MotoGP 2011 – Rnd Six – Silverstone – Catalunya weekend warms up with press conference
Lorenzo holds slender advantage as Silverstone beckons
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) leads the standings in the FIM MotoGP World Championship as the premier class heads to Round 6 of the 2011 season this weekend, the AirAsia British Grand Prix.
The battle for the title ensues as the season moves on to the next round at Silverstone, with Lorenzo heading up the Championship and the top contenders changing after the fifth round in Catalunya saw Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) move up to just seven points behind the Mallorcan in second. But Lorenzo is ready: he likes the Silverstone circuit and dominated the proceedings last year with pole position, race win and fastest lap, calling the 2010 race at Silverstone one of his best.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) finished second on the podium last year at Silverstone and is prepared to shoot for another podium finish at the British circuit, one he enjoys and is confident on. The Italian sits third in the Championship standings.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) missed the British GP last year due to the injuries suffered in his crash at Mugello. He has finished in the top seven in all sixteen races since returning from injury at the German GP last year. Rossi’s team mate Nicky Hayden crossed the line fourth last year at Silverstone, after qualifying and finishing one place higher on the grid than his then team mate Casey Stoner.
MotoGP rookie Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) is fired up for his home GP, fresh from claiming his best result of the season so far with seventh place at Montmeló on Sunday. Crutchlow took a double win, from pole, in last year’s Silverstone superbike round. His finish at Catalunya is the best result by a British rider in MotoGP since James Toseland finished sixth at Indianapolis in 2009.
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) finished third last year at Silverstone, his first podium in Grand Prix racing, after passing Nicky Hayden on the last lap. The Texan’s third place finish at the Catalan GP last weekend was his first podium since Indianapolis last year, and he is currently seventh in the Championship.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team ) enters the British Grand Prix confident after marching to pole position during qualifying at the Catalunya Grand Prix, despite being unable to convert his first MotoGP pole position beyond a sixth place finish. His pole in Catalunya was the first for a Honda rider who was not part of the factory team since Casey Stoner was fastest qualifier in Qatar in 2006. Simoncelli finished seventh last year at Silverstone which was his best result from his first seven starts in the MotoGP class.
Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing Team) had a good showing at Silverstone in 2010 when he qualified second on the grid. During the race he was in third with just four laps remaining but then suffered with front tyre problems and dropped to sixth by the chequered flag.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) raced in the Moto2 class at Silverstone last year, though he crashed on the last lap. He has scored points in four of his first five MotoGP races, including three top ten finishes.
Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) is set to return to racing at Silverstone, the Catalunya GP being the first race the Texan missed since making his MotoGP debut in 2003 after he crashed and fractured a collarbone in FP2 at Catalunya. Edwards qualified tenth and finished ninth last year at the Silverstone circuit.
Hiroshi Aoyama of the San Carlo Honda Gresini Team is hoping to redefine the Silverstone circuit for himself, after he suffered a high side during Sunday morning warm up last year, resulting in a broken vertebra that caused him to miss the British race and the following five rounds.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa will not be participating in the British GP round as he continues to recover from a broken right collarbone sustained at the Le Mans race.
Stefan Bradl enters the AirAsia British Grand Prix fresh from his third victory of the 2011 season. The Viessmann Kiefer Racing rider stretched his lead at the top of the standings to a 43-point advantage after winning the Catalunya GP, his fourth since moving up to the intermediate class of GP racing and his third win of the season. His pole position in Barcelona made him the first rider to take five successive poles in the intermediate category since Toni Elías in 2003.
The German appears in form to make a run for another podium at Silverstone, having qualified third on the grid for the Moto2 race there last year. His closest rival is Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project), and the Italian has something to prove at the Silverstone track after his race there last year was ended on the second lap after a collision with Bradl.
– HRC Preview
The Honda family crosses the English Channel for its annual visit to the British Grand Prix with mixed fortunes.
Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner arrives at the Silverstone Circuit fresh off a dominant performance in the Catalunya Grand Prix, his second MotoGP win in a row and third of the year. Stoner took the lead on the second of 25 laps and steadily pulled away until a light rain interrupted his march to victory. Once the rain stopped, Stoner upped the pace to secure his second MotoGP win at the track north of Barcelona.
While Stoner is looking forward to returning to the UK, where he began his European road racing career, his team-mate Dani Pedrosa won’t be making the trip. Pedrosa was forced to miss his home race in Catalunya when he suffered a broken right collarbone in a racing incident with Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) in Le Mans. Earlier this week, Pedrosa announced that he’d sit out Silverstone to allow his surgically repaired collarbone time to fully heal before returning to the rigors of racing. Given that Silverstone is the second of six races in eight weeks, Pedrosa’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. In the meantime, the Honda banner will be carried high by Stoner and his fellow Red Riders.
The Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire replaced Donington Park on the MotoGP calendar last year after an absence of 24 years, which means the track has very little history for the current crop of riders. Stoner was strong at the previous venue, winning back-to-back in 2007-08, but he also enjoys the Silverstone layout.
The 2007 MotoGP world champion had been at the head of the class all weekend in Catalunya before being pipped for the pole at the last minute by Simoncelli, who earned his first career MotoGP pole in Spain. But when the race started, the pair went in opposite directions; Stoner blazed into the lead and Simoncelli was consumed by the pack, settling into sixth, where he would finish in a mostly processional race.
Stoner’s third win of the year carried him to within seven points of world championship leader Lorenzo after five of 18 rounds.
Simoncelli joined the MotoGP World Championship last year, the same year Silverstone came on line, which means he has as much experience at the track as his rivals. In his debut season, Simoncelli held off a determined Dani Pedrosa to take seventh on the challenging circuit.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) finished second in his first visit to Silverstone, where he hopes to replicate the success he had at Donington Park. The track in the East Midlands was the only one where he scored victories in all three classes, including his maiden MotoGP win in 2009. That race was held in difficult and changing conditions, which Dovizioso managed better than anyone else. With the possibility of similar conditions in Silverstone, Dovi stands poised to take advantage.
Last weekend Dovi spent the race within grasp of the final podium spot before running out of laps. He missed the podium by less than a second. His consolation was that he moved into third in the championship just behind Stoner.
Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) is eager to get back on track to make amends for his performance in Catalunya. The Japanese rider apologised for his crash on the fourth lap which unfortunately also took out Frenchman Randy de Puniet. Aoyama’s enthusiasm is somewhat tempered by returning to Silverstone, the track where last year he suffered a broken back that forced him out of six races.
Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V) wasn’t able to make the most of the modified chassis he first used in Catalunya. The reigning 2010 Moto2 World Champion had grip problems on both ends of his RC212V. For Silverstone, the team will continue to try to adapt the race-winning chassis to his liking.
Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing, Kalex) continued a dream season with a win in Catalunya that has the MotoGP team managers giving him serious consideration for elevation into the senior class in 2012. And why not? He’s had a remarkable run to start the season. All five pole positions, three wins, a third, and a fifth. It adds up to a gaping 43 point championship lead over Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project, FTR) as the series runs into the heart of the European season.
Bradl and Corsi crashed together on the opening lap of last year’s Moto2 race, which was one of the best of the year: The top four finishers were blanketed by .502s.
Last year’s third place finisher, and one of Bradl’s closest rivals, Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2, Suter), almost certainly has lost any chance of challenging for the title. The Spaniard suffered grievous injuries when he was hit from behind by Kenan Sofuoglu (Technomag-CIP, Suter) while holding second on the 15th lap of the race in Catalunya. The initial diagnosis was a fractured tibia and fibula in his right leg. Upon further examination, it was changed to a third degree fracture of the distal tibia, with a one-third fracture of the fibula. Simon was flown to Madrid where surgery was performed at the USP San José Hospital by Dr. Ángel Villamor.
Simon left Catalunya tied on points with the erratic Andrea Iannone (Speed Master, Suter) at 49. Iannone opened the season with a second and a win, but hasn’t finished higher than 13th in the last three races. In Catalunya, he started 22nd, ran off the track, dropped to the back of the pack and finished 15th. Last year at Silverstone Iannone finished 12th amid a five-rider pack contesting ninth.
Silverstone is one of the most historic tracks in the world. Like many British circuits, it was built on a former Royal Air Force base. In Silverstone’s case it was a World War II bomber station, RAF Silverstone, across which three runways were laid out. The track returned to the MotoGP calendar last year after a 24 year absence, during which time it was significantly altered and slightly lengthened.
The track hosted the first British Grand Prix for cars in 1948 and in 1950 hosted the first race of the Formula One era. It hosted motorcycle races for 10 of the most glorious years of the 500cc era, from 1977 to 1986, a period that included Freddie Spencer’s Honda debut in Europe on the radically ingenious oval-pistoned NR500 in the 1981 British Grand Prix. The final three British GPs at Silverstone were won by Honda riders; Randy Mamola (1984), Freddie Spencer (1985), and Wayne Gardner (1986).
Before the circuit was slowed by chicanes, it was one of the fastest on the calendar. Consider this: Barry Sheene’s average speed in taking the pole for the inaugural British GP in 1977 was 182.381kph. Last year, 33 years on from Sheene’s pole, Jorge Lorenzo averaged 172.310kph, a full 10kph slower.
The old 4710m track was a simple layout of eight memorable corners. Copse, the first turn right that led to Maggotts and Becketts and down to Chapel and the Hangar Straight. Then Stowe to Club, the left kink Abbey leading to the Farm Straight and the final right, Woodcote. The finish line was so close to the last corner that riders were at three-quarters lean when they crossed the line.
Many of those same corners remain, though about 1200m was added through a series of modifications aimed at making it safer, but also slower, before it returned in its current 5902m length.
The MotoGP move to Silverstone from Donington Park came with the promise of vast renovations and repaving of some parts of the track. The recently unveiled Silverstone Wing, an ultra-modern 31 million Euro pit and paddock complex, brought the venue into the 21st century and made it a truly world class facility.
Repsol Honda rider Casey Stoner says: “After a great last few races we’re looking forward to going to Silverstone. Last year wasn’t so good for us after being unlucky off the start, which prevented us from having a stronger race. I think this year with the Honda and the way things are going we can hope for a good performance, so long as everything goes smoothly. We need to stay focused and watch those around us as we know our biggest championship rival at the moment, Jorge (Lorenzo), is extremely fast there. Silverstone is a circuit I really enjoy, so we’ll see how the weekend pans out. It’s very disappointing not to have Dani (Pedrosa) present again this weekend, but this is his decision and I just wish him all the best at this difficult time.”
Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso says: “I like Silverstone. It’s a good track for us and now that it has been resurfaced in the parts where there were more bumps it should be even better. The layout is beautiful and we go there to fight for the podium. In terms of race pace, in Catalunya we made a step forward compared to Le Mans, where we finished second. In Catalunya we were fourth, as I couldn’t make use of the bike’s full potential due to tricky track conditions, but we were fast, finishing five seconds behind Casey (Stoner). I’m very motivated to race in UK; in Donington I won my first MotoGP race and last year I took second position at Silverstone, where we raced for the first time. It will be important to work well from the first session and to be focused to get the best set-up. I’m sorry to hear that Dani won’t race in Silverstone. I wish him a good recovery and I hope he will return soon.”
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says: “After dedicating some time entirely to recover, I have decided not to take part in the British Grand Prix this week. I’ve done everything I could to be fit in time for Silverstone, but the conditions are not right to return to compete with guarantees. I need to feel 100% fit before I get on the bike again and to be sure I can fight for the victory, I don’t want to go out there just to do laps. I’ve raced many times with pain and the experience tells me I’m still not ready to be competitive. I’ve decided not to take further risks and will instead continue my recovery process so I may return in the best possible way. It’s time for me to be logical and not only follow what my heart says, or my desire to return. I want to return as soon as possible, but I want to do it when I have ability to fight to win. It’s not the time yet.”
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli says: “Obviously, after starting from pole position I was a little disappointed to finish sixth in Barcelona, but overall it was a good weekend for us because of the pace and character we showed. The race could have gone better, but we have the chance to put that right this weekend at Silverstone. I really enjoyed the track last year when I took my first big step forward in terms of being competitive in this class. Now we go there with a top result as the only goal. I am ready and I can’t wait to step out onto a MotoGP podium for the first time. Hopefully it will be onto the top step.”
San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Hiroshi Aoyama says: “After the crash in Barcelona, when I also took out Randy De Puniet through no fault of his own, I go to Silverstone determined to make up for it. Unfortunately, I only have bad memories of the track because it was here last year that I had a crash that ruled me out for six races. That is another thing I want to put behind me and the way to do that is by having a good grand prix this weekend. We have the potential to do well so we will do our best to pick up as many points as possible and move up in the championship.”
LCR Honda MotoGP rider Toni Elias says: “My home GP was a bit frustrating and I want to start from zero in Silverstone. We have been working very hard since the winter test but we still miss something to increase our pace. We must find the solution now because I want to ride the bike as I did in the past. I am more determined than the past and with all the data we gathered in the last rounds I am hoping to take a step forward. All Honda bikes are very competitive, so I think we need a radical change.”
Andrea Iannone sits ten points behind Corsi, and at the British GP he will become the sixth youngest rider to reach the milestone of 100 Grand Prix starts. The Speed Master rider finished twelfth last year at Silverstone and is matched in Championship points by Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar). The Spaniard will however miss this round after fracturing the tibia and fibula in his right leg in a crash at Catalunya last weekend.
Just two points behind Iannone and Simón is Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) who finished in 18th last year at the circuit, and Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2). The Swiss rider finished second last year at Silverstone after leading the race until the last lap, and it will be a result he will be eager to repeat after his Catalunya race ended in a DNF on Sunday.
Marc Márquez is poised to lay an assault on the Moto2 field, having won the 125cc race at the British Grand Prix last year after a race long battle with Pol Espargaró. The Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol rider has finished first and second in the last two races, making him the second youngest rider to have back-to-back podiums in the intermediate class after Marco Melandri.
Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) who missed the British Grand Prix last year due to injuries received in a crash in practice, enters Silverstone with 42 Championship points, followed by Aleix Espargaró (Pons HP 40) who finished tenth in the MotoGP race last season and who scored his first ever World Championship podium at his home GP last weekend.
British riders Bradley Smith (Tech 3) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing) will be looking for an advantage on home soil. Smith was third in the 125cc race last year at Silverstone and Redding was fourth in Moto2 after making his way through the field from a twelfth place qualifying position.
Nicolas Terol stretched his lead to a comfortable 48 points in the 125 Championship standings after an action packed fifth round at Montmeló, and the Bankia Aspar rider shows no signs of slowing down.
The Spaniard’s win in Catalunya was the fourteenth successive race at which he has stood on the podium. If he should land on the podium this weekend at Silverstone, he will set a new all-time record for successive podium finishes in the 125cc class. And a top three finish for the 22 year-old at Silverstone is likely, as Terol just missed out on a podium finish there last year, when he lost out to Bradley Smith on the last lap.
The closest challenger to Terol remains Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany), though Cortese had his worse qualifying position of 2010 at Silverstone, when he started from 11th. Just four points behind him in the third place standings is Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport), who has finished on the podium in two of the five rounds this season.
The Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing rider Maverick Viñales sits just three points behind Folger in fourth, whose second place finish at the Catalunya GP made him the third youngest rider at 16 years old to take back-to-back Grand Prix podium finishes. Johann Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) is two points behind Viñales, and has shown himself a strong contender this year by already finishing twice on the podium, though he was denied his first win in the class when he was penalised 20 seconds for an illegal overtake on Terol on the last lap at the Catalunya GP.
Lone wildcard rider John McPhee of Racing Steps Foundation KRP enters the 125cc class this weekend on his Aprilia, having ridden at Catalunya as well, whilst Norwegian youngster Sturla Fagerhaug again replaces the injured Sarath Kumar on the WTR-Ten10 Racing Team.
– Yamaha Preview
MotoGP returns to Silverstone this weekend for the second year in a row after an absence of 25 years. The paddock arrives in the UK for round six of the Championship preparing to enjoy the all new Silverstone facilities launched just two weeks ago. MotoGP Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo arrives fresh from his podium finish in front of his home crowd last weekend. The young Mallorcan rider is looking to replicate his stunning victory from pole position taken in his first outing at the modified Northamptonshire circuit in 2010.
Yamaha Factory Racing Team mate Ben Spies shares equally positive memories from last year’s British GP, scoring his first ever MotoGP podium at Silverstone aboard the Tech3 Yamaha YZR-M1. Having shaken off a less than perfect start to this year, Spies delivered a textbook perfect ride to share the Catalunya podium with Lorenzo last week. The Texan is focused, motivated and looking to continue with his current form this weekend.
The 5.9km Silverstone circuit underwent major restructuring last year. The track has all kinds of character, a fast part and also a very tight infield. It looks a little bumpy in places, but with plenty of overtaking opportunities and remodelled sections including faster, sweeping corners to tailor it to the 800cc MotoGP machines.
Jorge Lorenzo – “We managed to finish our home GP leading the Championship last weekend. I’m very happy because we are very consistent in the beginning of this season. Now we are going for our second visit to Silverstone, a track I like. Last year was the first year and I made one of my best races; it was almost perfect. I know this season will be tough, but Yamaha and I are working hard and are focused on each race results.”
Ben Spies – “I can’t wait to get to Silverstone and get back on the bike again. It’s a track I really enjoy riding and where I got my first ever MotoGP podium last year. Catalunya definitely felt like we were starting the season again, everything went smoothly and I felt really comfortable and able to challenge for the podium. We’ll be looking to do at least the same in the UK so roll on Friday.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager – “Round six coming up, we’re very happy to be going to Silverstone; we had a fantastic result there last year. I think it will be one of the tracks where will be more competitive than we have been. We are still leading the championship by seven points but we need to do something better to stay there at the front. Of course the podium is our first target but also a win is sometimes very important, for the riders especially, so let’s see what happens this weekend.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director – “Silverstone seems to be a good circuit for Yamaha, we’re going there with very high expectations and good morale after the double podium at Catalunya. We intend to start the right way on Friday and see what we can achieve. Both Jorge and Ben have a good history there so I think we will be very competitive.”
Crutchlow and Edwards confident for Silverstone showdown
After a weekend of contrasting fortunes in Catalunya recently, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Colin Edwards have quickly turned their attention to this weekend’s British Grand Prix at the legendary Silverstone circuit.
The Silverstone race is the all-important home round for rookie Crutchlow, who is enjoying a fantastic debut season in the 2011 MotoGP World Championship. The 25-year-old is eagerly anticipating his first appearance in the British Grand Prix and he arrives on home shores full of confidence after an outstanding performance in last weekend’s Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya.
He claimed a superb seventh place to score his best ever Mo toGP result, and he’s now targeting a challenge for his first top six finish on Sunday. Crutchlow’s all-action style is perfectly suited to the long and super-fast Silverstone track and he enjoyed one of the highlights of his career last season when he romped to a stunning double win in the World Superbike round.
Edwards will make a welcome return to action after a right collarbone injury forced the popular American to miss last Sunday’s Catalunya race. His absence ended his proud record of competing in 141 successive races, but Edwards is determined to bounce back in style this weekend and fight for a points finish.
Edwards has completely rested during the last days to aid the recovery process and his shoulder is already quickly gaining strength following the three-hour operation to insert a titanium plate and 13 screws at the USP Institut Universitari Dexeus of Barcelona last Saturday morning.
Cal Crutchlow – “I can’t wait for my home race in Silverstone. Ever since I knew I was joining the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team, I have been thinking about the British Grand Prix. The race couldn’t be coming at a better time after I scored the best result of my MotoGP career only a few days ago in Catalunya. That gave the whole Team a big lift and we can go into this weekend with a top six as a realistic goal. Although it is my home race, I actually don’t have any extra experience of the track than the other guys. I’ve only raced at the current track once, just like the rest. Silverstone has always been a good track for me and obviously last year’s double win in the World Superbike race was one of the highlights of my career. I know I can be fast on this track and we saw last year with Jorge Lorenzo’s win that the Yamaha is a good package there. All I can do is assure the British fans that I will be giving it my absolute maximum to get the best result I can. The British fans have always been good to me and I know I can count on their support this weekend. I’m also glad Colin will be back this weekend. He’s been an unbelievable help to me this year and racing without him just isn’t the same.”
Colin Edwards – “I’m already feeling much better after a couple of days rest and I’m now looking forward to being back on the bike and being with my guys in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. Obviously I am not going to be 100 per cent fit but the shoulder felt really strong immediately after the operation in Barcelona, so with a bit more time to recover, it has improved even more. I want to thank Dr Xavier Mir again because he did a fantastic job repairing the collarbone and without him, I’d have probably not been riding in Silverstone. It is not going to be an easy weekend but I will go out there and try my best to do a good job. It would be brilliant to get some points but I just want to concentrate on having a trouble free weekend because then I have a couple of weeks to let the bone heal further and be back to full strength by Assen. Part of me is still a little bit disappointed that I didn’t get to ride in Catalunya, but I guess I’ll finally get to start my 142nd MotoGP race, even if it is going to be one week later than planned! I’ve had great support in Britain going back to my World Superbike days and it is almost like a second home for me. I’m going to try and keep the weekend as relaxed as possible and enjoy myself. I’ve got lots of friends in the UK too, so I’m looking forward to catching up with them.”
– Ducati Preview
The British Silverstone circuit, which on May 17 inaugurated an impressive new structure called “The Wing” that includes offices, a pit lane and large, modern garages, hosts the sixth round of the MotoGP world championship on Sunday.
Construction of the new structure necessitated the relocation of the starting line, which is now situated nearly on the opposite side of the track compared to before, but the circuit’s layout is identical to last year. Valentino Rossi, who was injured before last year’s race weekend, has never competed at Silverstone, although he turned about twenty laps there last year aboard an 1198 street bike, during the aforementioned inauguration. On Friday, he’ll face twin assignments: better learn the wide, fast circuit, and work on his bike’s setup.
Nicky Hayden, meanwhile, has good memories of his Silverstone debut, as he took a strong fourth-place finish and just missed out on the podium. On Wednesday, the American did a lap of honor on the Mountain Course at the Isle of Man aboard a Ducati 1198 SP.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Marlboro Team
“Silverstone is a great track that’s difficult and quite fast. I’ll start on Friday with a small handicap because unfortunately, I didn’t get to race there last year. I haven’t ridden a MotoGP bike there, although I did about twenty laps on an 1198 street bike. I’ll have to learn the track as quickly and as well as possible, as it’s very technical, with several blind spots where taking the right line is very important. Of course we’ll also have to work on adjusting the bike. Anyway, we’re understanding better and better how to approach the setup of the GP11, and Ducati continues working on development. There’s still work to be done, but it’s clear which areas we have to address and we’re all focused and determined to improve.”
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team
“It’s been a short week, because Barcelona was just a few days ago. After the race, I went to the Isle of Man TT, which was a great experience. Now it’s time for Silverstone. We went there for the first time last year, so it’s still kind of new and fresh for us. The track layout is the same, but they’ve changed where we enter the pits, which could make it a little different in some ways. It’s a track I enjoyed a lot last year because it’s big, long and fast. The pavement was a little bumpy in a couple of places, but it was perfect in other parts. I’m looking forward to it.”
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“There are a number of aspects of the next Grand Prix that we’ll have to handle as well as we can. Silverstone is a challenging track because it’s technical and very fast, and finding the right lines is important. Nicky knows this well because he had a great race in 2010, finishing two tenths off the podium. Vale has only done some laps on a Ducati street bike, so he’ll have to be quick at learning the track’s secrets. The asphalt is new in some areas and bumpy in others, and that’s a variable to keep in mind when searching for the right setup. Also, it’s often quite cold in the mornings, which could limit the amount of useful track time even more than usual. In any case, the team is working very well, and everyone here is hugely committed, so we hope to keep making progress.”
– Suzuki Preview
Rizla Suzuki has made the journey back to its home country of England for the sixth round of the MotoGP World Championship that will be held at the famous Silverstone circuit this weekend.
Álvaro Bautista is in a determined mood to carry on the good work of last weekend’s Grand Prix, despite his disappointment of a frustrating race. The Spaniard is in a relaxed mood as he heads towards the team’s busiest race of the year. The Rizla Suzuki squad is based in the south of England, and with many of the crew hailing from the UK, it all adds up to an exciting and hectic event for the whole team.
This Sunday will be the second time the British Grand Prix has been held at Silverstone since the event moved back to the Northamptonshire circuit after an absence of over 20 years. The MotoGP field raced on a totally new circuit last year– after its configuration had been changed since the last race in 1986. This year will again see a new layout following the opening of the state-of-the-art ‘Silverstone Wing’, which sees the start and finish straight moving to the front of this fantastic new structure and the riders facing a brand new first corner to contend with on race-day. The 5’902m Silverstone track is the longest and one of the fastest on the MotoGP calendar, and this – coupled with the abrasive nature of the surface – will make tyre durability an important factor this weekend.
Rizla Suzuki will take to the track on Friday morning for the first of two free practice sessions on that day, followed by another free session on Saturday morning. Qualifying for Sunday’s 20-lap race will take place during Saturday afternoon, when Bautista and the other MotoGP stars will battle it out for the best grid positions for the main event, which gets underway at 13.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) on Sunday 12th June.
Álvaro Bautista: “I am really looking forward to the weekend at Silverstone, we need to get back to work and continue with what we did in the practice sessions last weekend. We did very well in those – and in the wet practice – but the race just didn’t go to plan. I am more relaxed now than I was on Sunday and fully focused on the job ahead of us. I know Silverstone is going to be hard work both on and off the track, but I’m ready for it and plan to get a good result for the whole team at its home Grand Prix.”
– Bridgestone Preview
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
On 12 June the Silverstone circuit plays host to the British Grand Prix for the second year after returning to the Northamptonshire venue in 2010 for the first time since 1986 following extensive development work. Last year the circuit was brand new for everybody, having changed in layout since 1986, and this year it is the turn of the pit and paddock complex which has been moved into the newly-opened and much acclaimed Silverstone Wing.
Moving the MotoGP paddock and team pit garages to the Wing also introduces one other important change for the riders: whilst the circuit layout remains unchanged the start/finish position has been moved from last year meaning a new turn one for the riders to negotiate come race-day.
Last year’s inaugural race presented Bridgestone with the challenge of preparing for a brand new circuit and making the important choice of tyre compound options based only on samples of the track surface and circuit design data. Now, with the benefit of actual data, track-time and rider feedback on which to draw, Bridgestone have taken this opportunity to carefully revisit tyre compound choices for Silverstone, going one step softer with the front slicks.
Silverstone is quite an abrasive circuit and high-speed, both of which generate tyre temperature, and armed with theoretical data last year the medium and hard compounds were chosen as the most suitable. This year however the front slicks are available in soft and medium compounds as the soft front has proved it has sufficient durability and stability under the hard braking experienced, and it has the added benefit of improved warm-up performance.
The asymmetric rear slicks are still available in medium and hard compounds, but this year the left shoulder of the medium option incorporates the extra soft compound developed to provide improved warm-up performance.
Jorge Lorenzo won last year’s British Grand Prix ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies. His average speed was 172.005kmh, making Silverstone as fast as Mugello and Assen and just 5kmh shy of Phillip Island which is the quickest on the calendar.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Last year Silverstone was totally new for most people in the paddock, and this year we have a new pit and paddock complex to look forward to so I am excited to be going to England again. I have seen photos of the Silverstone Wing and it looks very impressive indeed, and it is great to see circuits making such efforts, not just in development of their facilities but also in publicising their events and MotoGP, and I hope that we will see many fans over the race weekend as a result. We have changed our front tyre compound selection slightly this year and I think this shows our desire to constantly assess and analyse the situation we are in and where we can improve our tyre offering for the riders. Dani and Colin missed the Catalunya GP with broken collarbones and whilst Colin will be back at Silverstone which is a very impressive show of determination and strength, I wish Dani a speedy recovery and hope we can see him back on track soon.”
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“Last year MotoGP visited Silverstone circuit for the first time since 1986 so it was a great challenge for Bridgestone to select tyre compounds based on theoretical data and some track surface samples alone. This year of course we have the benefit of a lot more actual data gained from last year’s race and, after careful analysis, we believe there is more benefit to the riders of selecting our soft compound front tyre as we know it has sufficient braking stability and durability but it will also give the riders a little more grip in the cool conditions and offer better warm-up performance. The effect of tyre cooling along the long straight and the low temperature were also a little bigger than our estimation so this is another reason for revising our compound selection this year.
“Silverstone circuit is very fast and there are some high lateral loads generated through corners such as Maggotts and Backetts, but there are also some areas of heavy braking such as for Stowe so it is quite diverse and demanding for our tyres. Last year the track temperature was quite low so warm-up performance is important, especially on the left side of the tyres which is used less, so we have selected the same asymmetric rear slicks as were used to good effect last year but this time used the extra soft compound in the left shoulders of the medium compound slicks.”