At the beginning of August Czech GP was organized here in my country. I am always happy to go to the beautiful Masaryk circuit. I always enjoy every little moment of the time there. As usual in the past few years I came to Brno already on Thursday and stayed there until the Sunday afternoon.
On Thursday me, my sister and some our girl friends usually take part in the paddock event which takes place in the afternoon. This year it was more unique there as the security let us go there to the paddock earlier than usual so we could have spent more time there and it was just amazing. You know, I would love to stay there forever.
So I just would like to write about my experience from this year’s paddock / pit walk event. Year by year it’s better and better, I love it more and more and to say goodbye is the hardest thing ever.
Let’s start with Moto3 category. There are some riders I follow a lot in this category and I really hoped to meet them. Some of them I met already some years ago, some of them I hoped to finally meet this year.
As I am Red Bull KTM Ajo team lover I wanted to meet boys from the team of course. Unfortunately I wasn’t lucky to meet Bo Bendsneyder. Same as last year, which I was somehow sad about it. From distance I saw some tall boy in orange T-shirt so I guess it could have been him but I don’t know. Well, it’s shame as for me it was the last chance to see him in these orange colours and in Moto3 category.
Well, I really wanted to meet Niccolò Antonelli. I’ve been supporting him for some years already but this year thanks to his appearance in my beloved team I started to support him even more and actually currently he is my rider number 1 in Moto3. So I really hoped to finally meet him as I’ve never been lucky any time before. Well, I saw him coming on his scooter to the Ajo garage. So I hurried to catch him because I was afraid he could hide in the garage. When I came there he was parking his scooter and I said “Nicco”. I thought he couldn’t hear me as I said it quite silently but he turned his head so he probably heard it. So I asked for the photo and he agreed. So I was very happy to have a photo with him. Unfortunately I was shy to say something more. And I really regret it as I would like to say him how much I support him and stand by his side . This season isn’t easy for him so I just really wanted to let him know about there were people always supporting him. But as I said I was so shy, unfortunately.
When it comes to Ajo team I saw also the boss there. I was so happy to see Aki Ajo again. I think I have already mentioned that I admire him. Well, my sister told me to go to him to ask for a photo as he looked like he wasn’t busy in that time (which was probably for the first time ever I saw him not that busy!) but I didn’t go and now I regret it so much. I would love to tell him and to all people in the team how much I admire them and like them and what they do mean for me. Well, it’s really a shame I didn’t go to ask Aki for a photo, maybe he would be nicely surprised by it and maybe even happy. In that moment I didn’t feel like going to him but now more than a month later I have to say that it’s a big shame that I didn’t do it. I also had my Finnish flag in my backpack and my big dream always has been that Aki and also his son Niklas could sign it. I have been also somehow curious with the idea how Aki would react if I asked him to sign my Finnish flag. At the moment he was literally a few metres next to me but I didn’t do anything. Now, later, you have no idea how much I hate myself for the fact that I didn’t do it, that I didn’t ask. I hate myself that I am still afraid of something and shy. I really need to be more assertive. Well, I hope next year there will be another chance for me but you know, I’m now just sad that I have to wait one more year. The whole one year!
Well, as I’ve mentioned Niklas Ajo I have to say that I saw him too. When he stopped racing I thought I would never meet him again. And wow! He was in the Peugeot team on the Patrik Pulkkinen’s side of the garage. I was just taking photos of Patrik’s garage and bike and suddenly realized Niklas was there! So I have a photo with him. And even Patrik’s bike is behind us at the photo so everything is great and I am in the amazing Finnish company. But I also regret that I didn’t ask Niklas to sign the Finnish flag for me. I’m stupid.
Well, unfortunately I didn’t meet Patrik Pulkkinen. And actually he’s the one I also could ask to sign the flag for me. Okay, now I have to think about it all. Mika Kallio signed the flag 2 years ago and I need Aki, Niklas and Patrik (or some other Finns) to sign it and my life will be complete then.
So as usual, to go around the Ajo Motorsport team’s garage and trucks were the best highlights for me. But I also saw some other riders like our Czech rider Kornfeil (Patrik’s team mate this year), Fenati, Migno, Bulega, Mir, Loi, Bezzecchi, Bastianini, Canet, Foggia (who replaced injured Darryn Binder in Brno), Oettl, Di Giannantonio.
What I also regret is that I didn’t ask Albert Arenas for a photo. I saw him in the Aspar team garage, he was there standing next to his bike with some other man (no idea who the man was, probably someone from his crew). I just took a picture of it. But later I realized I really would loved to have a photo with him. But it was late. I hope you will forgive me these fangirling lines but Albert is one of the most handsome boys there in the paddock and it would be so amazing to have a photo with him. So I really hope and believe that I will have another chance soon.
Back to Ajo team because who did I see once again? Yes, sure, Joan Olivé was there. I saw him on the scooter in the middle of paddock chatting with Jack Miller on another scooter :-D Later also Brad Binder on his bicycle and with ice cream in his hand joined them. It was pretty nice to watch them for a while. I’ve always liked Joan, my sister has been Jack Miller’s fan so we really enjoyed that view.
As I’ve already said, I saw Brad Binder. Not only in that moment talking to Miller and Olivé but also he was around the Ajo team truck. So me and my friends asked him for a photo. And it means that my collection with photos with Brad is bigger now. Every year I go there to Brno I take a photo with Brad. He’s always nice to everybody. I also saw Brad’s team mate, another very nice boy and that’s Miguel Oliveira. He stopped in front of the CIP Moto3 team garage for a quick chat with the people from the team and also with Marco Bezzecchi. Well, I didn’t ask Miguel for a picture and now I really don’t know why I didn’t go there. My friend took a photo with him so I really don’t know why I didn’t go there too. He is such a nice and great boy, great rider, I like him a lot. And just by the way, Miguel is the most handsome dentist I know (well, he still studies it I think but still).
After some years I met Sandro Cortese and I was pretty happy about it. I also saw Raffin, Pasini, Navarro, Marini, Alex Márquez, Quartararo, Axel Pons, Syahrin, Vierge, Hanika (who was the wild card rider). Actually later I quite regretted that I didn’t take a photo with Luca Marini. So hopefully next time.
I met Lorenzo Baldassarri and I was very happy about it. He was very nice.
From Moto2 category the most I wanted to meet Franco Morbidelli. I started to like him in 2015. At the end of last season he was one of my biggest favourites and already in 2016 I predicted a world title for him. So let’s hope. But well, it really happened and I met him in Brno and I was very happy about it. This was one of the biggest highlights of the Grand Prix for me.
You already know that we met Jack Miller. But it wasn’t only the time when he was talking to Joan Olivé and Brad Binder. We also saw him some more times. We were also waiting for him in front of the Marc VDS hospitality as we realized he was there. My sister has been his big fan and for the day she was wearing his fan T-shirt. So especially because of her we really wanted to meet him. And it happened, Jack came out from the hospitality, took photos with us. He was very nice to us and happy to see somebody with the “Jackass” T-shirt. He said to my sister that she had “nice shirt.”
We also saw Jack’s team mate Tito Rabat for a short moment. When it comes to Marc VDS we also met Julián Simón very often. I really can’t count how many times we met him. But it was pretty often. Actually it’s quite funny because when he was a racer we never met him and now he started to work for Marc VDS and we saw him so many times. And there were pretty funny moments with him actually. As we met him quite often he started to look at us so I don’t know, maybe he already remembered us :-D And when we were waiting for Jack, Julián was going there around the hospitality, I just wanted to take a photo of him and I don’t know but he probably thought we could have asked for a photo with him or something and he said “hola!” It made me laugh actually as I didn’t expect it. But actually, former 125cc World Champion said “hi” to me, that’s not that bad.
We took photos with Pol Espargaró, also Johann Zarco was there but somehow he was quite busy that time so I didn’t have a chance to have another photo with him. But finally I took a photo with his team mate Jonas Folger. And it made me really very happy. Well, it looked like I wouldn’t be successful but in the end he appeared there and he took a photo with me although he was hurrying to the pre-event press conference. So I was very grateful for it.
We saw lots of MotoGP riders but I would like to write about my biggest highlight now. You maybe would be surprised by it but we met Maverick Viñales quite often there. He was going there around the paddock and pit lane quite a lot. Good for me as I could look at him :-D Well, we were lucky enough to take photos with him. He was there riding his bicycle, probably a little showing his riding skills doing wheelie and turning his head if we were watching :-D But he was nice to everybody, took photos with fans, signing autographs. I realized that he has been very respectful to his fans and he appreciates them and it’s nice to know. By the way, it’s not that long time ago when I said that “I will never support him.” Hehe, and now you see, I have his fan T-shirt, I am happy when I meet him, take photos with him and even he is my MotoGP number 1. Who would guess that even 3 years ago? Not me.
Another great highlight of the day was meeting Jorge Lorenzo. One of my friends and my sister have been his big fans. But especially because of that one friend I hoped we would be lucky. We were waiting in front of the Ducati hospitality. He was doing some interviews for media. So we were patiently waiting and hoping. It took some time but in the end he came out. My friend took a photo with him so everything was great. And I have to say that it was the first time I met Jorge. Actually I already saw him last year and also probably in 2015 but these were only short moments. This year I had finally chance to see him for a little bit longer time and I have to say that he looked like very good and nice man. He was smiling and looked cool and relaxed.
Héctor Barberá was going around us on his scooter, I also saw Álvaro Bautista (but from distance and for very short moment). Karel Abraham was there as well for sure. Also Aleix Espargaró came around us, Alex Rins was there, we also saw Cal Crutchlow busy going somewhere on his scooter. And if you want to know, yes, also Valentino Rossi was there. There were lots of “yellow” fans around Yamaha’s garage and truck waiting for him. But I saw Valentino only for a short moment going somewhere on his scooter.
Every year I see Dani Pedrosa in the paddock but it is usually only for very short moment. But this time we were quite lucky to see him quite often. And what’s more! We took a photo with him! I couldn’t believe it. It was pretty good moment and I even was surprised about how Dani was nice to us and everything. Really very great moment of the day.
We also saw Julia Márquez (Marc’s and Alex’s father), actually a few years ago we even took a photo with him :-D I already mentioned that I had seen Aki Ajo, for me the best team manager ever. I also saw Hervé Poncharal which I was quite happy about because he’s also my favourite team manager. We also met Sete Gibernau and that was great moment for me. He was there with Dani Pedrosa (he works with him now). Well, “to meet” probably isn’t the right word for it, I just saw him but I was so happy to see him. As a teenager I supported him when he was racing in MotoGP and suddenly many years later I met him!
Also boys from Red Bull Rookies Cup were there and also people racing in the ADAC series which were the supporting series that weekend there.
That Thursday in the paddock is my favourite Thursday in the whole one year. It’s the best day for me. And it’s terrible to think about that I have to wait one year to experience it again! The waiting is terrible and then everything goes so quickly and it’s over. And then waiting again… So that’s why I currently think about visiting more races during the year. It’s just a small idea in my mind. I need to think about it all properly and seriously.
Well, that’s all for now about the paddock / pit walk event. In the next post there will be something about my experience from the race weekend itself.