The MotoGP British lions return home to restore some pride in front of the home crowd at the Octo British Grand Prix at the legendary Silverstone circuit on Sunday. After some recent bad times they will seek inspiration from their past performances at the flat fast 3.666 mile Northamptonshire circuit that staged the very first mainland British Motorcycle Grand Prix 40 years ago.
Last year Isle of Man – based Midlander Cal Crutchlow sent the home crowd wild starting the MotoGP from pole position and finishing second. The LCR Honda rider, who last year became the first British MotoGP™ winner since Barry Sheene was victorious in Sweden 35 years previously, has experienced a mixed season as we approach round 12 of the 18 round title chase. After just one podium finish in Argentina, the former World Supersport Champion is ninth in the championship as he returns for his only home appearance of the season.
Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding won the Moto2™ race at Silverstone four years ago and a result anywhere near the podium would restore his confidence after a disastrous season riding the Pramac Ducati. After a decent start he has slipped to 15th in the Championship and will be praying for rain in the 20 lap race on Sunday. In rain or mixed conditions he has been on the pace but once the sun appears and the track surface warms he’s been in trouble. Silverstone in August will probably not let him down.
Local boy Bradley Smith has also hit a rough patch on the new KTM. While his team-mates Pol Espargaro and Mika Kallio have brought KTM top ten finishes in the last two races in their debut season, the Oxfordshire – based rider has struggled. There is a vital test in Misano this week for the former Silverstone 125cc and Moto2 podium finisher as he seeks the set-up that will get back to points scoring in a crucial second half of the season. He missed the Silverstone race last year with a serious knee injury.
Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes has taken Moto2™ pole position at Silverstone for the last two years but he returns for his British MotoGP debut in a tough situation. He’s been told by the Gresini Aprilia team that his contract will be terminated at the end of his debut season after a really horrendous first part of the season. To add salt to the wound his place at Aprilia is going to be taken by fellow Brit Redding. How Lowes would like to prove everybody wrong on Sunday.
Oban – based Scotsman John McPhee returns home for the 17 lap Moto3™ race still fuming after being taken out in the previous round and crashing in Austria while chasing a podium finish. He slipped to sixth in the championship but only 12 points behind fourth placed Jorge Martin. It’s a big weekend for his British Talent Honda team with the selection process starting for next year’s British Talent Cup Championship over the Silverstone weekend.
It’s also a massive weekend for two British wild card entries who make their Moto3™ grand prix debuts. Both Thomas Booth-Amos and Jake Archer will compete for the very first time on the grand prix stage riding the City Lifting/RS Racing KTMs.
British Supersport Champion Tarran Mackenzie makes his first Moto2™ grand prix appearance on home soil after gaining massive experience replacing the former Silverstone Moto3 winner Danny Kent on the Kiefer Racing Suter earlier in the season. Mackenzie gets closer and closer to scoring his first World Championship points and no better place to start than on Sunday.
He’s joined on the Moto2 grid by Jake Dixon who makes his grand prix debut replacing the injured Marcel Schrotter in the Dynavolt Intact GP team.
SUNDAY SCHEDULE CHANGES
The race day programme is different to the usual European grand prix schedule on Sunday at Silverstone.
The 20 lap MotoGP™ race starts at 15.30 local time with Moto3 at 12.40 and Moto2™ at 14.00. The morning warm-ups have also changed with Moto3™ at 10.00, Moto2 10.30 and MotoGP 11.00.
Practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday will remain at the usual times.
The pre-event press conference remains at the same 17.00 time on Thursday in the media centre with Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso, Maverick Vinales, Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow and Scott Redding.
Please find enclosed a complete schedule for the weekend
DID YOU KNOW?
This is the eighth year that Silverstone has hosted grand prix racing since the motorcycle world championship series returned to the circuit in 2010 after a gap of 23 years. Below are some facts and stats relevant to grand prix racing at Silverstone:
• The first motorcycle grand prix event to be held at Silverstone in 1977 was also the first motorcycle grand prix to be held on the British mainland; prior to 1977 the British round of the world championship had been held since 1949 on the 37.73mile long Isle of Man TT circuit. The move from the Isle of Man was made mainly for reasons of rider safety.
• The winners at that first grand prix at Silverstone in 1977 were: 500cc – Pat Hennen (Suzuki), 350cc & 250cc – Kork Ballington (Yamaha), 125cc – Pierluigi Conforti (Morbidelli).
• The original circuit layout used for the grand prix from 1977 to 1986 was 2.93 miles long (4.71 km) and the fastest lap in a race at the circuit during this time was set by Kenny Roberts riding a Yamaha in 1983 at an average speed of 119.5 mph (192.2 km/h).
• The British grand prix was held for ten successive years at the Silverstone circuit, before the event moved to Donington Park in 1987. The British GP returned to Silverstone in 2010 with a revised circuit layout measuring 5.9 km.
• Kork Ballington and Angel Nieto are the two riders with most GP victories at Silverstone, each having won there on six occasions.
• The only three riders who have had more than a single victory at Silverstone since GP racing returned to the circuit in 2010 are Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Maverick Viñales. Lorenzo has won the MotoGP™ race there three times: 2010, 2012 & 2013; Marquez won the 125cc race in 2010 and the MotoGP race in 2014; Viñales won the Moto3 race in 2012 and the MotoGP race last year.
• Cal Crutchlow’s second place last year was the first podium finish in the premier-class at Silverstone by a British rider since Ron Haslam finished third in the 500cc GP race in 1984.
• Before Crutchlow’s second place finish last year the last British rider to be on the podium in the premier-class at the British Grand Prix was when Jeremy McWilliams finished third in the 500cc race at Donington in 2000.
• Yamaha have won four of the seven MotoGP™ races that have taken place at Silverstone, the last of which was two years ago with Valentino Rossi
• Honda have had two MotoGP™ victories at Silverstone, with Casey Stoner in 2011 and Marc Marquez in 2014.
• Last year at Silverstone Maverick Viñales gave Suzuki their first MotoGP™ win since Le Mans in 2007 when Chris Vermeulen won the wet French GP. This was also the first podium finish at Silverstone in the MotoGP era for Suzuki and the first win for Suzuki at Silverstone since Franco Uncini won the 500cc race at the British GP in 1982.
• The only podium finishes for Ducati at Silverstone came in 2015 – second place finish for Danilo Petrucci and third for Andrea Dovizioso.
• Three British riders have won a solo grand prix race at Silverstone; Danny Kent won the Moto3™ race in 2015, Scott Redding won the Moto2™ race in 2013 and Ian McConnachie won in the 80cc class back in 1986.
• Only three British riders have started from pole at Silverstone, across all solo GP classes; Barry Sheene in the 500cc class in 1977, Sam Lowes in Moto2 in 2015 & 2016, and Cal Crutchlow in the MotoGP class last year.
• The seven Moto2™ races that have taken place at Silverstone have been won by seven different riders: 2010 – Jules Cluzel, 2011 – Stefan Bradl, 2012 – Pol Espargaro, 2013 – Scott Redding, 2014 – Tito Rabat, 2015 – Johann Zarco, 2016 – Tom Luthi. Of these riders only Luthi is still competing in the Moto2 class.
• Five different riders have won the five Moto3 races that have taken place at Silverstone: 2012 – Maverick Viñales, 2013 – Luis Salom, 2014 – Alex Rins, 2015 – Danny Kent, 2016 – Brad Binder.
THE FIGHT CONTINUES AT ANCIENT BATTLEGROUND
The battle for the 2017 MotoGP™ World Championship crosses the English Channel to Silverstone for the Octo British Grand Prix on Sunday. The fast flat 3.666 miles circuit should provide the perfect battleground for a title chase that has enthralled record crowds in the previous 11 rounds of total action and drama.
Italian Andrea Dovizioso returns to the track that he loves after that amazing victory over World Champion and championship leader Marc Marquez in Austria last week, although the Ducati have not got the greatest record at the Northamptonshire circuit. Their only two MotoGP podium finishes came a couple of years ago when Danilo Petrucci was second and Dovizioso third behind the Movistar Yamaha of Valentino Rossi but it’s a different story for the factory Ducati team this season. Dovizioso has become a real title contender with his three grands prix wins pushing him into second place 16 points behind Marquez who has also won three times. The Spanish Repsol Honda rider has won a couple of times at Silverstone, in the 125 cc class in 2010 and three years ago in MotoGP and he faces a bevy of ex winners in the 20 lap race. Last year Maverick Vinales brought Suzuki victory and this year on the Movistar Yamaha has won three times but slipped to third in the Championship, eight points behind Dovizioso, after finishing sixth in Austria. His team-mate Valentino Rossi, a Silverstone winner two years ago, is a further nine points adrift with Dani Pedrosa breathing down his neck after seven podium finishes in the last nine races.
Dovizioso’s Ducati team-mate Jorge Lorenzo chases just his second podium finish after his switch from Yamaha. He brought Yamaha three Silverstone victories and finished fourth in Austria and will be pushing to return to the podium. Double Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco has made a sensational start to his MotoGP career and returns to the track where he won the Moto2 race a couple of years ago. The French Monster Tech3 Yamaha rider is sixth in the World Championship, two places in front of his team-mate Jonas Folger who’s made an equally impressive MotoGP debut.
Cal Crutchlow will always be a threat with the support of the home crowd. The LCR Honda rider finished second last year and started from pole and keep an eye on Petrucci riding the Octo Pramac Ducati especially if the weather turns wet.
Last year’s Moto2™ winner Tom Luthi returns to Silverstone knowing he must put on a repeat performance to halt championship leader Franco Morbidelli, but it will not be easy. The Italian Estrella Galicia Marc VDS rider won his seventh grand prix of the season in Austria to open up a 26 point lead over the Swiss rider but there will be other challengers. His team-mate Alex Marquez finished second in Austria, Italian veteran Mattia Pasini has started from pole in the last two races while the KTM duo of Miquel Oliviera, who crashed in Austria and last year’s Moto3™ winner Brad Binder will be a podium threat.
Spanish teenager Joan Mir is running away in the Moto3™ Championship battle before joining Moto2 next year. The Leopard Racing Honda rider is 64 points in front of Romano Fenati after winning his third successive grand prix in Austria, his seventh of the season. There have been some amazing Moto3 races this season and when you throw in the likes of Aaron Canet, Jorge Martin, Fabio di Giannantonio, John McPhee and a host of others the 17 lap race on Sunday should be no exception.
BT SPORT 2
Friday 25 August: 9.00 – 16.00
Saturday 26 August: 9.00 – 16.15
Sunday 27 August: 9.45 – 17.30
Highlights Wednesday 30 August 12.00
talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.