The logistics to put together each Grand Prix World Championship is an aspect that, over the years, has changed a lot. In the beginning of this championship, it wasn't so demanding. To get to the circuit, it was enough with a van that transported the bike, some basic tools, spare parts, and two or three people, including the rider who often played the role of mechanic. To top it all off, we had a tent, some sandwiches, and something to drink.
With time, the arrival of sponsors caused a substantial increase in materials we had to transport. It wasn't just one bike, but two, one for each rider, and we started bringing it by lorry. The material and the human team began to be more and more specialized.
Today, a MotoGP team with its lorries, bikes, litres of fuel and oil, tires, food and drink, signs, along with the tens, dozens, and hundreds of needs is all definitely a mere logistical nightmare. At least it would be for almost anybody. However, there's no secrets for Roger Van Der Borght, who since 1991, has been making every element go where it needs at the correct moment.
Six trailers for each GP
The Repsol Honda Team travels to the European circuits in six trailers; concretely two for the MotoGP riders, two for the HRC members, and another two for the Hospitality cabin. This last one is the space where the riders can be with the people the trust, to eat, and to address the press.
Of course, when the races are held outside of Europe things change for Roger. The revision processes multiply and everything must be carefully placed in boxes to be transported by air. In total, some 50 containers with a weight greater than 20 tons!
All this material must arrive to the circuit at least by the Wednesday before the start of the GP. This is in order to be able to begin the setting up with enough time and for everything to be perfectly prepared for the first practice sessions.
Even though Roger and the rest of the team are veterans and experts in these tasks, the must often face unexpected events. Customs are a constant headache, and sometimes the worst happens: a truck doesn't arrive on time to the destination where the race is going to be held.
Furthermore, some of the more delicate material we prefer to transport by ship, which requires even more time. This is the case, for example, for an element as crucial for the team as the Repsol fuel.
And, this is only the material. There's another aspect that's equally challenging: the human factor. When all the team members arrive in the country they must have everything organized including the trip of course, but also lodging and vehicles to get around. We're talking about 50 people on average even though, depending on the GP, can be up to 70 between mechanics, telemetry engineers, the communication department, and the rest of the Hospitality cabin staff.
The team's logistics in figures
• In addition to the four bikes, a replacement part set is brought to each GP. With all of them, it's even possible to rebuild the entire bike at least once.
• Just for the European tour, the lorries travel over 30,000 km per year.
• By general rule, the transport and booking plans are done four GPs in advance, and at times even with six months in advance for some specific races.
• Approximately between 350 and 450 litres of fuel are needed for each Grand Prix. These are sent to the circuits directly from the Repsol Technology Lab.