http://www.cyclenews.com/ShowStory.asp?HeadlineID=6834Michael Jordan electrified the MotoGP world in a way never before seen by piloting the Ducati Desmosedici two-seater for four laps around Valencia's Ricardo Tormo Circuit with an elite escort.
Telefonica MoviStar Honda’s Colin Edwards and Sete Gibernau, joined by the Roberts brothers, Kurtis on the Proton KR and Kenny Jr. on a Suzuki GSX-R1000, escorted the six-time NBA champion around the circuit to the delight of fans, teams, and media. Jordan had been approached to ride on the back of the two-seater with Randy Mamola, but a previous experience doing the same with Jason Pridmore convinced him he wanted to be at the controls himself.
“It was Sete who talked me into it,” Jordan said with a wide grin after his four laps. “That was fun, but I only got it up to fourth gear. I can’t imagine what these things are like wide open in sixth. The straightaways were no problem, but I was trying to find the markers for the corners, then I had these other guys riding alongside tapping me on the leg. These things have so much power, I was trying to pull a wheelie, but in the end I was a bit too afraid, so I just started waving. I guess you could say I need a bit more time to get used to all that power.”
Both Kenny Jr. and Edwards were impressed with his riding, especially how deep he got into turn one at the end of the long front straight.
“We were just out there cruising, we were just playing around,” Edwards said. “We thought f*&%ing hell, he was in there pretty deep.”
Roberts Jr., who was riding a Suzuki GSX-R1000 for the first time, said, “He rode really well. He used all the right lines and everything. He’s obviously had some schooling.”
The plan was to do two laps, then three, and Jordan wanted a fourth.
“They were going to come in a lap before,” Edwards said, “and Kenny turned around to him and he was like ‘One more, one more.’”
The GP is the first for Jordan who arrived on Thursday in his private plane. Along for the ride were, among others, Jason Pridmore, Richie Alexander, Charles Oakley, Montez Stewart, and Ahmad Rashad. Thursday was spent relaxing and on Friday Jordan, Pridmore, and Rashad played golf at a nearby course with Spaniard Seve Ballasteros.
“It was like being at a PGA tour event for me, because I had so many people clicking cameras and I was so nervous I thought might not be able to pull it back,” Pridmore said.
With all the suites at the track booked, a garage was converted where Jordan and his team could relax. A steady stream of riders paid a visit, with all the Haydens stopping by as well as Max Biaggi. Jordan also met Marlboro Ducati riders Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss, as well as Randy Mamola. Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi took Jordan for a lap of the circuit in a BMW M-5. After a tire-scorching, sideways drifting slide out of the final corner, Jordan said one lap was enough.
“That was cool,” Edwards said. “That’s awesome for Ducati just to let him ride the two-seater.”