Now I know how bears feel as they come out of hibernation. Honestly, I love the winter, its crisp cold and icy rain. In Delhi, spring is full of allergens and pollen, and summer is replete with glaring blue skies and a harsh sun that seeks to blind.
But, I must say there is something to be said about the end of winter. It brings with it new beginnings – the roar of MotoGP and SBK bikes that promise to thrill the soul and satisfy the strange yearning every Sunday evening. The races haven’t started yet. But our crazy, lovable riders are slowly coming out of their caves and into our lives – once again.
The first to make an appearance was SBK’s glorious Kawasaki Racing Team. They headed to Jerez for testing and got a day of mixed weather and one day of sunshine. Tom Sykes demonstrated rather ably that he had upped his game. A Kawasaki press release stated that Sykes set a 1’40.5 second lap on a qualifying tyre, and then a 1’41.6 second lap on a race tyre.
His teammate Loris Baz performed well and set a best lap time that, the press release stated “would place him in the top 6 of all the many riders on show.” He set the time despite crashing at Turn 2 halfway through the second day, and waiting for his bike to be rebuilt in the pitbox. Both of the racers were happy with the result and the improvements that have been made on the bike. This is the final European round of testing, and the team will head to Australia for more tests before the first race of the season on February 24.
There was no way that MotoGP would be left behind. Honda launched its new 2013 look at the Repsol Headquarters in Madrid. Dani Pedrosa and Marc Márquez were outfitted in their new team uniforms provided by GAS. They will be seen on track in Malaysia for the first test of the season on 5-7 February. In a team press release Pedrosa said, “We had run with the old design for a long time and I think that now is a good moment for a change. This year’s bike has a fresh touch to it, which can give us a boot as the races…I’m starting this preseason really keen, as at the Valencia test after the last race of 2012, we had so much rain that we couldn’t do much.”
His new teammate Marc Márquez added, “I have really been looking forward to this moment. I am very happy to have presented the new colour scheme for my move up from Moto2 to MotoGP. Seeing the bike painted with the Repsol and HRC logos makes you feel very satisfied with this new step forward – it makes you realize what a dream-come-true is. I’m like a kid with new shoes!”
What do you think of the new colours? I am not too sure. Hmmm. There is something old-fashioned about the numbers isn’t it? Tell me what you think!
Not to be left behind, this Friday Yamaha presented, for the first time in public, it’s power pair. Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo made an appearance together at Jakarta, Indonesia, shaking hands and posing for pictures. They were in Indonesia to launch the new logo for one of the factory team’s key sponsors, Semakin di Depan (Yamaha Motor Indonesia). According to a team press release, Lorenzo said, “I’m feeling very positive about the 2013 season, I think the arrival of Valentino is good and we have a very strong team now. I know he is a very talented rider…I think we have a great chance to be World Champion again. It is going to be very difficult as always, it’s the toughest category. We are confident with our possibilities though and we are one of the favourites.”
Look at all the pictures of good ole Vale. He is absolutely beaming, eager to put the Ducati nightmare behind him. He said: “I cannot wait for another opportunity to ride the M1. I think the Yamaha Factory Team will be very strong this year with myself and Jorge. For me, at this moment, I have to be a little quiet and try to understand what my level is with the bike after the first test. My last Grand Prix victory was in 2010, so my first goal is to come back onto the podium as soon as possible, and to try to win the race.”
You go Vale!
One thing is for sure, the 2013 MotoGP and SBK season promises to be nothing short of exciting. There is so much to prove, and so much more to win! Here’s to the new season. May it come soon.
[Quotes compiled from Kawasaki, Repsol Honda, and Yamaha team press releases]