Is a MotoGP Paddock Pass worth it? We review the hottest ticket in town
You’ve been wanting it, you’ve been craving it, you’ve been hunting it, and now you have it; but is a MotoGP Paddock Pass worth it? The answer is, well, “maybe”. Time to shed some light on the racing world’s most discussed and most misunderstood object. And about time to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on MotoGP’s most elite ticket.
Truth is there is a lot of misinformation and poor communication about the Paddock Pass. People think that they will be granted garage and hospitality access, that they will get a chance to talk to their MotoGP heroes and enjoy absolutely spectacular views of the race. Unfortunately, this is far from what happens when you finally wear your plastic badge and step into the paddock.
First and foremost. If you think you can watch the race from a MotoGP paddock and that you’ll get some amazing and first-row views, you’ve got this all wrong. More than that, the paddock could easily be the worst place on earth to witness the on-track action as there are no screens, no dedicated seatings, no exclusive gaps in the fence, no pit lane access. Nothing. You can see precisely bugger all about racing from here. Get yourself a VIP Village pass or a grandstand ticket if you wish to catch a glimpse of the action.
Only exception to this is if you have a Viewing Area Paddock Pass, which would be signaled by a black and white “VA” label on the back of your Paddock Pass. With that sticker you will be allowed onto a private grandstand close to the racing track and located outside the paddock.
Our rating – MotoGP Paddock Pass worth it: NO
Atmosphere and glamour
If you’re looking for the glamour, the adrenaline and the excitement, this is the place to be. There can be little doubt that this is where the magic happens. Mechanics running around, riders zooming by on mopeds, celebrities out and about, paddock girls smiling under the umbrellas. The jet set is here, so put you best shirt on and jump right in. Our rating – MotoGP Paddock Pass worth it: YES
Don’t think for a second that having a paddock pass around your neck means you can go anywhere. Hospitality buildings, motorhomes, garages and media centers are and will be -nonetheless- restricted. Access to specific Team Hospitalities is limited to very selected guests and team members, and same goes for garages and motorhomes. So, either you have a team sticker on the back of your pass (meaning you can enter that team’s hospitality) or it’ll be a long holiday in the sun. Or rain, mind you. Our rating – MotoGP Paddock Pass worth it: NO
Meeting the riders
If you wander the paddock for the whole weekend, you’ll eventually catch a glimpse of most -if not all- riders and MotoGP stars. From Valentino Rossi to Marc Marquez, from Dovi to Italian TV legend Guido Meda, it’s super easy to bump into somebody. Like, literally. Taking selfies and having autographs signed, however, is another story. Hardly these lads will have enough time to stop and engage with fans at the circuit during a race weekend. More likely, you’ll spend the whole weekend waiting in front of the Yamaha truck or Repsol Honda hospitality…Our rating – MotoGP Pass paddock worth it: YES
Again, the paddock is no theme park. If you lack a Team sticker on your pass you’ll find it very hard to do anything more than walking around. Don’t expect to find bars, restaurants or even shelter if it rains or the sun is scorching. The MotoGP paddock is but a parking lot filled with hi-tech trucks so there’s no actual place to sit, wait or relax. Our rating – MotoGP Pass Paddock worth it: NO
Most MotoGP fans think of a Paddock Pass as the holy grail of two-wheel-motorsport. And while there is no doubt the paddock is definitely worth a visit, it is far from being the perfect place to be for a fan. Per se, a paddock pass provides nothing but to enter a restricted area where views are scarce, riders fly by without stopping and even getting a bottle of water can become an issue. Forget about making it to the garages or the Pit Lane: after all, the paddock is a place of work for mechanics, technicians, engineers, managers and staff.
Sure: walking the paddock is a great way to understand this sport, to witness the behind-the-scenes action and to spot some riders and celebrities. But this is it: you’ll hardly want to be in the thing for more than 2 hours. If you’re looking for the perfect MotoGP weekend and want to treat yourself, take a look at the MotoGP VIP Village. You’ll walk the paddock and the Pit Lane, watch the race from strategic venues and enjoy special services and treatment.
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