Moto Media

from ... Mark Fleming

Photo and copy courtesy of Team Suzuki Press Office.

"We've just arrived in the paddock at Aragon in Spain and parked the trucks up for this weekend's Grand Prix. It's great to come to new circuits because it presents a whole new challenge to find out where it is and the easiest way to get a 16.5m long vehicle weighing 34,000kgs to somewhere where we've never seen.

I've been driving to Grands Prix circuits for the last 18 seasons, making some of the journeys second nature, so when we get the chance to go somewhere new it's something you really look forward to.

We had to get a ferry from Plymouth to Santander to make the journey in-land to Aragon - there was excitement there as before we'd even left the Spanish docks another driver had managed to put his truck on its side!

The DAF trucks we use have 460hp on-tap and although that's over double the power of the Suzuki GSV-R that Alvaro uses, we can't match the speed of the bikes so it takes a while to get to some of the places; sometimes we can be travelling for up to five days if we do a trip like Brno in the Czech Republic down to Estoril in Portugal. It's a lot easier now with the borders all being open, but only a few years ago you could also have to wait a day at a crossing to just get your papers stamped.

The journey down to Aragon was pretty good and the scenery through the mountains and the desert expanse was quite amazing - although I was expecting to see Clint Eastwood come riding towards me at any time! Some of the long climbs uphill made the truck work at its maximum and I had to get the full use of the 16 gears that my unit has to keep going. We got here ok though and without a single wrong turning - so that was a result.

We've now set the trucks up for the weekend and now it's down to Alvaro to go out and do his thing before we need to pack them all up again and head off to Portugal on Monday. We have to leave them there ready for the race when we return to Europe after the upcoming far-east trip. We don't take the trucks with us to fly-away races and all the bikes and parts are shipped by air-freight. I feel very privileged to drive a Rizla Suzuki truck, so next time you see one on the road, spare a thought for where it's been or where it's going: It certainly has a tough life, it's not all the glamour of Grand Prix and looking good in the paddock - although there is a bit of that!"