur, Ajo, even Scott Redding and Marcel Scrotter would join the gang.
Ant struggled a little with rear grip issues in his setup during the race to finish 9th. Ant receives a new chassis in Mugello this weekend which hopefully will solve the 2013 Speedup Moto2 setup issues.
Moto2 winner Scott Redding was stoked to take away more points from his main threat Pol Espargaro and slowly build a championship lead. I laughed to him how happy I was to hear the UK Anthem instead of the Spanish Anthem after a race as it’s been a while.
Tito Rabat just ran wide onto a wet part of the track with Pol following his breaking marker as they both crash simultaneously.
Jack Miller had an unfortunate race as his bike setup was a little stiff in the rear which gave him no drive in the cold slippery conditions. It was quite obvious to see in comparison to the front group who pulled away within the first few laps.
Speaking with Lorenzo’s mechanic Juanito, the soft wet front they used for the race was destroyed before mid-race distance.
Marquez just amazed everyone once again with his famous tactics!
I was glad to head back to the warm hotel on Sunday night after a freezing weekend. Ant and I stayed up a bit too late in the lounge while Arthur Sissis hung around talking with us for a bit. Arthur lives in Barcelona and we tried to convince Ant to move there from Madrid!
We drove to Aragon a few days later to watch the Spanish Championship races as history was being made with 17-year-old Maria Herrera, the first ever female rider to reach the top step of the podium in the championship.
Maria Herrera’s team, Monlau Competition, raised Marc Marquez until he moved to Repsol Honda MotoGP, and now they are bringing up race winner Alex Rins and Alex Marquez up into Moto3. What also made history was the fact that Maria broke the World Championship Moto3 lap records in Aragon during the race, she is now making huge news in Europe.
Alex Rins, a Moto3 winner this year and an awesome guy, was the umbrella girl for Maria, showing the excellent relationship these young athletes have with each other in this Monlau Team.
Her mentor and trainer David Cabau also coached both Alex Rins & Alex Marquez. Cabau told me over dinner last night that the phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Repsol, who is directed by a woman, is already organising future plans for Maria. He laughed to me that the pitbox on Sunday was full of crying women from Repsol after the race. In the number ‘6’ on her bike Maria has a ponytail!
Well it’s off to Mugello for this weekend’s event, Ant West’s girlfriend Alessandra Rossi is now joining me on my GP Tours as the hostess since she’s the brains of the organisation but with good looks too! Safety fast peoples. To book/enquire about the MechMoto GP Tour, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org