2016 MotoGP Austin – Saturday

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I’m not going to be able to give you detailed qualifying analysis or behind-the-scenes photography, but the least I can do is share some highlights from the perspective of a passionate motorcycling fan. With that said, here are some of my favorite moments from Day 2 in Austin!

Note: If you really do want some race analysis, check out Road Racing World. If you just want to tag along with your favorite fool for the day, read on…

I’m pretty sure if you’re in Austin, you’re legally obligated to eat as much barbecue as possible. We started today at Mickelthwait Craft Meats, and this was the damn line when it opened!
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Mickelthwait Craft Meats

Thankfully, they had a way to make the line seem more tolerable.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Mickelthwait Craft Meats Free Beer

Approximately three years later, we finished our BBQ brunch and got to the track. Here’s the entrance to the paddock.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Paddock Entrance

The Aprilia RS-GP isn’t particularly competitive yet, but I think it sounds much cooler than anything else on the grid thanks to the V-4 engine.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Aprilia RS-GP

Hayden Gillim (Nicky Hayden’s cousin) is the MVP – the Man in a Van with a Plan. Love his sense of humor.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Hayden Gillim

Day 2 Update – I am still obsessed with rain race tires.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Rain Race Tires

On a Moto2 bike, a camera that you may have seen the output from on TV.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Moto2 Camera

Applying livery to some fairings.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Applying Livery

Saw my first Skully helmet in the wild (I also saw my first Honda NS50F in the wild later in the day, but I don’t have a photo of that). I desperately want to try one just to see what the fuss is all about – the only problem is the expected retail price of $1,499 is exactly $1 short of what I spent on the last three motorcycles I bought…combined. Actually, make that two problems: Skully just announced that they’re delaying shipments yet again.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Skully Helmet

During the last free practice session, I accidentally stumbled into a section of the track that was supposed to be for photographers only. Oops. It was short lived but I got a few shots that I wasn’t expecting to be able to – here’s Lorenzo and Pol Espargaro coming around the final turn:
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Lorenzo

Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Pol Espargaro

And here’s Rossi and Dovizioso coming around the penultimate corner. The wings on Dovi’s Ducati look so dumb.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Rossi

Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Dovi

Then I came back to reality and the normal sections of the track where I was actually allowed to be. The first qualifying session comes to a close:
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - End of Qualifying

When MotoGP is up, all the other divisions stop what they’re doing and watch.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Moto3 vs MotoGP

Tony Parker was one of several celebrities that showed up to watch qualifying. I’m pretending that he was supporting fellow Frenchmen Loris Baz, which is quite a nationalist assumption.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Tony Parker

serious business time
After the second qualifying session had ended, Marquez had earned himself pole position with a lap of 2’03.188, during which he hit 210.19 mph and averaged 100.69 mph.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Marquez Rounding out the first row are Lorenzo and Rossi, who are .069 and .0456 seconds back respectively. Confirming what you probably already knew, the factory Ducatis had the highest top speeds in qualifying – Dovi hit 214.25 on the main straight.
end of serious business time

I have a new favorite livery for the Honda Grom – this one is painted to look like Honda’s classic dirt bikes!
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Honda Grom HRC Livery

You mean you don’t have someone take out your engine and clean it for you between rides?
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Engine Cleaning

A crowd forms outside of Rossi’s pit in hopes that he’ll come out for signatures and photos.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Rossi Crowd

The parents of this kid said they were preparing him to be the next Valentino Rossi with this transportation setup. Looks to me like he’s just learned there are other priorities in life.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Red Bull Girls with Kid

Again, we went back to the Handbuilt Show. It was less crowded than yesterday (at least around 6pm) but that just meant it was easier to see all the fantastic details of the custom bikes.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Handbuilt Show Crowds

Following up on yesterday’s post, I found someone else who’s more into bikes than I am:
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Repsol Tattoo

I’ll share an album of my favorite bikes once I’m back home and have a chance to go through all the pictures. But an unexpected joy was this mural from DownShift Studio. The artist (Jeremy Lacy) was there and he was a very nice guy, so check out his site!
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - DownShift Studio Mural

Here’s a detail from the piece which shows one of the bikes at the Handbuilt Show: the Hyper Scrambler from Untitled Motorcycles. Just noticed that the “DUCATI” is missing an “I”, though.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - DownShift Studio Mural Detail

That wrapped up our bike activities for the day, which meant it was time for dinner. Another meal means there’s another opportunity for BBQ. We decided to try The Salt Lick, which had a two hour wait at 8:30pm. Doesn’t matter, it was worth it:
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Salt Lick

Austin, Texas: come for the meat, stay for the motorcycle culture.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Salt Lick Meats

When we finally sat down for dinner I was given another reminder of why I love this weekend so much. We were 30 miles west of the track in a restaurant (albeit a well-known one) in a suburb, and the tables on either side of us were both filled with MotoGP fans discussing the race. It was a surreal moment that brought a smile to my face – any place feels like home when you’re surrounded by motorcyclists. I can’t wait to experience the race tomorrow with thousands of other crazy people.
Bike-urious MotoGP Austin - Salt Lick Dinner

Some miscellaneous thoughts:
1. Not having an American rider to root for in MotoGP is a serious bummer. I hope MotoAmerica is able to graduate a few competitors soon.
2. I’m no expert, but I see Marquez winning this race without much of a problem. For the purposes of entertainment, I sure hope I’m wrong and that Rossi, Iannone, and Marquez spend the 21 laps duking it out and trading passes. Yeah, I didn’t mention Lorenzo. Sue me.
3. A red flag came out during Moto2 qualifying as Efren Vazquez went down in a bad crash that left him temporarily unconscious. Thankfully, it seems that he later came to and was apparently talking in the medical center, but I haven’t been able find out more on his status. I hope he’s OK.

Click here for my initial impressions from the weekend.
Or read on for my thoughts on race day!

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