SUZUKA 8Hours Special: Part 7 – Paddock & Exhibition 0

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Masashi-san arrived and immediately led me to the media center and the scene there was simply amazing. Hundreds of medias from across the world took up almost every seat in the centre.

The tunnel that leads to paddock right under the track.
The tunnel that leads to paddock right under the track.

I was ushered to the café located within the media center and was duly introduced to the officials from the Suzuka Circuit. Best yet, I was also given a VIP tour of the podium, the hospitality area and the pit.

The media center café. A cosy relaxing place for media members.
The media center café. A cosy relaxing place for media members.
Suzuka 8Hours is covered by medias from all over the globe. Scene from the media center.
Suzuka 8Hours is covered by medias from all over the globe. Scene from the media center.

My first stop was at the podium and I had the privilege of standing at the very same spot where the champions of Suzuka 8Hours and Formula One races stood. What a feeling but the only difference was that I was just a visitor there.

Podium zone.
Podium zone.

And something was just not right here, I think. With Pokemon Go madness all around the world, there was a no-go Pokemon in this circuit that was strangely pretty much amusing. Enough of Pokemon!

Pokemon Go has invaded Suzuka Circuit podium!
Pokemon Go has invaded Suzuka Circuit podium!

After that, I was led to the hospitality area. Surprisingly it is an even better place to watch the race compared to the grandstand. It is a comfortable and cool place to hang out and one could watch the race clearly from here. Best part is, the pit is right under you.

The spectacular view from the hospitality area at paddock.
The spectacular view from the hospitality area at paddock.
The hospitality area for the VIPs.
The hospitality area for the VIPs.
A top view of the racing team’s paddock.
A top view of the racing team’s paddock.

Next, I was given an escort tour to the pit area. Unfortunately cameras were not allowed in the pit. But to be given the rare chance of being upclosed to the riders and machines was certainly and unforgettable experience, for me at least. Although I’d been to pits countless of times during track days in my country, the feeling of just being here, in Suzuka was entirely different. It was awesome!

Crew inspecting the damaged bike from a crash in free practice.
Crew inspecting the damaged bike from a crash in free practice.
The team green truck.
The team green truck.
Sneak peek into Team Green's pit.
Sneak peek into Team Green’s pit.
Racequeens!
Racequeens!
Another racequeen.
Another racequeen.
A common sight when racequeens is around.
A common sight when racequeens is around.
More racequeens.
More racequeens.
Team Yokohama Kagayama booth.
Team Yokohama Kagayama booth.
The most luxurious team in Suzuka 8Hours – The Yamaha Factory Racing Team.
The most luxurious team in Suzuka 8Hours – The Yamaha Factory Racing Team.
Sneak peek into Team Yamaha Factory Racing Team's pit.
Sneak peek into Team Yamaha Factory Racing Team’s pit.
This pool comes in handy especially for a summer race.
This pool comes in handy especially for a summer race.

More photos of other teams…

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Another team’s crew working on a crashed bike.
Another team’s crew working on a crashed bike.

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The brand new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R on display.
The brand new Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R on display.
The racequeens on standby for duty.
The racequeens on standby for duty.
Another bike for repair.
Another bike for repair.

After the VIP tour, I decided to go back to my seat and watch the free practices and the top ten fastest in the trials. Again, I’m no stranger to the loud noises from the exhausts of the bikes as they passed by me. The high decibel sound might be a nuisance to many but they are music to my ears.

The crowd was getting bigger and bigger by the minute and the unforgiving brazen sun was beginning to burn my skin, I decided to walk around the circuit and to visit some of the key attractions in the circuit. But before I do that, I want to visit the exhibition area first. A must.

An overview of the principal’s exhibition area.
An overview of the principal’s exhibition area.
The Coca Cola Suzuka 8Hours main stage.
The Coca Cola Suzuka 8Hours main stage.
Kawasaki’s fan base situated on top of the hill.
Kawasaki’s fan base situated on top of the hill.
Official VR46 merchandise booth.
Official VR46 merchandise booth.
Dunlop Tires Booth.
Dunlop Tires Booth.

The exhibition area was separated into two categories; the principals and the after market. The principal brands were located right next to the grandstand while the after market was located next to the driving school.

Big names like Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki and KTM were there. Honda displayed the actual RC213V that belonged to two times world champion Marque Marquez. I had an opportunity to knee down with “Marquez”! What excitement, what thrill, I tell you.

The Honda’s pavilion.
The Honda’s pavilion.
I had the chance to do a little knee dragging with “Marquez”.
I had the chance to do a little knee dragging with “Marquez”.

The most interesting bike on display that day would have surely been the all new Honda CBR250RR. I can proudly lay claim that I am the first Malaysian to see the bike in flesh and to get up close with it.

The RC213V road legal bike that has a price tag of more than RM800,000.00 in Malaysia.
The RC213V road legal bike that has a price tag of more than RM800,000.00 in Malaysia.
The all new CBR250RR.
The all new CBR250RR.

Yamaha displayed a few interesting bikes like the XSR900, R1-M and the most prominent bike on display was, of course, Valentino Rossi’s M1. Again, I had the opportunity to sit on it. For that ten seconds, I felt like Rossi! Beat that!

Yamaha Ractory Racing Team’s pavilion.
Yamaha Ractory Racing Team’s pavilion.
Actual Valentino Rossi’s bike on display.
Actual Valentino Rossi’s bike on display.
The highly anticipated XSR900.
The highly anticipated XSR900.
Yamaha's Racequeens
Yamaha’s Racequeens
The racequeens attracts crowds better than the bike.
The racequeens attracts crowds better than the bike.

Kawasaki, on the other hand, showcased their H2 legends. Amongst them is the fastest H2, the new color scheme H2, WSBK machines and others. As a Kawasaki rider, I was given a team merchandise that I could use at race day the next day. Lucky me.

Kawasaki Ninja’s pavilion.
Kawasaki Ninja’s pavilion.
The Trick Star Ninja H2R.
The Trick Star Ninja H2R.
Fastest H2R.
Fastest H2R.

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The new Ninja H2 color scheme.
The new Ninja H2 color scheme.

I also took the opportunity to visit Bridgestone booth to further understand the new RS10R and S21 tires. In the meantime, I was given many great insights on the actual Team F.C.C. TSR Honda CBR1000RR which was on display at the Bridgestone booth.

Bridgestone’s pavilion.
Bridgestone’s pavilion.

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Actual V02 on display.
Actual V02 on display.
Team F.C.C. TSR Honda CBR1000RR on display.
Team F.C.C. TSR Honda CBR1000RR on display.
KTM’s booth.
KTM’s booth.
Latest KTM models on display.
Latest KTM models on display.
The Suzuki’s pavilion.
The Suzuki’s pavilion.
Team Suzuki Ecstar Alex Rins MotoGP Machine.
Team Suzuki Ecstar Alex Rins MotoGP Machine.

Having done with the principals, I proceeded to the after market section. That section looked very interesting as there were many partial and nicely done up bikes on display. The highlight of that area was the MotoX high jumping and back flipping shows performed by a bunch of MotoX riders.

Professional MotoX rider performing back flip at the aftermarket zone.
Professional MotoX rider performing back flip at the aftermarket zone.

Other exciting booths at the aftermarket zone….

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Another interesting thing that I would like to highlight is the driving and riding school. Suzuka Circuit is actually owned by Honda hence it is only natural they have a driving and riding school here. Complimenting the race, they actually teach riders some basic skills on riding and handling like negotiating the slalom, when and how to apply the emergency brake, and etc. They even have a separate section for all newbie who have never ridden on a bike before.

Instructor guiding a newbie on bike.
Instructor guiding a newbie on bike.
Riding course is available at Suzuka Circuit that is open for public.
Riding course is available at Suzuka Circuit that is open for public.

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Born in school of petrol heads, raised practically drinking gasoline and smoked by the burning tires. Left the 4 wheels and took up 2 wheels as a direct result from mid age crisis. It's little crazy but am happy about it.

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