In a new installment, I’ll be talking with friends and colleagues from the racing paddocks to hear different opinions from their various locations around the world. We start off with a simple look back on the 2019 season: what was your highlight?
This year was a dramatic one in both MotoGP and World Superbikes for a variety of reasons, whether it was first-time winners or retirements. The task was to sum it all up in no more than 100 words; journalists tend to be a wordy lot and some had to be cut down more than others! l I wouldn’t usually start with myself, but as it’s the first one I’ll get the ball rolling…
A view from Barcelona
– Greg Haines, British Eurosport TV commentator
– Twitter: @GregHainesTV
World Superbikes from Magny-Cours, Race 1. A commentator’s dream! One of those occasions on which I didn’t have to dig deep into notes and James Whitham didn’t have to go into heavy technical explanations. It was ‘say what you see’ with non-stop action: a damp track, overtakes, crashes, a maiden winner (from the back of the grid) and general chaos without anybody getting hurt. It’s actually good not all races are like that otherwise they’d be less special when they do happen. The fact it was the 800th race capped it off. Pure drama!
A view from Italy
– Serena Zunino, Journalist for InSella & Motosprint
– Twitter: @streghetta52
2019 was very emotional both in World Superbike and MotoGP. In the former it looked like a dream come true for Alvaro Bautista and Ducati, right until the Misano round when everything went wrong. All credit to Jonathan Rea: 5 times a World Champion, it’s no coincidence. Chapeau! For me, 2019 will forever be the year of Jorge Lorenzo: a very demanding and also terrifying season for him in which, in that internal battle between the guy and the rider, in the end, the human aspect came out on top. Gracias campeòn, ¡por todo!
A view from Paris
– Remi Guyot, Eurosport France TV commentator
– Twitter: @rguyot94
My highlight of 2019 is Rea’s fifth title in WorldSBK. In my opinion, it was his most beautiful one. Bautista won 11 races in a row but Rea never gave up and never crashed despite many doubts. He demonstrated he was a real champion and that his bike was not the only reason for his consistent domination. Razgatlioglu also surprised me, above all in the Misano races when for the first time he fought hard with Johnny Rea. Yamaha will have a top gun in 2020, who will show the full potential of the bike.
A view from London
– Michael Hill, WorldSBK Paddock Show Co-Ordinator & Host
– Twitter: @mhillofficial
A simple joke began in Australia: various riders unleashed the contents of their Prosecco bottles over me. It escalated when Ana Carrasco emptied a bucket of ice-cold water…revenge will be sweet! Another highlight is the Charity Concert at Donington; this year was particularly special because we raised the most money we ever have. A third memorable moment happened in Argentina. I’d always thought Leandro Mercado and I were friends but I made the mistake of handing over a Prosecco bottle. He fired the cork into my face from less than a metre away.
Editor’s note: Don’t try this at home, but I find the aforementioned Michael Hill/Leandro Mercado cork incident particularly amusing