The bravest ride: on the back of a MotoGP rider

MotoGP two-seat Ducati Punching through a crocodile? Pull the tiger by the tail? Getting on Ducati road bikes? What is the most intense sensation?

Randy Mamola has competed in over 150 motorcycle Grand Prix and has held his head high among the sport's greats in his heady 500cc engine, two-stroke days.

He finished second in the championship no less than four times on the podium in more than a third of the GPS he raced, and he won 13 times between 1979 and 1992.

Today he helps a charity he founded called Riders for health, which provides bike rentals and ambulances to medical professionals in seven African countries, although in MotoGP racing it gives back-seat rides on a specially modified two-seat Ducati MotoGP bike. I'm at Silverstone to be one of its passengers. There's a race this weekend and if you're not there you can watch it for sports.

This championship-rivaling 2012 Desmosedici was a bit frustrated due to reliability and harder as it raced, with the frame count changed to the background. But it's still a race bike.

And at 250bhp and 160kg, seriously.

So severe that they use tire warmers right up to the second it rolls away while passengers in the back seat, provided they fit within the size rules, must undergo a health check to make sure the excitement isn't for them.

There is also a fairly comprehensive briefing on how to sit, keep the modified grip on the fuel tank, grips, and how to lean on the bike. “It doesn't look like a fairground ride,” says Mamola.

To say that I'm afraid would be an understatement, but Mamola says "there is no such thing as a bad passenger." We'll see, buddy.

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I'm not a big fan of being a passenger in a fast car and I've never leaned on a bike further than placing it on my side of the stand. I've never done a wheelie and wouldn't dream of trying to stoppie.

I'm boarding for Mamola. Within two seconds of us leaving, he put the bike on the back wheel.

It's an ace.

MotoGP racing uses the full Silverstone GP circuit, with only one slight change to the maggot/Beckett complex, and the lap takes nearly two minutes, flat with a flying start and finish.

I just looked at a video board with a passenger ride and lap adds less than 30 seconds, which includes going off the rails and back to a dead end, and despite the bike is 30bhp down, heavier and with worse aero and an extra 75kg on your correspondent's bill floundered on his back. No wonder it's very intense.

Acceleration is mega but feels at ease. It pulls 180mph on the Hangar straight and most of the way there on the rear wheel. But the power is very smooth and progressive. The 1.0-litre B4 seems to have a very wide powerband.

So this braking is the hardest and most stressful thing. It's always in a racing car, but I didn't know it would be too big. I'm not sure if your weight is getting more negative гbut it's purely physical and gives your arms a workout. Mamola says it's easier in the front seat because he can lean on the tank, but after completing 20 laps of the riders, it must be a kill.

And in turns it's phenomenal. “Usually you can tell what kind of passenger you have before the first bend,” Mamola says. I don't know whether I'm helping or not, but the lean angles of the bike are huge, with Mamola's elbow incredibly close to the ground and changing direction for Rapid.

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There is grace in what is in the car. The bike arcs from one side to the other, so the forces build quickly but smoothly, and if it squirms under the brakes and the front wheel lifts even the slightest, you can feel it. It's physical and intensely bright. Your head cannot be more than a couple of feet off the ground in turns. Silverstone does beautifully paint their furniture.

Two and a half minutes after it started it was all over and I had never known an experience so intense. I wonder what to do to feel more alert: tie yourself to a rocket? Fight a crocodile? I do not know. Maybe there is something. But I didn't feel it.


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