Two topics always highlight the British Grand Prix MotoGP pre-race press conference – weather and motorcycle setup. Both work together; the less time in one setup due to weather the less advantage for the rider.These talks once again highlighted Thursday’s conference at the 3.67-mile Silverstone Circuit, which hosts Sunday’s round 12 of 18. In attendance were the usual riders – two-time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pair of Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. These three were joined by the man who earned his first MotoGP win two weeks ago at Brno, LCR Honda Independent Rider Cal Crutchlow, along with two Ducati pilots – PULL&BEAR Aspar Team’s Eugene Laverty and Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera.
Marquez, who is third in points behind Rossi and leader Lorenzo, was the first to talk. Marquez crashed out of last year’s wet race, which was won by Rossi, but has a single win there in the dry. He is hoping the weather remains sunny like it was on Thursday.“I hope Sunday is like today,” Marquez says. “On this circuit in the dry I feel good, every year I’ve been competitive. I know Jorge is fast too but we’ll focus on us, in our garage. If it’s wet, then we’ll try and manage how we have in the recent races.”The reigning MotoGP Champion Lorenzo, who leads the championship with 330 points – five ahead of Rossi, has three wins in the dry. But he will be prepared for the wet if needed.“From the beginning in 2010, I felt very good here,” says Lorenzo, who took victory in 2010, 2012 and 2013 at the British GP. “Last year in the rain I was fourth – but not so far from the win so it wasn’t a bad race. Silverstone is a good track for the Yamaha, and I think also for my riding style. Very long and with different corners – so let’s see if this year with the Michelins and the new electronics we can be as competitive as in the last few years. I think we have potential to win in the dry, and little by little we’ll focus on improving my feeling in the wet.”Though Rossi won last year during the wet 2015 British Grand Prix, he says Silverstone is one of the most difficult tracks. After getting closer to a 10th World Title with a second-place finish at Brno, Rossi will seek another podium.“This track is one of the most difficult for me during the season,” Rossi says. “In 2010 I wasn’t here, it was difficult with Ducati and the feeling with the track wasn’t fantastic – but it’s getting better year by year. Last year the victory was good but it was in the rain, and in the dry Marquez and Lorenzo were faster than me. So we need to understand the track and the secrets. In the last years I was always quite strong in the wet, but personally – like the majority of the riders – I prefer the dry. Also because it’s more fun!”Next to talk was Crutchlow, who along with Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Racing’s Jack Miller was the only Independent Team winner in 2016. And both races were held under wet conditions.Home favorite Crutchlow made history at Brno two weeks ago; he not only earned his first-ever MotoGP win, but also the first for a British rider since Barry Sheene back in 1981.“Hopefully this weekend we can get a good result,” smiled the Englishman. “This year there are a lot of people who can be competitive in wet and dry…but I hope it’s dry. Everyone thinks now I want a wet race but I really hope it’s dry!”Crutchlow claimed the win only days after the birth of his daughter: “I came back to reality when I had to go home and feed the baby!” grinned the LCR Honda rider. “No partying, with the test the day after the race in Brno too…but I’ve turned up here at Silverstone and it seems created a lot of chaos after the win! It’s fantastic for the riders and the championship to see so many people coming to the race.”Though he has yet to win a race, Independent Points leader Barbera is up for the challenge at Silverstone: “I like England because I got my first win here, but I also love Silverstone. Maybe in the wet it would be easier for Independent Team riders…so maybe wet would be better for us. But I have more confidence in every race as my confidence is coming back, and I think nowadays I’m a faster rider.”Laverty, who returns to World Superbike in 2016 with SMR Aprilia, is seeking a wet race to get some results like his sixth at Brno.“Brno was great, to just be a few seconds behind Marc and in sight of the podium was fantastic,” says Laverty. “So here I want it to be wet, because you never know what could happen. This is one of my favorite tracks in the UK, it seems to suit my riding style and combined with the Ducati engine I think we can be strong.”The MotoGP grid will be on the Silverstone circuit Friday for two Free Practice sessions ahead of Saturday qualifying and Sunday’s 20-lap race.Save
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This week, in the first segment Editor Don Williams talks to us about the new Kawasaki Versys 650 LT. It’s the middleweight ADV style machine that uses the same 650 parallel twin motor as the Ninja 650, so it’s an excellent performer in a user-friendly, good looking package.
In the second segment, I chat with one of my dearest industry friends—now retired Honda PR executive, Jon Seidel. Jon’s fascinating career spans some 30 years with Big Red, and gave him some great experiences with some incredible machines. I was fortunate enough to be invited on many of the press launches that he organized. His new project is documenting and saving many of the old archives from years gone by—and incidentally, if you have anything that may be of value to the project, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it all on to Jon.
So on that note, from all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode!