Whenever groups of people band together, they inevitably start to take on each others habits, mannerisms and perhaps most especially, appearance. The MotoGP paddock is no different, and the dress adopted by its members means they all bear a remarkable resemblance to one another. The fact that many of the people in the paddock are restricted to wearing team uniforms merely underlines the uniformity. So here's your guide to the latest in MotoGP paddock chic:
Your model for today is Tom Tremayne, Bridgestone's extremely helpful and knowledgeable press officer. Let's walk through the key items of Tom's dress:
- Starting with the shirt. The paddock favors short sleeved shirts, though they are divided on the question of buttons. Short sleeves make sense, given that MotoGP is essentially a summer sport, and long sleeves are just too warm. As for the buttons, maybe a quarter favor the buttoned shirt, another quarter prefer the polo shirt, while half go for an upmarket version of a t-shirt. Compared with last year, there has been a move away from button shirts towards t-shirts, but that will likely change once again once the new team uniforms arrive.
- Next up, the shorts. Here again, opinion is divided, with some team members preferring shorts, while others go for capri pants. The heat, once again, is the main driver here, though a few team members - most of all the team managers - go for long pants.
- Not visible in the photo are the trainers - almost universal in the paddock, offering both comfort and practicality. Some teams - such as Marlboro Ducati - even provide footwear for team members, some rather stylish red (obviously) Puma sneakers.
So far, so good, but this kind of uniform is common elsewhere, with nothing to mark Tom out as working in MotoGP. Two key items, however, are the sure sign of a belonging to MotoGP's inner circle, and no paddock member is complete without them:
- Around Tom's neck is his permanent pass, all of which are color-coded for the access they allow. You cannot see the pass, because Tom is demonstrating the reason why button shirts still find so much favor in the paddock: the top pocket. Walking around all day with a pass around your neck becomes tiresome, and you are forever banging it against desks and getting it caught up with phones, leads and any number of other items which you need to use to do your job. And so where possible, passes are deposited in the top pocket, offering the wearer greater freedom of movement. Paddock security - present in force - does not need to see permanent passes, as they can tell what access you have by the color coding of the strap around the neck of the wearer.
- Finally, and absolutely most importantly, is the object in Tom's left hand: His mobile phone. At any given time, about 20 percent of the paddock have a cellphone pressed to their ear, while another 40 percent are merely carrying it around, after either having just hung up, or expecting to receive a call at any moment. Despite the fact that a large proportion of the calls being made are to other people elsewhere in the paddock, the phone is still the favorite means of communication. If cellphone use really is dangerous, then close monitoring of members of the paddock should soon turn up the truth.
Should you ever be invited to a fancy dress party, and be caught short of inspiration, then here's an alternative you can attempt, at limited cost. Just make sure you have the badge and the phone, and you could blend in with the natives.
Our special thanks go to Tom Tremayne, who was not only good enough to answer my questions about Bridgestone's tires (the rears are only slightly different from last year, while the fronts are identical, and the riders like the changes to the rear), but also game enough to pose for me. Tom Tremayne, we salute you!