For Toby Moody, the San Marino Grand Prix was just as entertaining off the track as it was on it. Here he is reporting from the Misano paddock…
A badge of honour
September in Italy is always a favourite time of year for me. My special relationship with the place started in 1996 during my first year of MotoGP when Imola was put back on the calendar. Memories of that first trip were sparked when I found a badge in my office last week. I pinned it to my permanent pass and showed it to people who were in that Imola paddock all those years ago.
What a tart!
Ducati hospitality always put on some grub for journalists when there's a Nicky Hayden or Valentino Rossi debrief. The strawberry tart looked spot on after an afternoon of talking on TV, so I grabbed one. The Italian flag inside was a very cool touch.
Dog day afternoon
After mentioning how many different police forces attend MotoGP tracks in Italy in a previous blog, this time a bomb squad turned up and brought a sniffer dog with them. Needless to say, it didn't smell anything but perfume as the girls clamoured to stroke the pup.
The car park used by the MotoGP riders and team managers is always an interesting place to look around if you like nice cars and this GP certainly didn't disappoint. In the collection was a Porsche Turbo (Karel Abraham and Lucio Cecchinello), a BMW X5 (Valentino Rossi), black M3s (Michele Pirro and Andrea Ianonne), a McLaren Mercedes SLR, an SsangYong Torrando D2OT (Mattia Pasini), and an Audi 3.0 Tdi Quattro (Andrea Dovizioso).
Two out of three
Red Bull riders took all three poles on Saturday and that was nearly replicated on Sunday with Sandro Cortese taking Moto3 victory before Marc Marquez did the same an hour later in the middle class. Dani Pedrosa will never know if he could've won Misano 2012 after the melee that saw his brakes jam before the start of the warm-up lap and then being toppled off by a wayward Hector Barbara. Of the three Red Bull riders, Sunday's best quote goes to Cortese: "I took a 200 per cent risk during those last two laps."
On yer bike!
Riders from all three classes rode bicycles around the track on Thursday in aid of the Marco Simoncelli foundation. Needless to say, Valentino Rossi had the coolest bike – a €3,700 Rizoma. I was drooling over the carbon-fibre frame with belt drive and single rear brake.
Note to self
Marc Marquez always saves the best till last during GP weekends by blitzing the opposition in the final three laps. He did this for a seventh time on Sunday after reminding himself of his game plan by planting a message on his dashboard and seat.
With so many Italian based teams in the paddock, the Mugello and Misano races are always packed with guests and VIPs, but the crowds packing out the Danilo Petrucci garage on Saturday were something else.
On my return trip from Bologna, I was sat next to two guys who I hadn't seen for years – neither of whom had been at Misano. One was six-time World Enduro Champion and Dakar stage winner Giovanni Sala. He was on his way to the Sachsenring for a six-day Enduro event. On the homeward hop to Birmingham, I had Sal Kahn from Dunlop next to me. He used to be Jorge Lorenzo's Dunlop engineer in 250cc and was returning from a new project in northern Italy.
Keep it in the family
Marc Marquez did warn us that his younger brother was quicker and it appears he might be right. Alex came to Misano fresh from winning the Spanish Moto3 championship at Albacete.