I was offered a opportunity to cover Team AirAsia-SIC MotoGP team. The team which Malaysian young rider Muhammad Zulfahmi is belong to. It is a premium paddock pass, means I have access to the paddock area only. But the story doesn’t end here, the team is allow me to take photo in the garage! Golden opportunity. Suddenly I am upgraded to be team photographer 🙂
I saw how they build the bike from scratch. They hook everything up to the chassis. I’m not really a fans of engine but roughly I can see are engine, radiator, gas tank, exhaust and the cover set. Then another electronic technician will do some wires and calibration check before warm the bike in front of paddock. It is like watching American Chopper series in live. They are two technician assigned to take care each bike. At the end of the day, they will disassemble the bike again and keep it for tomorrow work. The garage is so small but everything is arrange in perfect location and optimize storage space. The whole garage can be pack down into 8 trunk box which is about a human size each. Yes, together with the bike and parts.
Unfortunately Fahmi had a crash on qualification round. He is alright and return back to garage but the bike was damaged. The qualification time was remain 30 minutes but the technician still rush to replace and fix the damage parts. Although the time is impossible short but the dedication and determination are what I adored. This is racing and time is the most matter. I learned.
The atmosphere in paddock area is so special. It is just like a sportsman village during Olympic. The live and work together, same time competing for championship. When there is a break, riders and technician from different team will always say hi to their neighbour pit. The backyard of paddock always the best place to catch rider and grid girls in person. But this year I found there was not as crowded as previous year, which many fans (especially in yellow shirts) gather around Yamaha paddock.
By time 5pm, almost all racing activity has stopped. I do a pitlane walk from end to end. Another busy time I saw the bikes were disassemble or been working for best tuning. 125 and Moto2 garage is open and MotoGP teams are closed. You know there are people working in the garage but this is how they keep their best secret. I checked my camera again, not many pictures were recorded today but I feel happy and knowledgeable before left the circuit.