This weekend Motoscene were guests of Forward Racing at the Silverstone MotoGP and got the opportunity to see what life is like in the paddock and pitlane in MotoGP.
Arriving early on Friday morning we made our way to the accreditation centre at Silverstone to collect our paddock and media passes and proceeded to head over to the media centre, which this year had been relocated to an outdoor marquee that was absolutely freezing inside and not to the liking of the many overseas media covering the race weekend. We were treated to complimentary coffees or tea throughout however, they must have known what they were going to up be up against throughout the weekend.
Once in the paddock we were met by Laura Beretta, the tiny Italian and Press Officer at Forward Racing. The lady from Lugano was efficient and quickly brought us up to speed on the schedule for the weekend and what we could and couldn’t access, she was on the ball. We spent Friday morning in the media centre prepping our questions for Loris Baz and Claudio Corti before we were invited down into the pitbox to watch over FP2 from the pit crews perspective.
Throughout the morning we chatted with reporters from all corners of the globe and you get a real flavour of just how multi-cultural MotoGP is and how many countries it reaches out to and satisfies, the worldwide audience is impressively huge, although coverage in the UK is still somewhat lacklustre excluding the coverage through BT Sport.
From our view and having attended the Silverstone MotoGP for the past 4 years the crowds have been much bigger year on year, this weekend was no different from Friday onwards the circuit was buzzing with bodies and certainly the busiest Friday we can remember.
Anyway back to the task at hand by the time we had prepped, mingled and watched over all sessions from all categories it was time to head down to pitlane and see the real side of MotoGP. We headed down to Forward’s pitbox and again we were greeted by Laura, who was a fantastic host and a pleasure to work with, who then guided us into the pitbox and behind the scenes in Forward Racings proper nerve certain.
Here we were told what we could and couldn’t touch and where we could and couldn’t stand all pretty serious in all honesty, health and safety rules in the UK don’t forget, joking aside safety is paramount in motorsport, so we duly took note.
After this we were introduced to the mechanics who were great and cracked a few smiles and jokes and at one stage even asked us to be in the chain gang to pass down the tyres. Lets not forget Forward are going through a pretty rough time and the atmosphere in the box was a little tense as if a lot was at stake it seemed to be pretty quiet throughout the session, but they had a job to do.
Once the prep was complete enter the riders Loris Baz and Claudio Corti there chariots awaited all loaded up and ready to go out on track. Once they had taken to the track the pit crew were back inside quickly monitoring the TV’s and looking over telementary throughout it was pretty sophisticated stuff and every movement or response of the bike was sent directly to the guys in pitlane for them to assess and look over. The technology at this level is mind boggling to the say the least.
The riders were doing pretty decent stints with Baz particularly impressive once again, but as soon as they arrived in pitlane it was intense the crews were instantly around they’re men hanging on they’re every word about the set up what they were feeling. This information was quickly absorbed and the bikes were quickly set upon to get the riders back out on track as quickly as possible to minimise time lost. The riders were equally taking in the information and shown charts, graphs and any other relevant information to give them that extra tenth, it worked both ways and both riders were accepting of the feedback. There common goal was equal to get Forward as far up on the grid as possible.
Once the bikes were adjusted the riders were back out putting in more laps of Silverstone and at this point we decided to speak in more depth with Laura about the situation at Forward and it is fair to say there are more unanswered questions than answers at this moment in time. The team don’t know what will happen with team boss Giovanni Cuzari or if they will be on track after the race weekend at Misano. The team are obviously gutted to say the least there is a feeling Forward are a close knit group and to be fair there are only 40 employees in the team, which is a small set up in today’s MotoGP world. The riders are in the same situation Claudio Corti is almost certainly not going to be in MotoGP next year and is hoping to secure a ride in WSBK and Loris Baz is pushing hard to ensure he stays in MotoGP and is hoping to secure the Open Championship provided Forward are in the paddock after Misano.
Once the chequered flag was waved the pit crew breathed a sigh of relief that both rider and bikes got through the session unscathed and when they returned to the box there was an immediate de-brief to capture the critical points to improve for FP3 and then the handshakes and high fives were given out on another job well done. Both riders were happy with the outcome and the pit crew rested easy knowing they had done they’re job to support the riders.
At this point we decided to head back to the media centre to allow Forward privacy from the media to tie up any loose ends and to dismantle the bikes, which by the way we couldn’t record or photograph surprisingly!
There was no rest though for us or the riders and we were quickly back in Forward hospitality to interview both riders which you can read at the links below:
We had a fantastic weekend with Forward and we hope they’re still in the paddock after Misano, they are well respected in the paddock and have a fantastic camaraderie within, it was a pleasure to be invited in to see behind the scenes.