With the USGP at Laguna Seca three days away, MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Chris Vermeulen appeared at one of San Francisco’s most popular tourist areas, Pier 39, to greet fans and sign autographs. Sitting in front of the Hard Rock Café, the MotoGP duo was joined by several riders from the Red Bull Rookies series, and a bit later by popular American riders Ben and Eric Bostrom, who compete in the AMA Superbike series.
In typically overcast San Francisco weather, the riders drew a fair number of curious tourists who were at first attracted by Rossi and Bostrom Yamahas on display, as well as fans who had clearly come to have helmets and posters signed.
Jorge Lorenzo was recognized as soon as he arrived, and was particularly generous about posing for photos with fans before and after the autograph session. Chris Vermeulen was as friendly as ever with fans, and the Boz Bros., always popular with American fans for their laidback style, held up their reputations as two of the nicest guys in the AMA series.
I spoke to official Laguna Seca photographer Chucke Walkden, (who kindly suggested the perspective of the above photo--thanks for that one, Chucke) and frequent MotoGPod contributor, Jules Cisek, about how good it was to see some MotoGP promotion happening in a venue that would expose the series to potential new fans. As I moved among the crowd, I heard several MotoGP and AMA fans explaining to tourists who the riders were. Dorna already has the hard core, after all, and as it tries to grow the popularity of its product in America by getting race broadcasts on over-the-air networks, events like this are a step in the right direction.