The MotoGP World Championship had a lot of compelling storylines going into the 2011 season. Valentino Rossi joining Ducati for an Italian match made in heaven. Jorge Lorenzo defending his title and escaping from Rossi’s shadow. Casey Stoner dominating the pre-season tests after rejoining Honda. The final year for the 800cc machines before the switch […]
Hot Lap Around Spa-Francorchamps With Xavier Simeon
If you’re a fan of motorsport on both two and four wheels like me, then you should be familiar with the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Here, Belgian native Xavier Simeon, the 2009 FIM Superstock 1000 champion and current Moto2 competitor, does a couple flying laps around his home track aboard a Honda CBR600RR at what appears to be a trackday. The speed he carries and the smoothness of his riding are simply extraordinary.
Long a staple of the Formula 1 calendar, the circuit has been a part of MotoGP (then known as 500cc) off and on since its inception in 1949. Its high-speeds, flowing corners and elevation changes are what endear this track to racers and enthusiasts the world over. Turns like Eau Rouge and Blanchimont are embedded in racing folklore as turns that separate the men from the boys.
Of course, combine these high speeds with little run-off and the close proximity of the barriers, and it’s easy to see why Formula 1 boycotted the track for 13 years between 1969 and 1982. Spa held its final grand prix motorycle race in 1990, won by Wayne Rainey. The track has continually made changes to improve safety, but still today the track is simply too dangerous to conduct a world-class caliber motorcycle race. Which makes Simeon’s commitment during these laps — with armco barriers only a few feet away at times — all the more spectacular.
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