The 990cc era brought big, belligerent beasts and plenty of noise to MotoGP in the Noughties. Manufacturers were still experimenting with engine configurations, chassis set-ups and aero, and rules were far less restrictive than the current directory, which meant a veritable feast of intriguing variations – there was a genuine prototype element compared to today’s sanitised state.
While these four-bangers are the epitome of motorised porn, the golden era of 500s bring more nostalgia, but there’s an intangible connection with those cantankerous steeds ridden by our heroes growing up. We could sit around for days just staring at prototype components, factory trinkets and competition-based foibles.
Rarely does one get a phone call from the owner of an ex-factory GP bike, asking whether we’d like to come and peruse its sexiness. So it’s a virtual impossibility that an owner of Casey Stoner’s Desmosedici GP8, Kevin Schwantz’s 1995 RGV500, Carlos Checa’s GP5 and Troy Bayliss’s GP3, plus a title-winning factory SBK, should get in touch and invite us into his dream garage. But he did, and Patrick even let us start them…
Sit back, grab a cuppa (and some tissues), and enjoy 27 minutes of the motorcycling equivalent of Rachel Riley. Or, given the era, Carol Vorderman.