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WorldSBK Riders Trade Their Gloves for Spray Cans in France

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The paddock has arrived in France for the penultimate European Round of the 2016 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship. In classic French style, the action kicked off with an appreciation for art. Riders were invited to contribute to themed art a 20m canvas, guided by some of France’s most iconic street artists from the ‘Street Art City’ organisation, in the picturesque grounds of Le Palais Ducal in the town of Nevers.

Jonathan Rea, Sylvain Guintoli, Jules Cluzel, Cedric Tangre and Zulfahmi Khairuddin learnt about the different techniques of French street art in order to collaborate on the gigantic artwork in a mix of styles in front of fans and media. They were shown separate 1.5m by 1.5m canvases that the artists had already prepared, themed around each rider that would go to auction to raise funds for cancer research. The WorldSBK stars were then paired up with an artist to have a go at the craft themselves.

Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team’s Sylvain Guintoli and MV Agusta Reparto Corse rider Jules Cluzel were fascinated, wanting to know more about the artists and their discipline. They took a backseat to the action to watch the artists in their element, taking photos of every spray of the paint. They finally had a go themselves but thought it best to let the artists be artists, with Cluzel saying, “The last time I painted I was at school!”

Kawasaki Racing Team’s Jonathan Rea and Orelac Racing VerdNatura’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin couldn’t wait to get their hands dirty and were the first ones to take a can and start adding their contributions to the canvas. Khairuddin- a master of the can- took great care to paint inside the perfectly set lines provided by his artist partner. Afterward the Malaysian said, “Their hands are really steady, how they control the pressure from the spray is impressive!”

Rea on the other hand went freestyle, showcasing his own style and taking inspiration from his team uniform to add to the art but needed help completing the finer details of the logos on his section of the canvas. Of his skills, the Northern Irishman said, “Mine’s the best. I found inspiration a little hard but once I decided to do whatever, I put a helmet on my cat, I put my sponsor logos on it and I had a lot of fun with it.”

Guintoli, engrossed by the portrait of himself painted by the artist, he declared that he wanted to buy it when it was done. However the Frenchman will have to fight the fans for it, as it will be auctioned in November for charity.

The day ended with the stars of WorldSBK signing autographs for the fans before reality returned and it was time to go back to the circuit for the Fassi French Round for Round 11 preparations.