The old saying ‘it’s the journey, not the destination,’ did not apply to this trip. I landed in Rome and the drive to Misano was long, stressful and exhausting. Traffic moves fast and lanes don’t really apply. Bikes also lane split, many at a time and on either side of you. You must stay focused, which is pretty easy with all the espresso stops along the way.
GALLERY: MISANO MOTOGP
My end point was Riccione, a quaint beach town. Unfortunately, many roads were one-way or blocked off. My poor GPS was having difficulty pronouncing the Italian street names, but we managed in the dead of night. Travel tip: Hertz issued me a smart phone loaded with the Hertz app. It was inexpensive, very reliable, acted as a hot spot and allowed unlimited global calls. It is a 'must have' for your next Euro trip.
The Misano MotoGP was more of a festival than a bike race. People from all ages came from all over. The place definitely had a level of surrealism and mystique, for more reasons than one. Saturday’s qualifying was a large turnout, even though Rossi was out. The Rossi fans definitely had a presence, wore his colours and were hoping for an appearance.
Crutchlow cheesed his finger, but carried on without a complaint and with the help of three (to get his glove on). He is determined. Dovi bailed on the fairing design and went 'old school,' but Lorenzo stuck with it with hopes it would help, it didn’t. Pirro was also a wild card Ducati rider and rode impressively. Qualifying had blue skies, great weather and amazing riding. Go to motogp.com for the official results and view the image gallery.
Sunday morning was very early, in hopes of betting the traffic. Fans were out and about by 6:30 am, walking and biking to the track. A beautiful sunrise was quickly washed away by thunder, cooler temperatures, darkness and rain, lots of rain. It rained all day. The Moto3 and Moto2 riders braved the conditions, but it got the best of them. Crashes were everywhere. Luckily nothing serious.
Fan attendance was down, but still very large, despite the terrible conditions. By noon, everyone smelled like a wet dog, but everyone still had a smile. At the start of MotoGP, the rain stopped and the clouds miraculously broke. The MotoGP race was nothing short of amazing. The speed and lean angles that these riders can handle with a water-logged track is nothing short of incredible. There were plenty of crashes, and an Italian-Spanish-Italian battle for top three. Marquez ended up with the win, and you could hear the fans roar with their displeasure.
There was also another ruthless massive fan cheer when Lorenzo high-sided. The traditional track invasion followed , where it was Rossi pandemonium. They were chanting his name and waving flags hoping for a surprise, but nothing transpired. It’s difficult to put into words how patriotic and committed Rossi’s fan base is.
Misano unfortunately had some challenging weather, a non-Italian win and supporters that missed out on their local hero. But the fans seriously enjoyed the smells, sounds and sights of world class motorcycle racing at a world-class venue. If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, racing fan, MotoGP junky, or just love adventure, give Misano a go. Ciao.