Behind-the-Camera of Photojournalist Nic Coury in Monterey County, California.

March 1, 2010

From the Archive: Why I Love to Shoot Motorcycle Racing.

Valentin Rossi, "The Doctor", takes turn 5 at Laguna Seca during qualifying for the 2009 U.S. Moto GP.

I really don't like sports. Never have. I never played football or anything in college and can't stand watching most sports on TV, but I absolutely, 100% LOVE photographing and watching motorcycle road racing, namely the MotoGP.

There is something about the long walks around the track, the warm weather and the constant smell of diesel and gas for that entire weekend at Laguna Seca that is amazing.

Watching (and photographing) "The Doctor"—Valentino Rossi—take corners is mind-blowing. He is easily one of the greatest riders in the history of the sport and arguably the best corner rider. Watching these guys gracefully soar around sharp turns at speeds around 100mph is a fascinating spectacle of athleticism.

Dani Pedros leads riders down the infamous corkscrew during the first laps of the 2009 U.S. Moto GP.

Laguna Seca also has some great landscapes and one of hardest tracks in the GP circuit, including the "corkscrew," which is considered one of the hardest track sections in the world due to the drop in elevation as well as its blind crest and apex on the uphill approach.

The track offers some of the best access for photogs to get close to the action. There are sections where I can literally be only about six feet from the riders as they are zipping by at super fast speeds. It's very exhilarating and one of my favorite feelings in the world to be that close to someone on a bike, taking these incredible movements.

Jorge Lorenzo whips around turn 2—the Andretti hairpin—during practice in 2009.

Valentino Rossi leads Casey Stoner (center) and Jorge Lorenzo down from Rainey Curve during the 2009 U.S. Moto GP.

Dani Pedrosa races down from the corkscrew into Rainey Curve during practice runs in 2009.

The intense level of athleticism these guys are is very hardcore. Considering Jorge Lorenzo took two hard falls during qualifying last year, in the same run, and he had to be taken off the track on a stretcher with dislocated shoulder. At the following press conference, which he attended with assistance and announced he wasn't sure if he was going to race on Sunday, he ends up coming in 3rd place. It's a wild treatment these guys put themselves through to win.

Valentino Rossi during a practice run, with Jorge Lorenzo riding into turn 4.

Valentino Rossi approaches the finish line during practice runs in 2009.

Racers come out of Rainey Curve—turn 9.

Jorge Lorenzo passes fans crowded around turn 2—the Andretti Hairpin.

Jorge Lorenzo peaks behind the turn 4 fence during qualifying.

Road Racer X and Motorcycle Racer's current issues, which include best photos of the year and decade.

~ nic

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