In Sports Marketing

MotoGP paddock passes are the subject of quite a frequent misunderstanding, especially among non MotoGP experts. How can access be gained to the MotoGP paddock? How can MotoGP passes be obtained? Where can a MotoGP pass be purchased? Who should be addressed to have one? How can one be found? These are some of the numerous questions we are asked by fans and lovers of the World Motorcycle Racing Championship who are eager to see their champions from a close distance.

As the MotoGP 2022 season is about to kick off, we feel it appropriate to point out how paddock passes can be used and for which purposes. As this tool is basically conceived for sector operators – not for fans -, it has limitations, rules and prerogatives (read more about our MotoGP Hospitality packages).

What is a MotoGP paddock pass?

First of all, paddock passes are one of many types of passes released by the Organiser of the World Motor Championship (Dorna) in order to give operators, technicians, the media and experts in general access to restricted areas. Pass types include press passes, grid passes, road service passes, etc. Paddock passes – rigid plastic badges, approx. 5.5 by 7.5 cm in size, worn on the neck with the help of a fabric cord – give access to the paddock, which is normally located behind the box area and is provided with gates that are used for entrance and exit. As with all other pass types, paddock passes too can be permanent (i.e. valid throughout the season) or for one single Grand Prix.

 

motogp-pass-paddock(Two examples of paddock passes for the MotoGP 2017 season: a permanent pass on the left and the paddock pass for the Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit on the right. Two ways to access the MotoGP paddock.)

What does the paddock pass do?

This question is the first crucial node of the above-mentioned misunderstanding. Paddock passes, excepting permanent passes, are beneficial work tools to team sponsors. They give their holders the opportunity to stroll in the truck area leaning over the boxes, the hospitality facilities and the service trucks, and to meet (or come across, to be more precise) some of the riders while they are moving from their motor homes to the garages on their scooters. Be, however, prepared to be greatly disappointed, if your expectation from the paddock pass is to access all MotoGP hospitality buildings to sip coffee or to watch the race from a privileged position: the race is not visible at all from the MotoGP paddock (unless you have a dedicated sticker for the Viewing Area stand). Additionally, no access is granted to the team facilities unless you have the necessary identification “tag” on the cord of the pass.

pass-paddock-motogp-tag

(Two examples of tags required for access to the Team hospitality area: the tag for the Honda HRC Team and the LCR Honda Team.)

How to buy a paddock pass and paddock pass cost. Or maybe not.

The second crucial issue to point out relates to where paddock passes are purchased. Let’s now bring this never-ending story to a conclusion: paddock passes are not for sale and they do not have a cost as they are work tools given free of charge to those who need one, i.e. teams, journalists and photographers (who have media passes), operators, agencies, technicians and so on.

There is plenty of self-styled sellers on the Internet pretending they can sell paddock passes for the Grand Prix races of Misano or Mugello at very high costs. The same applies to ever untamed touts outside the gates of the racing circuits who buy and sell paddock passes for sound money. Needless to say, our suggestion is that you keep away from this type of transactions.

Using the paddock pass

One of the existing risks is to purchase passes (through the above-mentioned back doors) that have already been “scanned” and would therefore fail the gate check. All pass holders, of any type whatsoever, are compelled to scan the pass whenever they go in and out of the MotoGP paddock using the supplied scanners that are operated by racing track staff. In doing so, the central system designed to manage accesses “knows” which passes (and individuals) are either in or out of the paddock. Anyone trying to enter the paddock with a pass that is still recorded as “in” in the system would be immediately stopped by security staff and the pass would be cancelled for the entire duration of the Grand Prix.

A honest review of the MotoGP paddock pass. The hottest ticket in town?

Well, here we are then. You’ve been wanting it, you’ve been craving it, you’ve been hunting it, and now you have it. Despite all the forewords and the hype, is a MotoGP Paddock Pass worth it? The answer is, well, “maybe”.

Again there is a lot of misinformation and poor communication about this thing. People think that they will be granted garage and hospitality access, that they will get a chance to talk to their MotoGP heroes and enjoy absolutely spectacular views of the race. Unfortunately, this is far from what happens when you finally wear your plastic badge and step into the paddock.

Views

First and foremost. If you think you can watch the race from a MotoGP paddock and that you’ll get some amazing and first-row views, you’ve got this all wrong. More than that, the paddock could easily be the worst place on earth to witness the on-track action as there are no screens, no dedicated seatings, no exclusive gaps in the fence, no pit lane access. Nothing. You can see precisely bugger all about racing from here. Get yourself a VIP Village pass or a grandstand ticket if you wish to catch a glimpse of the action. Only exception to this is if you have a Viewing Area Paddock Pass, which would be signaled by a black and white “VA” label on the back of your Paddock Pass. With that sticker you will be allowed onto a private grandstand close to the racing track and located outside the paddock.

Our rating – MotoGP Paddock Pass worth it: NO

Atmosphere and glamour

If you’re looking for the glamour, the adrenaline and the excitement, this is the place to be. There can be little doubt that this is where the magic happens. Mechanics running around, riders zooming by on mopeds, celebrities out and about, paddock girls smiling under the umbrellas. The jet set is here, so put you best shirt on and jump right in. Our rating – MotoGP Paddock Pass worth it: YES

Opportunities

Don’t think for a second that having a paddock pass around your neck means you can go anywhere. Hospitality buildings, motorhomes, garages and media centers are and will be -nonetheless- restricted. Access to specific Team Hospitalities is limited to very selected guests and team members, and same goes for garages and motorhomes. So, either you have a team sticker on the back of your pass (meaning you can enter that team’s hospitality) or it’ll be a long holiday in the sun. Or rain, mind you. Our rating – MotoGP Paddock Pass worth it: NO

Meeting the riders

If you wander the paddock for the whole weekend, you’ll eventually catch a glimpse of most -if not all- riders and MotoGP stars. From Valentino Rossi to Marc Marquez, from Dovi to Italian TV legend Guido Meda, it’s super easy to bump into somebody. Like, literally. Taking selfies and having autographs signed, however, is another story. Hardly these lads will have enough time to stop and engage with fans at the circuit during a race weekend. More likely, you’ll spend the whole weekend waiting in front of the Yamaha truck or Repsol Honda hospitality…Our rating – MotoGP Pass paddock worth it: YES

Facilities

Again, the paddock is no theme park. If you lack a Team sticker on your pass you’ll find it very hard to do anything more than walking around. Don’t expect to find bars, restaurants or even shelter if it rains or the sun is scorching. The MotoGP paddock is but a parking lot filled with hi-tech trucks so there’s no actual place to sit, wait or relax. Our rating – MotoGP Pass Paddock worth it: NO

Conclusion

Most MotoGP fans think of a Paddock Pass as the holy grail of two-wheel-motorsport. And while there is no doubt the paddock is definitely worth a visit, it is far from being the perfect place to be for a fan. Per se, a paddock pass provides nothing but to enter a restricted area where views are scarce, riders fly by without stopping and even getting a bottle of water can become an issue. Forget about making it to the garages or the Pit Lane: after all, the paddock is a place of work for mechanics, technicians, engineers, managers and staff.

Sure: walking the paddock is a great way to understand this sport, to witness the behind-the-scenes action and to spot some riders and celebrities. But this is it: you’ll hardly want to be in the thing for more than 2 hours. If you’re looking for the perfect MotoGP weekend and want to treat yourself, take a look at the MotoGP VIP Village. You’ll walk the paddock and the Pit Lane, watch the race from strategic venues and enjoy special services and treatment.

For any Vip Village related needs you can contact us at info@rtrsports.com

 

Emanuele Venturoli
Communication Manager for RTR Sports Marketing. A degree in Communication at the University of Bologna and a passion for sport brought me where I'm today.
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