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Waiting for the green light

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Jennie Gow | 17:23 UK time, Friday, 9 April 2010

There are times in life when you have to pinch yourself to make sure you're not dreaming. Had it not been for my ridiculous sunburn, I really would have been pinching myself quite hard as I stood by the side of the Losail International Circuit, with the legendary and nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi stood just a metre away.

This is my new life. A dream life of flying around the world, meeting the most amazing people and presenting a sport I love.

I'm sure there will be days when I'm stuck in passport control at 3am, stranded in airports with no way home and when lunch is about as appealing as a three-day-old prawn sandwich in the press office at a football ground. But for the chance to go behind the scenes of the best sport in the world, it's a price I'm willing to pay.

MotoGP riders line up for the cameras in QatarWhich one of these guys will be champion at the end of the season? Credit: AP

There is so much to look forward to this season and so many new experiences to take in. It felt a little like my first day at school as I drove up to the circuit for this weekend's season-opening race in Qatar.

It's a pretty strange place for a start. Imagine a dual carriageway in the middle of the desert. You're driving along for about 20 minutes with nothing but sand as far as the eye can see. Then, like a mirage in the night, a sea of lights appear on the horizon. Only it's not a mirage, it's more than 3,000 lights shining down on the track.

If you've ever been to a MotoGP race you might expect to see some hotels nearby, maybe a train station, and maybe, if you're really lucky, a couple of nice bars and restaurants. Not here. There is quite literally a race track in the middle of the desert and nothing else.

The paddock at MotoGP can be a pretty intimidating place, so I've been led to believe. Everyone knows pretty much everyone else, so turning up for the first time is a little like going with your other half to their school reunion.

Matt Roberts, pit-lane reporter and MotoGP guru, knows everyone. As he introduced me to lots of people, I felt like my brain was going to explode with names of team bosses, chief mechanics and press officers.

Of course, there are some people who need no introduction. The riders.

There are six rookies this year, so I'm not the only new face in the paddock, which is actually very comforting. But standing and chatting with Ben Spies, Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner was very surreal.

So what am I looking forward to most this season? Well, at the moment I just want the racing to start. Seeing Stoner and Rossi full throttle is going to be brilliant. To be in the pit lane as the action happens is just an awesome prospect. And to be able to track down all the gossip and goings-on during a MotoGP weekend - well, I just can't wait.

So let's all hope for a thrilling season, with lots of twists and turns. It could be the best ever - and the BBC team of myself, Matt, Steve Parrish and Charlie Cox will be there every step of the way.


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