The New Silverstone
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP riders Loris Capirossi and Alvaro Bautista were at Silverstone on Thursday (06 May), to check out the highly-rated new Grand Prix Circuit that will host the AirAsia British Grand Prix on 18-20 June.
The two riders, team-mates at MotoGP’s only UK-based team, were joined by BBC presenters Steve Parrish and Jennie Gow, Worx Crescent Suzuki British Superbike Team rider Tommy Hill and famous faces from the world of music – namely Prodigy frontman Keith Flint and Stereophonics bass player Richie Jones – as they all got an opportunity to experience a number of laps around the super-fast new circuit.
Loris Capirossi says: "The layout is really interesting and not so easy, but it’s beautiful – if a bit bumpy in places. I think it’s really interesting to do the race at Silverstone. It is completely different compared to Donington – this is a really quick track and I think for MotoGP it’s great. It’s really, really wide, so not so easy to find the best line to go quick, which is good. For sure we have many places that we can overtake."
Alvaro Bautista says: "It is very nice, very quick. I like very much. Some very fast, some hard braking and slow corners. It will be very interesting to see in June. A lot of fifth and sixth gear corners so I am looking forward to it. Sure, will be very close race, we are only 17 but we are very close in times and so I think will be a very fighting race and I hope [I] will be fighting with them."
Tommy Hill provided Jennie Gow with an opportunity to experience a few laps of her own around the new track, taking the new BBC presenter for a pillion ride around the 3.66 mile circuit.
The Worx Crescent Suzuki rider is looking forward to getting his teeth stuck into the new circuit when the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship heads to Silverstone on 25/26 September, "Mega track – really good", beamed Hill.
Tommy Hill says: "I can’t wait to get there now for BSB! It’ll be good because at the moment, the thing is with the British circuits, believe it or not it is quite hard to pass – so this track looks good. There are a lot of places to make the moves."
You come to Silverstone and they’ve moved forward. I came in this morning and I was shocked to see how much work was still going on – it’s good to see. I’m looking forward to getting in and racing here."
BBC commentator Steve Parrish, who got to ride around the new circuit on the RG500 he rode in the 1977 Silverstone British Grand Prix, had been consulted on the circuit’s layout and was pleased that the track matched his expectations.
Steve Parrish says: "Excellent! I have to say I’m still learning it – it’s going to be one of those circuits that will take time to learn, which is great because that makes it more interesting. I love the old Woodcote. I just remember it – it’s like being here 25 years ago when I used to race here. It’s a proper man’s corner. And the left section (Farm Curve) before Village, again very, very interesting -terrific corner."
Bridgestone are going to have to do their sums because it’s going to be hard on tires, which again is really good because it means that it’s about which rider can control their tyre wear as much as anything else. Straight away I can think of five different places I can pass – I don’t think any other circuit [offers] that many places to pass.
"The facilities are also impressive. Terrific run-off areas – very, very safe. And even riding around,you’re looking thinking – ‘wow’ the spectators are going to have a great view. There are certain areas you can just imagine it – Pedrosa, Rossi, Stoner coming flying into the Luffield section, through Brooklands, Luffield and all round there. There are so many places to watch from. I think everyone’s going to have a ball here and really enjoy it."
Suzuki bike owners Keith Flint and Richie Jones were also invited to join the team as guests on the day, leaving their microphones and guitars at home. Both musicians are experienced riders and loved the opportunity to join the MotoGP riders on track.
Keith Flint says: "The new track is awesome. It’s incredible, it really is incredible", said Flint. "It just enthuses you to ride faster and attack it, and attack it and it feels so smooth. It’s awesome, it’s incredible. I mean following Loris round on those laps – I’m as happy as I could ever be, it’s the biggest buzz ever. It’s incredible."
"I enjoy motor sport. I think we should embrace it and we should be more aware of how important the UK has been in the history of motor sport – building engines and chassis and putting race cars together here. We should have circuits to match. It’s a real buzz, an absolute honour!"
Richie Jones says: "I thought it was amazing", commented Jones. "I’ve ridden the old Silverstone Grand Prix track twice in the past and it’s a big improvement, especially where those chicanes were. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got lost a bit because it’s so big. I also gave myself a few scares, but that’s what you’re supposed to get out of a track. Hopefully, I’ll be here for MotoGP if work commitments allow."
Tickets for the AirAsia British Grand Prix are on sale 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For further information, up-to-date availability and to purchase tickets visit www.silverstone.co.uk, or call 0844 3750 500. For information on official hospitality packages, call the UK at 0844 3728 230.