In at the deep end with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
We welcomed a new recruit to Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS at the British Grand Prix, with Cathryn Greenwood joining us to gain experience of life at the sharp end as a press officer in the MotoGP World Championship.
She was truly in at the deep end, but Cathryn did a great job for us. Here's the story of her Silverstone weekend in her own words…
I was lucky enough to be the Trainee Moto2 Press Officer with the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. It was the best experience of my whole life, so far, totally worth getting up at 5am for!
On the Friday morning of the Grand Prix weekend I met with the team's Marketing and Communications Manager, Ian Wheeler. He went over everything I would be doing over the weekend, which was crazy. I was beyond excited.
When I arrived in the MotoGP garage, I couldn’t believe how privileged I felt to see the bikes and riders right there at arm’s length, it was surreal.
Ian introduced me to Michael Bartholemy, the Team Principal and Stefan Prein, the team rider coach (and winner of the 1990 Yugoslavian 125GP). I was actually meeting people I’ve only ever seen on TV, but they were both so welcoming!
When I got to the Moto2 garage, I was instantly star struck to meet Julià Márquez, who turned out to be the sweetest man ever. He gave me a hug and a heart shaped ‘post it’ note, which he even signed for me on Saturday!
As rain hindered both Moto2 sessions on Friday, it was intriguing to see how the riders and their teams decided on set ups and tyre choices. Franco Morbidelli tried wet tyres in FP1, but had a small crash, whereas Álex Márquez and his team decided they didn’t feel there was enough moisture on track to try wet tyres. At the end of the opening day Márquez was 4th, while Morbidelli finished in 7th.
Never in my life have I ever been lost for words, but when I was sitting in front of the riders, trying to find the right questions to ask in order to get their press quotes, it was a whole different story. It’s very easy when you’re sat at home to tell yourself “they’re just normal people”, and they are, but they have a very important and dangerous job to do. However, despite being the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life, both riders (and Ian) were very patient with me, and appropriate quotes were obtained.
The highlight of my Friday would definitely be attending the Q&A on the main stage with Tito Rabat and Jack Miller. I arrived at the British GP not knowing a great deal about Tito, but after spending a little bit of time with him on Friday, I found him to be charming and funny.
On Saturday, the vibe was more serious than it had been on Friday, obviously with it being qualifying day. During FP3, I was able to listen to the discussions between Morbidelli and his crew. This was interesting to hear and then to be able to watch how the changes they made affected the bike on the next run.
Over the weekend, my Daddy was also at the track so I spent some time on Saturday in the Abbey stand where I watched the Moto3 QP and MotoGP Q1. It was easy to see the track conditions becoming more slippery as the sessions went on. As qualifying for Moto2 was wet, Morbidelli had already some confidence with the wet tyres, whereas Márquez had yet to try the wets. This didn’t hinder either rider as they rode through difficult conditions to secure 4th (Márquez) & 6th (Morbidelli) on the grid. The quotes were a little easier to get on Saturday, having two happy riders, despite Márquez having a small crash at the end of QP.
As I have already mentioned my Daddy was with me for the weekend’s racing and of course this meant staying for the evening entertainment, which on Saturday night was Rick Astley. This turned out to be another highlight of my Saturday – I mean what could possibly top witnessing Rick Astley singing ACDC’s Highway To Hell?!
Sunday was slightly more stressful as this was race day.
I had been basing all my timings on a little timetable that had come with my Daddy’s tickets all weekend, however, as I sat in hospitality I happened to glance up and see that Moto2 was about to start, and panicked. When I arrived at the garage, in a bit of a flap, Marina Rossi, the Team Coordinator, took me out onto pit wall to watch the Warm Up, which was unbelievable. To see the bikes hurtling past and to see how the pit boards are done was exciting.
After the WUP for both Moto2 and MotoGP, I had the opportunity to speak to Christian Haag, who looks after events, and (attempt to) round up the riders for a meet and greet/autograph session. It was intriguing to hear Christian’s perspective of his job, as he works with the team sponsors. It was encouraging to see how the riders were so willing to meet everyone and were so kind to each person.
For the Moto2 race, it genuinely felt like the quickest race I’ve watched, although when I said this to Pete Benson, he said it felt like 105 laps to him! After seeing Morbidelli on the podium, I managed to catch Márquez just in time to get his quote, and even though he’d had a disappointing day, he was still positive, polite and took full responsibility for his DNF, which showed again what an amazing lad he is.
The MotoGP race was a little crazy, with the restart and all the uncertainty of the timescale for the pit lane to reopen. It was so interesting for me to be able to see how the team prepare for the quick restart process. It was honestly like watching a military operation, everything was so calm, calculated, and ran just like a well-oiled machine.
After the race I was told that it was my job to get Jack Miller’s quote from him. Being his biggest fan, this was truly terrifying. Whilst waiting for Jack to finish with his mechanics I ended up speaking to the nicest girl ever. She was a big Jack fan also, and I’m so glad we met because although she took great pleasure in winding me up, she also reassured me that it would be okay. Sitting down and hearing Jack explain his race was definitely the highlight of my Sunday. Just to listen to his explanation about the tyres and his injuries was very fascinating, and of course he is optimistic for Misano this weekend.
My weekend with Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS was truly one I will never forget. I cannot thank Ian Wheeler and the team enough for the opportunity and all the encouragement they gave me. Of course when you have four amazing riders to work with, who are all more than willing to help, your job is a little easier.
I would really like to see this team again and maybe on a more regular basis in the future!
Thank you all for making my weekend so enjoyable.