Ride from Torino to Valencia for a four-day trip crossing three countries and countless different landscapes. Hop on for a great ride to the 2016 Valencia MotoGP on 13 November.
Be patient when leaving Torino and cruise on the highway with your internal compass pointing towards the Alps. After Pinerolo you’re ready for your first lesson from the School of Cornering: the Sestriere pass. Pause at Pregelato for a coffee at Caffe Des Alpes and discuss your podium prognostications with other GP nuts. You can’t miss the bar – Vale’s flag is hanging proudly in front of it.
After the Sestriere pass you’ll enjoy a twisty road with a beautiful view of the valley on the French side – yes, you're already at the border. Shortly after passing into France you’ll enter Briançon, home to some good arguments for a break. Climb up to the Citadel, for example. After refreshments, head in the direction of the Lac de Serre-Ponçon. The D954 from Savines-le-Lac to Saint-Vincent-les-Forts is very enjoyable: road tar is in great condition and the road hits you with curve after curve, left-right, left-right, uppercut, right hook. It's a lot to take in and at some point you’ll be asking for a break from the ring. And you should take time out to enjoy the stunning view over the lake and the mountains beyond. Make sure you get your tyres back up to operating temperature in time for the D900, though. From Montclair onwards it's 50km of non-stop fun: long and open curves complete with a topping of perfect tarmac.
No need to stop in Digne-les-Bains. You might get some traffic from Digne to the D4096 because everyone is driving to the Highway. The good news? You’re not going that way. After passing over that major artery you’ll enjoy the smooth and rural D12 to Forcalquier where you could spend the night. The Grand Hotel is a good option, cheap with decent rooms. Next you enter the Parc Naturel du Lubéron which means you’re surrounded by great nature with roads unobtrusively snaking through. Soon you’ll reach Avignon, which is a must-stop tourist experience unless you can’t handle crowded places. We took the must-have shot with the Saint-Bénézet bridge over the Rhônes.
After Avignon, ride towards Uzès and then find your way to Ganges. On the way to Saint-Maurice-Navacelles you’ll passe the Vis Canyon. If you have time you can do a 15-minute detour to the Grand Cirque de Navacelles. From here there's a fantastic panoramic view of the Canyon. Entering the Parc Régional du Haut-Languedoc you’ll discover smaller roads, sometimes a bit bumpy with dense vegetation crowding in on both sides. You’re surrounded by nature here, shown glimpses of picturesque hamlets and bombarded by new smells. No need for a nosepeg: this stuff will grow hairs on your chest. To avoid the traffic of Carcassone you’ll ride south on more small roads, passing through vineyards and villages. This area's highlight happens at Vingrau where the road overlooks a whole valley full of vineyards, cut through with rocky outcrops.
Now it’s time to head to the sea! Pass through Perpignan and take the “Corniche” – it’s the panoramic coastal road between France and Spain. If you’re lucky there won't be much traffic and you can enjoy a fantastic road with delicious curves and beautiful views of the Mediterranean sea. Past the Spanish border a whole different type of coastline begins. The landscape turns drier and villages look suddenly much more humble.
Riding south, you'll soon reach Barcelona's surroundings. Now the backcountry embraces you in large fields full of rich colours. After Igualada you’ll enter the quite small but not-to-miss Serra de Montsant where the locals have discovered the secret of how to make great wine. Oh, and the roads are also very fun to ride. The TV-7021 over this range of hills is like a small rollercoaster.
The more you go south, the more the temperature will rise. The higher the temperature, the closer you are to Valencia. Wherever you've booked your seats, we wish you'll experience some inspirational, world-topping racing this November.
In collaboration with Motorcycle Diaries