Teams and riders talk ahead of Silverstone MotoGP

Jorge Lorenzo Valentino Rossi

Lorenzo marked his return to fitness in style at Indy, taking a stunning second at the legendary ‘Brickyard’. Starting from third on the grid, the Spaniard initially dropped back to sixth place in the bunch up of riders on turn two before cutting back through the pack to take his place as a key protagonist of the race. Lorenzo backed up that result at Brno and is hoping to go one step better this weekend at Silverstone.

Silverstone, situated between Oxford and Northampton, is a couple of hours from central London, started life as an RAF military base, and is the longest circuit on the calendar, as well as being one of the fastest.

With over sixty years’ of history behind it, it is one of the most prestigious venues in the world, and organizes races from every category of two and four wheel motorsport.

Considerable financial investment has allowed a series of improvements to be made from 2010 onwards, coinciding with the return of MotoGP to the Northamptonshire circuit.

Ducati Preview

After races at Indianapolis and Brno, the Ducati Team now find themselves on the other side of the English Channel for the third and final event in a busy month of August: at the Silverstone circuit, the venue for Sunday’s British Grand Prix, round 12 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.

In recent years Andrea Dovizioso has obtained some good results at Silverstone, stepping on the podium as runner-up in 2010 and 2011, but last year he had to retire. His team-mate Cal Crutchlow on the other hand has not really had much MotoGP fortune in his home race, finishing sixth in 2012, while in 2013 he could only manage seventh after qualifying on the front row of the grid.

The Ducati Team riders have arrived in the UK after taking part in a two-day test at Misano at the start of this week, in preparation for the TIM GP di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, which takes place there in mid-September. Crutchlow only tested on day 1 and then returned to the UK for checks on his left shoulder, which was damaged in his crash at Brno. The British rider however will be lining up as usual for his home GP.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – “The Silverstone track is really nice, but it’s also rather strange and very difficult. In 2014 we seem to have improved at virtually every track, especially those where we struggled last year, so I’m feeling pretty confident about this weekend. We’ll have to see what the weather will be like, because in England when it rains the conditions are not exactly ideal for racing on bikes!”

Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – “I like Silverstone, it’s got a bit of everything – stop/start corners, fast straights, fast corners – and it’s a track that most riders like. I’ve had some good races there over my career, although not in MotoGP, and I look forward to going there again this year. It’s difficult for the crowd to get the sense of how fast we’re going and the lean angles because they are well back from the track but the crowd always turn out in force and it’s great to be a Brit at your home race.”

Yamaha Preview

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP head to the United Kingdom this week for the British Grand Prix at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire on Sunday. The team arrive in confident mood after two consecutive race weekends that have seen riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo stand side by side on the podium together.

Silverstone is another circuit with the potential to deliver strong results for Rossi and Lorenzo with fast sweeping corners well suited to the YZR-M1.

Rossi has long been a favourite of the British fans and is guaranteed a loud reception at the weekend. The Italian nine-time world champion has yet to win at Silverstone but has a great history in the UK, taking three premier class MotoGP wins in the modern era in 2002, 2004 and 2005 at Donington Park and two 500cc victories in 2000 and 2001. He also has one 250cc victory in 1999 and one 125cc victory in 1997.

Teammate Lorenzo has the most wins of any rider in the premier class at Silverstone, taking three of the four victories since the British Grand Prix moved there from Donington Park in 2010. 2011 is the only year he hasn’t stood on the top step so far. Lorenzo is also popular with the British crowd who remembers him taking victory at Donington in 2006 in the 250cc class.

Valentino Rossi – “I really want to go to Silverstone because this is not an easy track for me. Last year, in the race, in the end I did not go bad but I think that this year I can get better. Silverstone is a great track, very fast, beautiful and for me it would be very important to be able to get a good result, especially after the last few races. We are working well, we are making small steps forward and we are getting closer to our goal. I feel good and that’s why I have to be more competitive this year at Silverstone”.

Jorge Lorenzo – “After three consecutive podiums I feel good. Last weekend in Brno we found some good solutions that surely will give us at least a tenth in the next races. I feel quite good and we are going up throughout the championship. We must congratulate the team for their work in the last races and especially during the last one at Brno. We’re happy and confident for the next race. Silverstone is quite different to Brno. It’s a long varied circuit with fast corners and strong braking points and last year we got the win there. It looks good but we need to be careful and work hard during the whole weekend and then wait also for the weather, which is always tricky there.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “Silverstone is always a race we enjoy coming to. The reception from the British fans is fantastic. I am confident we can get our first win especially after the results of the last two rounds. The track is very well suited to the M1 and we have won three of the last four GP races there, therefore our confidence is pretty high. We look forward to a great show in the UK.”

Tech3 duo to take on battle in Britain at speedy Silverstone

Monster Yamaha Tech3 riders Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith will contest in the 12th round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship at the world famous Silverstone circuit this weekend, as they aim to fly high and clinch leading satellite team honours.

The historic 5900 metre Silverstone circuit was built in 1948 on the grounds of a former airfield and has become a staple fixture for motorsport events. A revamp in 2010 where the track was altered, led to the circuit been praised for being one of the fastest tracks on the calendar coupled with expert facilities. It’s eight left corners and ten right turns, as well as the 770 metre hangar straight all link together and will test the riders to their limits in the 20 lap British MotoGP round on Sunday.

Rookie Pol Espargaro will forcefully continue his impressive debut season assault in the premier class at 13:00 UK time on Sunday. Currently, the reigning Moto2 World Champion’s notable form has seen him produce some fantastically executed results and he will once again be aiming to close in on the factory riders and rocket to an inspiring finish. Meanwhile, local hero Bradley Smith will relish the forthcoming event where he intends to produce a superb display on home turf in front of his fans. Having qualified as the leading Yamaha at the previous round and then concluding a positive test after the race, Smith optimistically looks forward to the event with his sights firmly set on breaking the top five riders.

Pol Espargaro – “I cant wait to get going at Silverstone this week as the circuit is great fun to ride. It was a disappointing end to the last race in Brno, but I have moved on and here I will grit my teeth as I remain determined in closing in on the factory bikes. There are some great memories for me from this racetrack, with my favourite being winning the Moto2 race two years ago from pole position. There could be a bit of rain during this weekend, but now I have some experience under my belt with wet weather conditions so I will be ready for anything. We worked a lot on my riding style at the Brno test and I have learnt a lot more, with the key being to remain smooth especially at a circuit like Silverstone. I am looking forward to riding the YZR-M1 around the quick track and then seeing what we can do on Sunday.”

Bradley Smith – “It goes without saying that I am very much looking forward to this weekend which is a big event for me and I am proud to be able to ride at this great circuit, in front of the passionate British crowd. The home race is always a special occasion for any rider and at a racetrack as historical and fast as Silverstone, Sunday will be one to remember as always. I’ve had some great results here in the past such as the 2nd position in 2011 for the Tech3 Racing Moto2 Team and with the Yamaha winning here last year I am confident of fighting to get a great finish to make the crowd cheer. We had a really good post GP test in Brno and found some useful information which will certainly aid us in the race. So, I am fired up and ready to do my best in front of my family, friends, sponsors and the fans!”

NGM Forward Racing Team ready for British GP

The NGM Forward Racing Team head to the UK at Silverstone racetrack, that with more than 60 years of history, has become one of the most prestigious venues dedicated to motorsport. Extensively modified in 2011, the British Grand Prix returned to Silverstone in 2010 having been run at Donington Park since 1987.

After the positive test day at Brno, Aleix Espargaro and Alex De Angelis are confident for the British round. Aleix is determined to make the most from his Forward Yamaha and fight with the front group. Aleix arrives in Silverstone fresh from wedding, celebrated with his girlfriend Laura. All the NGM Forward Racing Team members wish the couple all the best.

After his return in MotoGP in Brno, Alex looks forward to improve his confidence with the new bike and consequently his result.

Silverstone will see the attendance also of Colin Edwards, who cannot miss this important appointment with the British fans that have hugely supported the Texan legend since he was racing in Superbike, winning two world titles, before moving to MotoGP. Edwards will be busy with many promotional events.

Aleix Espargaro – “Silverstone is a demanding track for us as it is fast and flowing. We know that we can suffer and it will be important to work on the best set up from the first test session. I will give my best to get the best possible result. We are 6th in the championship and we aim at consolidating and improving this position”.

Alex De Angelis – “The test in Brno was very productive to gain more confidence with the bike. At Brno I started from zero, while at Silverstone we will start working on the bike set up since the first session on Friday. Our target is to reduce the gap from the front guys and I look forward to next race”.

Repsol HRC Preview

Honda’s Marc Marquez, and Brno race winner, Dani Pedrosa, are en route to Great Britain for the next round of the MotoGP World Championship.

After winning eleven from eleven (Marc – ten, Dani – one) the Honda riders will both be looking for their maiden victory in the MotoGP class at the Silverstone circuit. Championship leader, Marc, has celebrated three podiums in four visits to Silverstone, including a victory in the 125cc class in 2010 and a second place finish in MotoGP last year. Dani, who lies second in the Championship, will be looking for back-to-back wins after he dominated the Czech race nine days ago, and has celebrated podium finishes in Silverstone the past two years (two third places).

Silverstone has a rich racing heritage stretching back over 60 years and has become an iconic motorsport venue. Built on an former airfield, the 5.9km track is popular with the riders and is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar. This is the fifth year that the paddock will visit Silverstone since it replaced Donington in 2010.

Marc Marquez – Championship Standing: 1st – 263 points – “Brno was a difficult weekend but the most important thing is that we took important points. Also, I feel less pressure now as I know everyone was expecting me to win all of them, and it’s the Championship that’s important, not winning every race! We had a good test on the Monday and then some time off after a hectic back-to-back schedule. Last year my race was affected by my crash in warmup so this year I hope to be fully fit so I can give it 100% in the race!”

Dani Pedrosa – Championship Standing: 2nd – 186 points – “I’m feeling in good momentum at the moment after winning in Brno and then we had a positive test on the Monday. It was a gruelling few weeks with two races in a row and so this past week it’s been good to recharge the batteries. Last year in Silverstone I was out of the battle with Marc and Jorge so this year I want to be sure to be up there with them! This is a fast track with many changes of direction and you need to find a balance for the set up to suit both the slow and the fast corners. The weather in Britain can always be temperamental also, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that!”

Gresini Honda Preview

The twelfth round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship 2014, the British Grand Prix which will take place this weekend at the historic Silverstone circuit is a special event for the Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini young rookie, Scott Redding, who will be racing for the first time riding a MotoGP bike in front of his home crowd.

Redding, winner last year of the Moto2 race at Silvestone, heads to England after two strong performances: winner of the Open class in Indianapolis, Scott confirmed himself in Brno as the fastest rider aboard the “Production Racer” Honda RCV1000R, a goal that he will try to achieve once again in his home race.

His teammate, Alvaro Bautista, has worked hard in the post-race test at Brno in an attempt to solve the rear grip issues which affected him in the last races: together with the Showa techincians, the Spaniard found a suspension setting that allowed him to take a step forward, therefore he will start the Silverstone weekend with this new configuration, confident of being able to return competitive on a track where he got the pole position in 2012 and claimed the fifth place last year.

Alvaro Bautista –  “Silverstone is a great track, where we have always shown good performances: in 2012 I got the pole position, while last year I was in the top five. Right now we are struggling a lot because of a lack of rear grip, but we are confident that the suspension and set-up solutions we tried during the Monday post-race test at Brno, which I will use in this Grand Prix, can help us to find the right way to return to a good level of competitiveness”.

Scott Redding – “Everyone always asks me if your home race is special and of course it is: it’s the only time in the season I get to race in front of my home crowd, whose support has been so important during my career in 125 and Moto2. It was incredible to stand on the top step of the podium for the first time ever at the British Grand Prix in 2008, and last year was equally special taking the win in front of a massive crowd wearing red, white and blue leathers aboard a bike with a huge union flag on the sides. Coming round after the chequered flag and seeing everyone in the stands on their feet clapping and cheering was an unbelievable experience. Now I’m going to race the MotoGP bike at home for the first time, and I can’t wait. It will be a tough weekend, because Silverstone is a power track and power is something we’re down on compared to other bikes. But, like always, I’ll be pushing as hard as I can and I hope I can put in a good performance in front of my home crowd”.

Fausto Gresini – “Racing in front of your home crowd is always an extra motivation for a rider and at Silverstone it will be like that for Scott, no doubt: the English fans have always supported him very closely and we hope that this can give him the right energy to get another good result after the performance shown both in Indianapolis and in Brno. The target with him remains the same: to do our best in order to be the fastest among the Open Class ‘Production Racer’ machines. As for Bautista, during the test carried out after the race in Czech Republic we found something positive: the team is working really hard to find a solution to the rear grip issues and now we look forward to the response of the first free practice on Friday to see if we are on the right path”.

Drive M7 Aspar Preview 

The MotoGP World Championship continues its summer road show across Europe this weekend as the series lands in England for the twelfth round of the season. At 5.9km Silverstone is the longest circuit on the calendar and it is also one of the most demanding, with its fast, flowing and flat layout. Marc Márquez arrives at the British Grand Prix on top of the championship and with a healthy points advantage despite losing his unbeaten record for the season to his team-mate Dani Pedrosa in the last round at Brno. However, for Honda the 100% winning streak continues and their rivals Yamaha are running out of races to respond as the season enters its final stage.

After stepping in admirably for the injured Nicky Hayden at Indianapolis and Brno, Leon Camier has been rewarded with the opportunity to fulfil a childhood dream this weekend as he competes in a premier-class Grand Prix on home soil for the first time. The British rider defends the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team colours for the third race at a circuit he knows and loves, in front of a passionate local crowd that will give him all the support he needs to continue his excellent form since joining the team. Hiroshi Aoyama is also a man in form and after scoring points in almost every round this season the Japanese DRIVE M7 Aspar Team rider will be aiming to continue that trend and challenge for another strong result to match his top ten finishes at Indianapolis and Argentina.

Hiroshi Aoyama: “I am already looking forward to the next round at Silverstone. England has a strong motorcycling culture and racing there is always special. The track is long and technical, it’s hard to adapt to it and the weather is always unpredictable so we’ll have to wait and see. We found a solid set-up in the post-race test at Brno that we hope can be useful this weekend. We go into this race with plenty of confidence and if we can take another step here I think we can break into the top ten. Silverstone has some fast direction changes and even though I prefer slow corners I will try to adapt and get the best possible result on Sunday.”

Leon Camier: “I am really happy because we have made continual progress since I jumped on the bike and at Brno we managed to finish in the points. The aim this weekend is to work just as hard again and keep going in the same way. I love Silverstone and I know it perfectly – it is fast, technical and with a lot of direction changes, which should suit me well. I know it will be another tough weekend though so it will be important to stay focused. It is a dream come true for me to race a MotoGP bike in front of the British fans. We had a very productive test at Brno that has helped us to close the gap to the top guys and gain a further understanding of the bike, which we need to keep moving forward. We also improved our race pace and that will be important this weekend.”

Bridgestone Preview
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)

Round twelve of the 2014 MotoGP™ World Championship takes at the Silverstone circuit in the United Kingdom, where high speeds and low temperatures combine to create a unique challenge for tyre development.

The longest circuit on the calendar, Silverstone features ten right-hand and eight left-hand corners, so asymmetric rear slicks with harder rubber on the right shoulders are developed for this circuit. The circuit has a high average speed so developing tyres that strike the best balance between warm-up performance and outright grip is essential. Given the likelihood of cool temperatures, all rear slick options at Silverstone feature Bridgestone’s extra-soft or soft rubber compound on the lesser-used, left shoulder for maximum warm-up performance and grip. The rear tyre options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha’s are the medium and hard compound, while the Ducati and Open-class will be allocated the soft and medium compound options.

The high speeds of the Silverstone circuit put a premium on good cornering and braking stability from the front end, so the front tyre options provided at this circuit – the extra-soft, soft and medium compounds – are selected to give the best balance of warm-up performance, stability and grip. The main wet tyre for the British Grand Prix is the soft compound; although every rider may also be select a maximum of two front and rear wet tyres in the alternative, hard compound as well.

Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department – “Silverstone is an incredibly fast circuit and as we saw last year, has the potential to create some brilliant racing. This is a challenging circuit in terms of tyre development as we often get cool, unsettled weather but at the moment the forecast for Sunday is fine and dry weather. The British Grand Prix is one of the highlights of the season with many exciting things happening on and off-track, including the annual Day of Champions and MotoGP auction held by Riders for Health which Bridgestone is proud to support again this year. Jorge has won three of the last four races at Silverstone, so I expect that he and Valentino will present a strong challenge to the Repsol Honda pair of Marc and Dani who between them have won every race so far this year.”

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department – “The strong possibility of cool, wet weather combined with the high loads the Silverstone circuit imposes on tyres presents a unique technical challenge for us. The circuit is very fast and there are some high lateral loads through corners such as Maggotts and Becketts, but there are also some areas of heavy braking such as for Stowe which place a high strain on the centre section of the front tyre. Track temperatures here are usually quite low, so warm-up performance is very important, especially on the left side which is used less. The layout requires asymmetric rear tyres to balance the demands placed on each side of the rear tyre and regulate tyre temperature.”