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Quartet of riders visit elephant sanctuary

Quartet of riders visit elephant sanctuary

Loris Capirossi, Hiroshi Aoyama, Héctor Barberá and Nico Terol visited the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary in Malaysia.

In the build-up to the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Wednesday a quartet of World Championship representatives, Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki), Hiroshi Aoyama (Scot Racing), Héctor Barberá (Pepe World Team) and Nico Terol (Jack & Jones Team), took some time out to pay a visit to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary.

After setting off from the Sepang circuit in the morning the riders arrived at the Bukit Rengit Biodiversity Institute by midday and after lunch there they traveled a further short distance to the Kuala Gandah sanctuary, where they were welcomed by the centre’s dedicated staff.

The riders helped to feed the elephants, were treated to rides by the elephants themselves and then had the chance to further interact with the native Malaysian animals as they bathed – though only Terol was brave enough to join the animals in the water.

On the experience of riding one of the elephants and how it compares to riding a Grand Prix prototype, Terol stated, “Well obviously you are so much higher up and things are a lot calmer, but you know if there is a crash there is a much bigger distance to fall!”

Capirossi gave his views on the excursion, saying, “It was just amazing, it was a really nice feeling and when you see a place like this you realise how important it is that they are trying to save this beautiful animal. Riding the elephant was a bit like riding my Suzuki as they are both quite crazy! Being on top of the elephant is incredible, they are so powerful and strong and you feel how much bigger they are than us!”

Barberá was also an enthusiastic visitor to the sanctuary, adding, “It is the first time I have been so close to an elephant and I really loved it. It was a nice experience for us, in fact elephants are my favourite animals and I even have an elephant tattoo!”

MotoGP, 2009, SHELL ADVANCE MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX, Hector Barbera, Loris Capirossi, Hiroshi Aoyama, Nicolas Terol

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