We left Willoughby to head to our ‘primary’ destination for this trip: Indianapolis, for the MotoGP.
There were a few minutes of slight concern when we arrived at the hotel that had been booked for months and months: they didn’t have a room for us! Apparently Expedia had been trying to contact Clare regarding an alternative, but had only sent an email through when we were about an hour away from Indianapolis, with a contact telephone number that went through to the wrong department…
Fortunately, the hotel realised they could find us a room, one which just had some maintenance done, as long as we could wait an hour or so for the duty manager to prepare it for us. That suited us: we went and did our shopping (sandwich supplies and beer), then checked in.
The first motorcycle-related activity of the weekend was a trip to the local Ducati dealers (the imaginatively-named Ducati Indianapolis), where they were having an open day, and there were rumours of a visit from the Ducati Corse team…
Our sat-nav decided to take use some ‘imaginative’ routing to get to the store, through what seemed like the car park for some industrial units, but we knew we were in the right place when we spotted a very obvious big red truck.
Of course, there were a load of motorbikes parked up around the store, including something that might be suitable for my Mam if she wants a change from big 4WDs. We couldn’t take advantage of the various test rides that were on offer, so had to make do with wondering around the store being quite amazed at how cheap the motorbikes were, compared to UK prices. Of course, I had to buy a couple of Ducati T-shirts that were on offer while I was there, and a 1:18-scale model of a Multistrada somehow accidentally got added to my bill.
It wasn’t long until one of the store managers took a phone call and told everybody that “they” were 10 minutes away; “they” being the Ducati Corse team, of course. We expected them to turn up in limos, or at least Ducati-branded cars, but a couple of nondescript 4x4s turned up and pulled round the back of the store, one of them being driven by Cal himself!
The team were lead out of the store to a round of applause, and the riders (Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso) very quickly got down to the business of signing posters and posing for photos. Clare had a quick chat with Cal, told him we’d come from Newcastle just to see him (he asked where the translator was), and that we’d been in Brno last year to see his pole position qualifying (he pointed out that he’d crashed out of the race…) Also in attendance were Paolo Ciabatti (Ducati Corse Sporting Director) and Julian Thomas (MotoGP Press Manager), probably making sure that nobody said anything that they weren’t supposed to. Somebody in the crowd had a Mini done up in Union Jack wrap and Cal-style number 35, so there was more opportunities for photos, and for Cal to autograph the car.
With the excitement over, it was time for the quickest Japanese meal we’ve ever had (trying to take my bowl away while I was still eating), then back to the hotel to prepare for three days of racing.