Teams unpacked and race machines assembled, the pitlane population begins to grow. Riders and mechanics are joined by pitlane marshals, fire and safety crew, track security, photographers, fans, and journalists.
Ronald ten Kate, principal of Ten Kate Racing, gives a video interview on behalf of sponsor SBS, Scandinavian Brake Systems. Sponsors make considerable investments to provide their teams with the highest spec components. In turn, teams provide intense real-life testing, on-track visibility and product endorsement.
Riders kick-off the weekend with a press conference in the decidedly rustic media tent at the former (2012) Miller MotorSports Park, in America’s wild west (Utah). Media questions answered, pens are out for the autograph session
(2012) Max Biaggi (r) and Luigi (Gigi) Dall’Igna (director of Aprllia Factory Works Racing teams) take time to have a quiet discussion away from the bustle of the pit garage. Dall’Igna’s skills as manager, engineer and strategist helped Biaggi win the FIM Superbike World Championship in both 2010 and 2012. Biaggi is also a four-time 250cc Grand Prix World Champion (1994, ’95, ’96 and ’97) and three times runner-up in the 500cc/MotoGP classes.
WSBK teams take a break to watch Christian Pfeiffer practice for his stunt-riding demonstrations that will entertain race-goers through the weekend. Pfeiffer began his stunt-riding career in 1996 and won four world-championship titles before retiring at the end of 2015. Pfeiffer died in 2022, in circumstances unrelated to his daring riding exploits.
Paddock citizens have the opportunity to catch up with friends and peers as they attend to the business of preparing the team for the coming competition. It’s a community of people who have worked and traveled together, sometimes on the same team, sometimes for rivals. The camaraderie in and between crews is enhanced with the knowledge that one is competing at the very highest levels of this sport.