The official AirAsia British Grand Prix press conference took place at the Silverstone circuit on Thursday, with the most frenetic part of the MotoGP season underway with the first back-to-back race weekends of 2011. The race is the second visit to Silverstone since the British circuit was reinstated on the calendar in 2010.
Last year’s race winner and defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo is hoping to regain some of the pace he experienced here when he landed a stunning victory from pole position in his first outing at the circuit in his title-winning campaign.
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing M1 MotoGP) says: "I raced aggressively; technically it was the best race of last year. I think this year we are missing some tenths, so maybe at this track I can recover (them)."
Casey Stoner, winner of the last GP race in Catalunya, described his performance at Silverstone last year.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "Last year I really enjoyed this circuit, I had a pretty good pace but unfortunately I had a clutch problem at the start and I didn’t know if I would be able to finish the race at the start, so I was a little too cautious.
"Eventually by the end of the race I was able to catch up, but I had I had some arm pump issue at the end which affected me. But we showed that other than Jorge, we were the fastest out there."
Stoner is second in the Championship, and knows that anything can happen this early in the season.
Casey Stoner says: "We have a lot of races, and it’s a long season, right now Jorge is the championship leader. We’ll have to see what we can do, he can extend his lead at any moment so we have to try to take back as many points as we can."
This will be the first race for Valentino Rossi at the British circuit, as the Italian rider missed the British GP last year due to the injuries suffered in a crash at Mugello, though he recently attended the inauguration ceremony for the new paddock structure at Silverstone circuit, making the most of his visit.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP11 MotoGP) says: "I was here one month ago to do some laps to understand the track. I did some laps with a normal street bike with a plate and mirrors. It looks very difficult; it has all types of corners, and goes from tight corners to long and fast straights."
Responding to how the race will go this weekend, Rossi admitted that they will have to work hard.
Valentino Rossi says: "Our level is not at the maximum and in Barcelona I was not too far but the Hondas and Yamahas are faster than us. I need to improve my riding style on the Desmosedici, together with improving the bike because we need to fix some problems."
Andrea Dovizioso, who sits third in the Championship, took another step forward in Catalunya in terms of race pace and has his sights set on a podium at Silverstone.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "I’m happy about the season, we have had a podium, but fourth in Barcelona wasn’t the target, but it was good. Our target is higher than fourth, but we are close."
The Silverstone race is the all-important home round for rookie Cal Crutchlow, and the 25 year-old is eagerly anticipating his first appearance at the British Grand Prix. Crutchlow set pole position, fastest lap and delivered a double win in the superbike race at the circuit last year.
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1 MotoGP) says: "It’s good to come home, and knowing this track is going to save me a little bit of time. I don’t think it’s going to be that easy this weekend, but I’ll try my best. I want to do the best job I can."
On Wednesday, seven British riders competing in the Moto2 and 125cc categories, together with Zulfami Khairuddin from Malaysia and Marcel Schrotter of Germany, enjoyed a bus tour through central London, in a promotional event organised for the Silverstone race this weekend.