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Shots of Sunday's last race at MotoGP Catalunya
NEWS

TWO WHEELS GOOD

Jun 212018

It’s precisely 4,203 miles from the exit of Michigan International Speedway in pastoral Brooklyn, Michigan to the entrance of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain and that’s the trek Kurt Busch made when, after qualifying on pole placing a solid third to teammates Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick at the FireKeepers Casino 400, he climbed aboard a plane and did the jet-set deal to Spain to not only scope out the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, but to climb onto the back of the Ducati Two-Seater Desmosedici MotoGP bike with certified MotoGP Legend Randy Mamola. Yeah, climbing into the jaws of a 3,500-pount Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race car and being strapped into a six point harness and protected by a roll bar, custom made seat and window nets and going 200 miles per hour with inches of concrete retaining walls and 39 other frenzied American muscle cars is one thing, but hopping aboard a what is basically 1000cc-motoivated, 250 horsepower, 346-pound Ducati race bike and going 218 miles an hour with nothing more than the balls of your feet and your two hands keeping you affixed to the projectile is a different kind of fear and bravado. How was it for the former NASCAR Cup champion and current front runner in the MENCS who will line up for the Sonoma, California road course race this Sunday? We’ll let him tell you.

 

Took a sweet little ride today at @motogp #CatalanGP #mamola

A post shared by Kurt Busch (@kurtbusch) on

Q&A

Kurt, word has it you climbed on back of the Ducati Two-Seater Desmosedici MotoGP back at last weekend’s Catalunya MotoGP World Championship race. What in the hell was that like for you?

Laughter. It was INSANE. Oh my goodness.

Did someone have to talk you into getting on the bike with Randy Mamola?

Oh no. No, they didn’t have to talk me into it. I’m not sure where the surprise came from, but let’s just say the Monster family helped hook it up.

What were you thinking right before you got on the bike for your hot lap?

My first thoughts were, I’ve never been over one-hundred miles per hour on a bike and I’m about ready to go 200 on a bike, so you may as well skip any of the astronaut training and just go straight to the moon.

And the joy ride itself?

It was insane to feel the acceleration and the deceleration. The deceleration was the biggest surprise of all and how to hang onto the bike under deceleration and to keep my balance straight forward. Trusting Randy to go around the track was no problem. The braking was incredible and so was the speed we carried through the corners. I stayed very nervous and straight and upright the first few corners and then I lost track of which corner we were in. I didn’t like that feeling whatsoever – of losing track of what corner I was in. But then I had to get rid of that feeling and tell myself, This is only one lap and you’ve got to enjoy this and you’ve got sort this through. When I started to just think about where I was on track, that helped me start to ease up and I wasn’t as tense and then I really started to lean in with Randy through the corners and at that time was when I picked up where I was on-track. Wow, what a magnificent ride. I’ve never had my helmet that close to the candy stripes.

Yeah, when I rode on the back with Randy at Valencia back in 2002, I thought my shoulders were going to auger into the curbing around the circuit. I mean I felt like I was in a washing machine.

I loved it. I loved having the tires over to my left and to my right and my head was hanging over the curbing and hanging over the edge into the grass. I was like, This is what it’s about; now I’m feeling it; now I have a cornering experience. From there I started leaning as far as I could to get over the bike and I think that gave Randy a greater sense of my comfort level. By the end of that first lap, coming down the front straightaway and getting on the brakes to conclude the Ducati Two-Seater experience, the deceleration made me feel like I was doing pushups with four people on top of my legs. That’s where you really have to have that upper body strength and that core strength. You have to have everything when you’re in that seat because you don’t have a roll cage, you don’t have anything to relax with and you really have to be one with the bike. It all really blew me away. I didn’t know what to expect just because of my limited time on two wheels. It was all, absolutely, one of the most insane motorsports experiences that one that one could go and fine. Afterwards, I told Randy, “Dude, if you would have grabbed any extra of that brake level, I was going over your shoulders, man! Every bit of my energy was in my hands grasped to the handles on your gas tank.” Randy said to me, “You did good, man, but you were right on edge.’ Then I said, ‘Well, you put me on edge! It was your fault!” Randy said, “Well, I couldn’t back up, I was going to take you on the best ride possible!” It was all a feeling of newness and an experience that I hadn’t had in a longtime in motorsport. I didn’t know what I was getting into, I just wanted to go fast. It was awesome.

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