Just a few days after the Estoril race we are already in Portimao with its 35ºC welcoming us. We are a great team and while in Estoril I could have had some doubts, here I can say it firmly.
In Moto3 I saw an indomitable Josè Garcia, aggressive, battling as his own character is. Just a pity he did a bad qualifying so he had to start from the back to do an amazing race, closing in a 5th position that is not enough for his capacity.
Senna Agius is another pearl, he adds some value to our team curriculum. He was able to do the same lap-time of the heading riders besides he has just driven a moto3 twice; he just misses a little bit of technique, he needs some more experience, but at his age this is fine. He’s a sunny boy, with a clean face like old time kids.
Unlucky weekend instead for Mattia Volpi in the ETC, not giving his best in the practices thinking he would have done all the work during the race, but this was not the case. The race has been interrupted because of an accident and in the second start he anticipated the green light so he received a penalization for “Jump Start”. He ends 18th.
Harrison Voight has a behavior a little bit difficult to manage under pressure and he also needs to improve his technique but I want to underline he will give us great satisfactions. He closed the race in 11th position.
To spend fifteen days always together 24/7 is not easy, but at the same time it is useful. It is “team building”, it lets us know each other better, to see who we are, who the riders are without the helmet and a tracksuit, who we really are without wearing the team uniform. It permits us to say “fuck you” when neded or to joke a little more. It would be impossible to think a team could get along in a box with the pressure of the practices and the race if we’re not able to enjoy tranquil informal moments like these.
Time to restart, MotoGP World Championship take2. We landed in Jerez de la Frontera two months late (we used to ride in its track in May), we’re full of enthusiasm and aggressive as you can be just after two months locked down. Niccolò Antonelli goes back on track today after the shoulder’s surgery he had in March, he’s the only rider who gained something positive from this stop, which gave him the right time to rest.
Travelling around, I noticed this Covid-19 has changed something for sure: now all the toilets in autogrill and airports are perfectly cleaned.
We will eat packed lunches inside our box, there are no hospitalities welcoming us for lunch. We couldn’t see each other for months and we can say “hi” just touching our elbows, no hugs (even if someone really deserves a nudge). The paddock is now so quiet, with just half of the people, I can barely recognize it. No sponsors, guests or public on the stands cheering up for their favorite teams and riders. Even some journalists and TV speakers are going to work from home, I miss all the people coming to those events just for their pure passion to smell the paddock air, but they could’t even leave this time.
My thoughts are with you, that are sitting on your sofa, with the head on track and your heart here. The very first Grand Prix behind closed doors. Crazy.