The following is from Honda…Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) travel to Silverstone aiming to build on their first double podium of the year at Mugello two weeks ago.Pedrosa’s stunning start-to-finish victory and Dovizioso’s strong ride to third place indicate that Honda’s MotoGP challenge is growing. With four races done and 14 to go, Pedrosa is now running second overall, 25 points behind World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).Both Pedrosa and Dovizioso have good form on British tarmac, Pedrosa having scored the second win of his MotoGP career in Britain and Dovizioso winning his maiden MotoGP success at a damp Donington Park last year.The 2010 World Championship status quo was disrupted at Mugello when reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) fell heavily during practice, sustaining a broken leg which will put him out for much of the season. The title exit of Rossi – who had been a close second overall on points – left team-mate Lorenzo well ahead in the points chase, but Pedrosa’s dominant Mugello pole position, race victory and lap record reignited his bid for the 2010 MotoGP crown.Pedrosa and Dovizioso have been gradually improving their V4 machines by honing engine, electronics, chassis and suspension set-up to the point where the teams believes it is now ready to challenge for regular victories. This weekend’s British Grand Prix will be a particular challenge for the MotoGP paddock, since the sport hasn’t visited the track since 1986. Between 1987 and
2009 the British GP was held at Donington Park.The only current MotoGP riders who have competed at Silverstone are Colin Edwards (Yamaha), who contested the 2002 World Superbike round at the track, and Casey Stoner (Ducati), who raced there in his British championship days. Nevertheless, the circuit is much changed since their last visits.Silverstone is one of the world’s most historic racing venues. The Northamptonshire track became the first mainland home of the British Grand Prix in 1977 after the notorious Isle of Man TT circuit was deemed too dangerous for Grand Prix competition. The TT circuit had been the venue for the very first World Championship 500 Grand Prix race on June 17 1949. Silverstone began life in 1943 as a training airbase for RAF bomber crews. It hosted its first car race in 1948, its first motorcycle event the following summer and in 1950 the first-ever Formula 1 car Grand Prix.Using the perimeter road of the RAF base for its original layout, Silverstone has always been a fast and open racetrack; so much so that the 80cc lap record established at the track’s last 80cc GP in 1986 stands at 164.39km/h (102.17mph), which compares to the current Donington Park MotoGP lap record held by Pedrosa at 163.253km/h (101.441mph). Recent and extensive redevelopment of the circuit includes a new infield section made up of mostly slow-speed speed corners, but the circuit owners predict that the latest MotoGP machines will match or better the old circuit lap record, set by King Kenny Roberts (Yamaha) in 1983 at 192.27km/h (119.47mph).Like the Repsol Honda duo, Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) had a great weekend at Mugello, continuing a strong run of form that started with sixth place in the season-opening Qatar GP. At Mugello he fought for fourth place, confirming his current position as top privateer rider in the MotoGP World Championship.Team-mates Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) come to Britain in optimistic mood after strong showings at Mugello. Melandri was another rider playing a starring role in the thrilling three-way battle for fourth place, a ride that suggests he has turned something of a corner with his RC212V machine.And rookie Simoncelli would have been involved in the same contest – and thus in the running for the best MotoGP result so far – if he hadn’t had an off-track excursion on the first lap. Like his fellow rookies, Simoncelli is hoping the fact that the new Silverstone circuit is new for everyone will reduce the disadvantage he suffers at other circuits, where the more experienced MotoGP riders are already several steps ahead from the start of Friday practice.Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) feels exactly the same way and feels he is ready to get back in the fight for a top ten finish. At Mugello the reigning 250 World Champ qualified inside the top ten but struggled in the race and finished just outside.The Moto2 World Championship makes its first visit to northern Europe this weekend, with the brand new series expected to serve up plenty of action for British fans. In Italy a fortnight ago Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up) produced a very unusual kind of Moto2 victory, leading from start to finish, steadily building his advantage throughout the race. Usually the contest for Moto2 victories is much more frantic, with several riders swapping positions every other corner. All riders in the Moto2 World Championship use identical Honda CBR600 engines – supplied by the series organisers – which usually guarantees extremely close competition.Although Iannone did escape out front at Mugello, the competition for the remaining 14 points-scoring positions was indeed close and hectic. That’s one reason why Jerez and Le Mans winner Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) found himself down in fifth place at the finish, just six tenths of a second behind runner-up Sergio Gadea (Tenerife 40 Pons, Pons Kalex). Despite his worst result of the season so far, Elias comes to Silverstone still heading the championship, 19 points ahead of Qatar Moto2 winner Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter) who had tough weekends at the last two GPs in France and Italy.Simone Corsi (JiR Moto2, Motobi) on the other hand has made the most forward progress at the two most recent races, scoring third-place finishes at Le Mans and Mugello to move into third overall, just four points behind Tomizawa. Iannone’s first win and first podium in Moto2 moved him to fifth overall behind Gadea.Marcel Schrötter (Interwetten Honda 125) has made an impressive start to his first full season of GP racing taking two points scoring finishes from the four races. With the circuit new to all teams and riders the young German will start practice on even terms with his rivals, a real bonus for him as he will not have to play catch up on machine set up for the race.Honda riders had an impressive record at Silverstone towards the end of its tenure as home to the British motorcycle Grand Prix in the mid-1980s. The last three premier-class races at the track were won by riders using Honda’s NSR500 V4 two-stroke: Randy Mamola in 1984, Freddie Spencer in 1985 and Wayne Gardner in 1986. Honda riders who won premier-class races at Donington include Gardner (1992), Mick Doohan (1995, 1996 and 1997), Alex Crivillé (1999), Valentino Rossi (2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005), Pedrosa (2006) and Dovizioso (2009). Going further back in time, Honda won Isle of Man premier-class glory with Mike Hailwood in 1966 and 1967.HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTESRepsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa says: “We arrive at Silverstone in good shape after the victory in Mugello. We had a very good weekend in Italy and myself and the team need to make the most of it to maintain this momentum. I cannot say much about Silverstone. I’ve seen some races on video from the past to check the circuit a little bit, but they have made some changes and I think the layout is also a bit different compared to Formula One, so we will need to find out for ourselves. From what I’ve seen I can say it’s a fast circuit, high speed overall, with many right-hand corners which are taken with the throttle open. It looks like an old-fashioned circuit, maybe comparable to Assen before they shortened it. We will start on Friday without prior knowledge, but it’s the same for everyone so I hope we can adapt as quickly as possible to prepare for the race. We will have three races in a row now – Britain, Holland and Catalunya – and it will be very important not to make mistakes and to maintain consistency in the results.”Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso says: “I’m really excited to go to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix. We used to race at Donington Park, which was a track that I really liked and where only myself and Valentino had won in all the Grand Prix classes – 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP. But despite this I’m very much looking forward to Silverstone. It’s a new track for everyone and we have no previous reference data for the circuit, which gives us one more challenge for the race weekend. From the layout, it seems a very fast track and this could be favourable for our RC212V, but we will have to wait and see firsthand to get a true idea of how we’re going to perform. We arrive at this race in very good shape, with three podiums from four races, and we’re feeling especially good after the podium at Mugello – my home race – because this was really significant for me. Now we have to take another step forward because on Sunday I want to fight for the win.”LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet says: “We will continue working the way we have worked at the last few races in an effort to keep scoring good results and get even closer to the front guys. It will be interesting going to a new circuit, which no one knows. I don’t really know what to expect at Silverstone, except that some of the sections are quite fast. I have also heard from some people that the old tarmac is quite bumpy. Of course, what we really hope is that the weather stays okay all weekend, because the last few years we have quite often had rain for the British race.”San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri says: “Silverstone will be an interesting race because it’s a new track for everybody so we’ll have to see what happens. Also, nobody ever knows what will happen with the weather in England. The last couple of races have been positive for me despite some difficulties during practice so I hope we can make a solid start on Friday and make progress throughout the weekend. I was really happy after the race at Mugello because I had a good fight with Stoner and de Puniet although if I’d have qualified two rows further forward the result would have been even better. Now the goal is to improve on that.”San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli says: “To be honest I really liked Donington so I’m disappointed we don’t get to race there anymore although I am looking forward to going to Silverstone, a circuit I don’t know, and seeing how we get on. I haven’t even seen Silverstone on a videogame so it is completely new to me. I go there in good spirits though because we made a significant improvement at Mugello and I want to continue in the same way. I feel confident and eager to have a similar race to Mugello, except this time without mistakes and with a top five or six finish at the end of it – that would be great! I was satisfied with my race in Italy but I know that my pace was fast enough to be in the group fighting for fourth place. We have taken a positive step forward and it is also good to see Honda winning again because it shows how well they are working in Japan and hopefully some of that will pass on to us.”Interwetten Honda MotoGP rider Hiroshi Aoyama says: “I think my feeling on this track will be a better one as none of us had ever gained any experience there, not even for testing. I don´t have an idea of the track yet, but I think it is pretty fast and it has many fast corners.
Therefore the set up of the bike is very important. We did not such a bad job in Mugello, but at the end I could not get the result we should have had there. I want to try in Silverstone again to be more up in front and to break this top ten mark. This would give my team the result they deserve after all the hard work of the last races.”Moto2 RIDER QUOTESTechnomag-CIP rider Shoya Tomizawa says: “I am looking forward to discovering another new track, especially because Silverstone will be new for everyone. We will all start from zero this weekend, so that will make the three days very interesting. As always, I will work with my crew to get the best-possible set-up, and then I will give my maximum in the race. Mugello showed how tough Moto2 can be – I was only one second behind the rider who finished in second place, but I was sixth!”Gresini Racing Moto2 rider Toni Elias says: “I’m still a little bit disappointed with fifth place at Mugello. It was definitely not an easy weekend for us there and the result was positive considering the fact that we took a point more than Tomizawa, I rode a clever race, but it is still playing on my mind. It is a competitive field and it is easy to drop positions so I hope we can make it the worst result of the season – that would be perfect. We go to Silverstone with the hunger and desire to win again. I only know the track from playing the F1 game on the PlayStation, although it has been slightly modified for this weekend so it is a new track for everybody. It is the first of three races in a row so it will be important to perform consistently.”JiR Moto2 rider Simone Corsi says: “The team has been working really hard all year, so it’s fantastic for everyone involved to see that the results are now coming. We have made the podium at the last two races, but of course, now we want more. We want to be fighting at the front for the win. But I think consistency is the most important thing in this new championship, so that is our priority. Silverstone should be interesting – it is a legendary racetrack and also pretty fast. As usual, there will be a big fight in Moto2!”The following is from Yamaha…A somewhat depleted Fiat Yamaha Team lands on British shores this week, with championship leader Jorge Lorenzo the team’s sole representative following Valentino Rossi’s injury at Mugello. Silverstone plays host Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing for the first time since 1986 and the riders and teams are looking forward to getting their first look at the modified track.Lorenzo has had a stunning start to the season, with two wins and two second places under his belt and a championship lead of 25 points from Dani Pedrosa. The 23-year-old has a strong following in Great Britain, having won there in 2006, and is keen to take his first premier-class win on British soil after crashing out of the lead at Donington last year. On Wednesday Lorenzo will get a taste of a sport that is entirely alien to him as a Spaniard when he meets the British media at Lord’s, the world-famous cricket ground in London.The British fans adopted Rossi as one of their own when he lived in London for several years and will be devastated that the Italian will not be racing this weekend. They will be cheered however by the news that he is recovering well at his house in Italy after breaking his leg at his home round and that he has confirmed that he will be back racing just as soon as he is returned to full fitness. The Fiat Yamaha Team will set his garage up as usual and his two YZR-M1s will be there for the fans to see.Silverstone straddles the Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire borders and was first used for impromptu car racing in 1947, when it was no more than a disused airfield. It is most famous as the home of the British Formula One Grand Prix, which was first held there in 1948 and has been contested at the track every year since 1987. Silverstone is no stranger to bike racing, with the 500cc machines having raced there from 1977 to 1986, but it has undergone extensive alterations in the past year with remodeled sections and faster, sweeping corners to tailor it to the 800cc MotoGP machines.”I WANT TO KEEP IMPROVING”Jorge Lorenzo”After Mugello we arrive at Silverstone, a track that none of us know! I will do some laps with the scooter on Thursday; I don’t always do this but I think it’s very important because so far I’ve only seen the track on the Play Station and it’s changed quite a lot. My aim is once again to get on the podium, but I was disappointed after Mugello and I want to do a better race in England. I am happy with my lead in the standings but I want to keep improving and this weekend we will try to find some more traction for my M1. Last week I went to the Isle of Man to see the TT, which was an incredible experience and I even rode a lap, but quite slowly! On Wednesday I will go to Lord’s Cricket Ground for a press conference and it will be the first time I’ve seen cricket, because we don’t play in Spain. I think it will be interesting to discover this sport, and maybe even play! Finally I want to send again my best wishes to Valentino, I am glad he is recovering well and we will miss him in these busy weeks.””AN EXCITING NEW TRACK”Wilco Zeelenberg”We’ve had a great start to the season and it is exciting to be leading the championship at this stage. Now we head to a new track for MotoGP and personally I am looking forward to it as I raced there myself when I was younger! The track has been changed quite a bit but it looks like it’s going to be great for our bikes so we’re looking forward to Friday. Of course our team will miss Valentino but we wish him all the best and look forward to having him back as soon as possible.”The following is from Ducati…The MotoGP World Championship visits the first of two new circuits for 2010 – the other being Aragon, Spain – this weekend as the historical circuit of Silverstone returns to the motorcycle Grand Prix calendar. The Northamptonshire track has previously hosted the British Grand Prix on no fewer than ten occasions, from 1977 to 1986, before switching to Donington Park in 1987, where it remained up until last year.Much, if not everything, has changed since those days. The track itself has been vastly updated, as have the pit garages, circuit infrastructure and the grandstands. Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden, who were given a warm reception by the thousands of Ducatisti present at WDW last Saturday, cannot wait to discover the ‘new’ Silverstone. The Australian actually raced on the old layout in 2000 and 2001 when he was competing in the British Championship and he is looking forward to experiencing the special atmosphere of this legendary motorsport venue once again.On Wednesday Nicky Hayden will be attending a pre-event press conference in London, at the famous Lord’s Cricket Ground, alongside series leader Jorge Lorenzo, and British riders Bradley Smith, Scott Redding and Danny Webb.CASEY STONER, Ducati Marlboro Team
“I am really pleased that MotoGP is going to Silverstone. I raced there when I was living in England, before I started in the World Championship, but not on the current layout, which has been changed a lot for this year and there is really only one section left that I know. Anyway, it will be a fast circuit, one of the fastest on the calendar, and one of the most spectacular and I’m sure there’ll be a great atmosphere. I can’t wait to go there because I have always preferred Silvertsone to Donington Park. I think it will be more fun for the riders and for the fans too.”NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Marlboro Team
“I like the idea of going to a new track – it is exciting and it’s a challenge for the riders and for the team. I have seen a video of the track and obviously the team have the layout, which we have looked at together and talked about what gear ratios we might need, things like that. It looks like a fast track and we have a fast bike so that is a positive start. We have an intense run of races coming up and even though unfortunately the race at Mugello didn’t go to plan we did a good job in practice there and we’ll be looking to do the same thing here.”VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
“As far as I’m concerned this is the first time that the team goes to race at a new track so that will be a new experience for me. On paper Silverstone appears very fast and this is a characteristic that both the riders and the bike will enjoy but, having said that, there are certain variables that we have to bear in mind. From the weather, that forecasts say will be good but in England you never know, to the nature of the circuit, the asphalt, and how quickly we’ll be able to find the right set-up. At Mugello last week we worked on some new set-up solutions that we may try at Silverstone or, depending on circumstances, during future race weekends”.THE TRACK
Silverstone is located within a small village, of a little over 2,000 inhabitants, in the county of Northamptonshire. After almost quarter of a century at Donington Park, MotoGP returns to Silverstone this weekend for the first time since 1986. The circuit has changed dramatically in accordance with safety measures for the riders and spectators and was recently the subject of further updates to the track layout, garage complex and grandstands. The ‘new’ Silverstone was officially opened on 29th April 2010. It promises to be one of the fastest and most spectacular circuits on the calendar and should be very popular amongst the majority of MotoGP riders.