Editor's Blog: On The Road To Qatar

Whenever I meet readers and friends of MotoMatters.com, I am invariably asked the same question: What's it like in the paddock? Since earning entry to that hallowed ground, I have often wanted to share some of the experiences and the atmosphere in the MotoGP and World Superbike paddocks, but had never found - or never got round to finding - the appropriate outlet for such musings. MotoMatters.com is focused intently on news, analysis and background of MotoGP and World Superbikes, and fitting random observations into thenews and interviews we do would merely detract from what the core of our work. It was clear that MotoMatters.com needed some kind of blog, but with a million other things to do (mostly trying to raise money), the idea of a blog kept slipping down our list of priorities.

Fortunately for our readers - at least I hope it's fortunately - we have been spurred into action by an extraordinary offer from the Fiat On The Web team. I have been invited to be Guest Blogger for the Fiat Yamaha team, which entails giving readers an insight and behind-the-scenes view of the life of MotoGP's leading team. I follow in some illustrious footsteps: the last people to go before me were the folks at leading Italian blog network Motoblog.it, who did some great work, interviewing Jorge Lorenzo and the team photographer Gigi Soldano. In order to do that, we have had to create the MotoMatters.com Editor's blog.

The first step in the journey comes early Tuesday morning, when I board a plane to Doha, Qatar, arriving some time in the early evening. Along the way, I'll be spending some time in the Islamic Art Museum, visiting an ancient fort and sightseeing at the Pearl Project, a giant project to create an artificial island in the Persian Gulf. Living in a country famous for land reclamation - the Netherlands - that should be quite an experience. Naturally - this being done for the Fiat Yamaha Team - we'll be traveling everywhere in a Fiat 500.

From Friday, it's down to business at the circuit, for the floodlit season opener at the Losail circuit. I have made no secret of my personal aversion to the night race at Qatar, yet everyone who I have spoken to who has attended the event has nothing but praise for it. It may be that I end up undergoing a Damascene conversion at the sheer scale and spectacle of the event, but I am hoping my rational half will not be overwhelmed by what is, admittedly, an extraordinary feat of engineering.

There'll be updates daily from Qatar in the blog section of MotoMatters.com, and I'll be trying to keep everyone up to date on Twitter, while simultaneously trying to avoid bankruptcy through roaming data charges on my cellphone. Any tips from Qatari residents in this regard would be warmly welcomed.

But now to bed. It's already late here in Europe, and I have to be up in 7 hours time. Between now and then, I have to pack, sort my papers out and try and sleep. With the MotoGP season rapidly approaching, sleep is proving increasingly elusive. Plenty of time for that in November...

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. . . exactly what they were doing and got the right man for the job. That's excellent news David, congrats. I look forward to all of your usual superb followups on the race, etc. It'll be neat to hear your insight into what it's like around the Fiat garage.

Congrats, David.

An opportunity you are more than well qualified and prepared for. I don't think I've read any other moto journalist who captures the atmosphere of a race as well as you do. As such, you are perfect for this gig.

Not that I would be able to do anything with it if given the opportunity, but, nevertheless, I'm envious, dude.

They certainly did choose the right man for the job. I'm looking forward to it!

Can you get me a Fiat Yamaha fleece mate they are harder than rocking horse poop to get hold of...
only joking...
This can only be great news for the site,forum and all it's regular readers.

Certainly a nice opportunity I hope you enjoy, but I certainly preferred when this website was held by someone with no relation with any of the teams in there. Kind of bring a better taste of neutrality on any comments you made.

Now, with all my respects about your objectivity, this changes for sure the way I'll read the rest of your stuff.

I can understand your scepticism. However, I have a few comments to make which I hope will take away some of your concerns. Firstly, I am quite uncomfortable accepting this, and waited for quite a long time before accepting. As you say, I was worried I would not be free to write what I wanted, but from all of the other sites who have done the same, I have not seen any change in their objectivity. I do not expect this to change here either. I take integrity very seriously indeed.

Of course, the thing is that Fiat are paying for this, rather than Yamaha, so I can write whatever I like about the team, as long as I don't say too many bad things about Fiat ;-). Anyway, judge me by what I write. If you think there's any bias creeping in, then feel free to point it out to me. Given that the Fiat Yamaha team have two of the best four riders in the world, there isn't a whole lot to criticize.

Anyway, my focus will be on the people behind the scenes, rather than the riders. At every GP, there is an army of people running around putting everything in place so that the riders can ride.

..David's worked his a$$ off getting this going..initially working a 'normal job' and doing this in his spare time before going full time and investing all his personal funds into it.
Lets just be happy for the guy for 5 minutes, for 1 it gives him funds to improve the site, 2 it allows him to attend more (if not all) races, and 3 it gives him a closer insight into the hidden gears of MotoGP, and a greater view into the workings of at least the Fiat Yamaha team and riders.
I'm waiting for an in-depth JB interview for sure.
Now, should the site lose it's footings and become a wishy washy Yamaha corporate site I'll be among the first to vilify Dr Krop, but for now lets just say well done and be happy for what the man's achieved.

Congrats David! well deserved....Enjoy yourself, live in the moment, and remember, there was a time when this was just something you wanted to do for fun, but now your getting paid for it... Can't ask for more than that!!! :)

...will there be pictures from your globe-trotting?

There will be pictures, but I'm no Scott Jones. And I don't know whether I'll be able to get JB this weekend, but I'll get hold of him before the end of the year. 

Just my $0.02, but it was actually the 2008 Qatar night race that got me so huge into motorcycle racing in general. It definitely is a spectacle, but it was seeing Casey Stoner's beautiful red-marlboro livery under the floodlights (this picture in particular! http://www.highrevs.net/motogp_gallery/casey-stoner-fastest-qatar-night-... ) that caught my attention and immediate love for the sport. Now I watch and subscribe to motogp.com, watch World Superbike (on speedtv grrr) and have come to love the sport in general.

Sure it may not be the racers' favorites, and some people may balk at the race purely from a racing standpoint, but I believe it definitely has it's place in terms of gathering attention for the sport, I know because it hooked me!

The Qatar Race and new mission. We all love all the information you bring us on the Motogp or World Superbike inner sanctum. I just hope nothing negative happens and it is enjoyable experience. For sure if it is enjoyable for you then it will be doubly for me when you write about it.

Living through you!

But will you still know us when you become the next Suzi Perry?
Keep up the great work, it is highly appreciated.