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MotoGP loaded for a new season

MotoGP loaded for a new season

MotoGP loaded for a new season

A nine-month adventure across fourteen countries and five continents began in earnest this week as the MotoGP World Championship paddock set sail for Africa and the first round of one of the most eagerly-anticipated seasons in the 55-year history of the sport. The championship infrastructure and team materials, including over 150 Grand Prix prototype motorcycles, were packed into boxes and loaded onto three jumbo jets before heading south for Johannesburg in readiness for the Africa's Grand Prix at Welkom on April 18th.

A 225 tonne cargo arrived in Barcelona on board a fleet of trucks which had made their way north through Spain from Jerez, venue of the final official test of the preseason for the 125, 250 and MotoGP teams last week, as well as trucks from 50 other destinations around Europe. As well as the teams' bikes, tools and equipment, the series organisers Dorna Sports packed in over 30 tonnes of logistical and television broadcast material, to add to major packages including over 10 tonnes of tyres from Michelin, Dunlop and Bridgestone as well as the championship's Safety Cars provided by BMW.

The major MotoGP teams alone fill up about 50 metal cases, between eight and ten of which are devoted purely to the engines, totalling approximately 15 tonnes in weight. In contrast, the 125cc teams can fit all of their equipment into just two large boxes, one for the bikes and the other for accessories and tools, which weigh in at just 800 kilograms.

Thankfully, two Boeing 747 aeroplanes boasting 500m³ of cargo volume and a capacity of over 100 tonnes each was enough to deal with the load, which was expertly packed by transportation specialists Tempora, officially responsible for the transportation of MotoGP material. With one of the flights having departed on Wednesday, the second was all set to take off today, with a final cargo due for departure on Saturday from Luxembourg.

Once it touches down on African soil, the cargo will be picked up by another fleet of trucks who will then carry it over the final 270km of the journey to the Phakisa Freeway, host to the opening round of the 2004 MotoGP World Championship.

MotoGP, 2004

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