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Y’all probably saw the races themselves on TV, so I’ll talk mostly about the experience.

I got the full Ducati “Project Mugello” ticket package, which cost $132, and included entry all three days, seating on the Ducati grandstand at Turn 1 (which was about as good a place to watch as any), a program, a couple souvenirs, a t-shirt, parking on Ducati Island (if you brought your Duc), and a lap of the track on Friday or Monday morning. I also got a weekend camping pass for $50, Thursday night through Sunday night.

If you own a Ducati, showing your registration or insurance card and ID gets you the Ducati hospitality tent including coffee, water, breakfast, sunscreen and other supplies.
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I rode down from Cleveland on Thursday, taking a little detour to northern Indiana to visit a friend for lunch; total distance about 425 miles. I got into Indianapolis about 3 pm, which was early enough to stop and see the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It had been recommended to me as worthwhile, and it was. Not a huge museum; I covered it pretty well in about 3 hours. But some good works there.

I then had to go to will-call to get my camping pass, as they had mailed to the wrong address and it was returned, but too late to mail it again and be sure. Minor inconvenience. Then to the campground to drop my stuff. DesmOhio, the Ohio Ducati Owners Club, always stakes out the same area in the campground in Lot 2, right across the street from the track, and camps together; I joined them for the weekend. Patches of grass, portajohns, a shower truck – not fancy, but more than adequate.

Thursday evening, Indy Ducati, the local dealer, was having an open house. I went to that, partly because I wanted to, and partly because, although the ticket package includes the Ducati Island parking, for some reason Indy Ducati controlled all the Ducati Island parking passes, so those didn’t come in the pack of tickets and passes in the mail; you had to go there to get that. Another minor inconvenience, not a big deal, but a little dumb. They had a little food and dessert, a bunch of people and bikes, the usual.
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Friday morning I got up good and early to take my track lap, and the battery was dead on my bike. It had been a cold night, but still after a 400+ mile ride, it should have had some juice in it. I was able to get a jumpstart from a pickup in the next campsite, and went for the ride. The lap was paced by a lead rider, and not very fast, although fast enough to get a little feel for the track and layout. It was cool just to be on one of the most famous racetracks in the world, on my own bike.

Went and parked at Ducati Island. They recognize my bike now, and gave me prime placement all three days.

Not much else was happening on the track Friday morning; practices stared in the afternoon, so I spent the rest of Friday morning at the vendor areas, etc. Got a Ducati shirt for my sweetie, a couple models, new gloves to replace my regular ones (Lee Parks had nice deerskin, black, simple construction, no gadgets and boy-racer stuff). Watched the practices in the afternoon.

Then went to Indy Ducati, and bought a new battery. This was good; bike started fine for the rest of the weekend.

Went downtown in the evening to the big “bike night” on Meridian St. It was very big; they had blocked off quite a large area for bikes only, and there were thousands. At Laguna Seca, they do a similar thing in Monterey on Saturday night; it’s smaller, but the proportion of cool bikes is much higher. I only saw a few really cool bikes on Meridian. Lots of catalog-engineered Harley “customs”, and lots of slammed and stretched ‘Busas, though.

Had a beer with some people I knew from sportbikes.net that I’d not met before in person. That was fun.
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Saturday went in and spent the day at the track. KTM had a truck with testrides, so I took a spin on an RC8. They’ve improved a lot since I rode one almost two years ago. They’ve still got some work to do before I’d consider it over an 1198, RSV4, or MV, but it’s closer than it used to be.

Other than that, I watched practice in the morning and qualifying in the afternoon, and walked around a lot looking for good places to watch the race from. This is where Indy fares poorly in comparison with Laguna Seca. Indy has nicer facilities. The vendors are in actual buildings, not just tents. Most areas have actual bathrooms, with toilets and sinks so you can wash your hands. Paths are paved and laid out well. Laguna Seca, OTOH, is all tents and portajohns and dusty hills to climb. But there, you can find spots to sit where you can see about 2/3 of the track, which gives you a real ability to follow the whole race well. At Indy, there no place where you can see more than 1/4 of the track, so you spend a lot of time watching the Jumbotron. Since the purpose of going is to watch the race rather than go to the bathroom, I’ll take a good view and primitive facilities over a nice place where I can’t really see what’s happening all that well.

Nonetheless, qualifying was very exciting, as the riders leapfrogged each other, and at the end Spies on pole and Hayden on the front row. That was very cool and exciting to watch.

Saturday evening went to the Indianapolis Fairgrounds to watch the Grand National on the mile dirt track. $24 to get in; not too bad. Flat track racing is a whole different game, but is pretty fun also. I went with a friend who knows the sport, and he got us into the infield where we parked right inside Turn 1 and had a good view of the proceedings. There are two Ducatis running in the GN Twins top class right now, ridden by Joe Kopp and Larry Pegram. They didn’t win that night, but did make a good showing. Also, between races, Nicky Hayden got out on one and did a few pretty hot show laps (he was a successful dirt tack racer before he roadraced, and has talked about going back to it after he retires from roadracing).

We were parked behind a mesh fence, and there’s about 15 feet of grass between that and the inner guard rail of the dirt track. VIPs and such get to hang out in that space, and there were quite a few interesting folks watching the races right in front of us, including a bunch of the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team, Vito Ippolito, (who is president of the FIM, who runs MotoGP), and a few ex-racers, such as Randy Mamola, Gary Nixon, and **** Doohan (!).
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Sunday – Race day.

Warmups in the morning, races in the afternoon. The 125GP was a good race, 23 laps well run and well contested. The Moto2 was a mess. 39 bikes is too many; they lost eight immediately in Turn 2, two separate pileups of 4 bikes each. Red flags, clear it all out, reassemble the grid, run a 17-lap race instead of the originally planned 26-lap. Still lose about 1/3 of the bikes to crashes over the course of the race. It was exciting, but they need to do some development, and thin the field a little bit.

MotoGP was good for about 8 laps, then became a parade. Spies did a fine job, though, taking a solid second, and keeping a good lead ahead of both Lorenzo and Rossi on a clear track. I’ll assume that Yamaha gave Spies a factory bike, or damn close, for this race, and he made good use of it. Hayden sixth, behind the factory Yamahas and Hondas, but still a better finish than Stoner, who crashed out again. I’ve heard a few people wonder why Ducati kept Hayden and let Stoner go. I don’t wonder this.

Side note: with all the money involved, and the professional level of all of this, why the hell can’t they find someone who can keep the scoreboard straight? Riders in the wrong order, gap times way off at times, stuff like having the same rider listed in two positions, even having riders from different races on the board at the same time. Pathetic. Especially with all the transponders and GPS and all that, there’s no good excuse for not knowing and being able to display exactly where everyone stands at any given moment. I’ve done timing at amateur racing events before, and I could do better than that, with a freaking stopwatch and whiteboard. Put any competent off-duty air traffic controller up there, and he’ll get it right.
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Monday – A couple of the guys who had also bought the same ticket package, but hadn’t brought their bikes, gave me their passes for the track laps, so I stayed the extra night. Got two laps this morning. These ones were even slower, paced by a pickup, so nobody would crash and take out any of the workers removing camera equipment, etc. But it was cool, because all the racing lines were marked by the tire marks, so I could see and follow the lines that they took and see how they set up for multiple corners.

The back to Cleveland, direct route, so a little under 350 miles straight shot, fueled up from the saddle, didn’t even get off the bike until I got back.

Even with the battery replacement and all my purchases, the whole trip came in at under $700 – well worth it.

PhilB
 

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Hi Phil. I saw you at Indy Ducati on Thursday, and then saw your bike Sunday at the race. Glad you had a good time.

I couldn't believe you had 185k on that thing! That's awesome!

Be safe!
 

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Hi Phil. I saw you at Indy Ducati on Thursday, and then saw your bike Sunday at the race. Glad you had a good time.

I couldn't believe you had 185k on that thing! That's awesome!

Be safe!
They hold up well if you do the maintenance reasonably, and get out and actually ride them. I've got a friend with an '06 Monster 620, and she's already got over 40K on it, and it's working just fine. And I know at least half a dozen other Ducs, mostly Monsters, with over 100K, back home in San Diego.

PhilB
 

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We want some pictures from the GP, I know someone has some! Man, does any other brand allow their owner into the hospitality tent? When i got my 796, I got a bottle of wine, my buddy that was with me(owns other brand) was taken aback!
 

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Indy was a blast as always (been all 3 years so far). Phil, saw you rolling through the island a couple times but never got a chance to meet you........you are difinitely my new hero. Got some pix on my profile.

Laters.
 

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PhilB,

I got some good pictures of you bike. When the guy in my group gets the photos to me I will try to post some pictures on this site.

Timing was strange...for some reason they were giving the change over one lap for the first five or six riders then it would change to total time back. It was very confusing but I guess they had to do something since the race was not very exciting.

I sat in turn one in the Penthouse and I could see all the front and through like turn 4 then a portion of the back straight. I sat for Fridays practice coming on to the front straight and you could see most of the infield on that end but very difficult to see a lot of the track. Not as bad as Road Atlanta though.

My buddies were upset that I could go into the hospitality tent and get stuff when we were over at Ducati Island...I told them it was the best $13k dollar bottle of water I ever had.
 

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some pictures from the GP. Tough race for me...working for Honda and riding a Ducati...hmmm! Watched from up in the 'Gods' on Turn 1 but managed to score a paddock pass. Toured the Repsol Honda garage but no pics, not allowed. All I can say is wow those bikes are nice close up!

As for the logo on the girl's skirt - you know what they say....do as she tells you!
 

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