Brits excited after checking out Silverstone revamp

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British Grand Prix trio Bradley Smith, Scott Redding and Danny Webb have spoken of their excitement and anticipation ahead of this year’s Silverstone MotoGP clash.

Smith, Redding and Webb all got their first opportunity to check out the multi-million pound redevelopment of the Northamptonshire venue yesterday (Wednesday) ahead of the big race on June 20.

Work on the massive revamp of Silverstone, which will host its first MotoGP race in over 20 years in the summer, is well underway to construct the new Arena circuit.

Silverstone has invested more than £5 million on its new, super fast bike circuit, with work on a dramatic new section of track and significant improvements to spectator viewing facilities scheduled for completion in March.

Modifications to the track will make Silverstone one of the fastest and longest circuits in the world.

Changes include a new section of track running from Abbey corner up to the ‘Arena complex’, promising multiple overtaking opportunities.

The circuit then links up with the ‘National Straight’ before re-joining the original Grand Prix circuit at ‘Brooklands’.

The other significant change is the removal of the chicane at ‘Woodcote’. With grandstands being moved to accommodate an increased run off area, the riders will now be able to power through ‘Woodcote’ and attack ‘Pits Straight’ at full speed.

Away from the track, Silverstone is making a number of improvements to its spectator viewing areas.

In addition to constructing elevated viewing banks, existing grandstands and fence lines are also being moved to bring fans closer to the on-track action.

Work that commenced in mid-November has already seen 180,000 tonnes of earth moved around the circuit, of which 50,000 tonnes has been used (to date) to elevate banks and improve spectator-viewing areas.

All of the earth is being reused, so nothing has been taken off-site So far 8,000 tonnes of tarmac has been laid and 6,000 metres of Armco has been erected.

Aspar Aprilia rider Smith, who finished second in the 125GP world championship in 2009, told MCN: “It is amazing to see the hard work and effort that Silverstone is doing to make sure we have a British GP that we can proud of.

“I think without doubt Silverstone is going to put something together that British motorcycling can put to the whole world and be proud of.

“They are working seven days a week to make sure it is going to be ready and I can’t wait to come back and actually race on it in June. Looking at the track it should be one of the best tracks in the world.

“I can already tell it is going to be fast and it is going to be quite technical as well with some interesting sections.

“Everybody thinks that Phillip Island and Mugello are technical tracks but Silverstone should match them and be a real challenge for the riders.

“It should be a real good race too because to breakaway at a track like this will be really difficult.

“So hopefully the fans are going to see some close racing and that is what we all want. Hopefully with a Brit on top of the podium as well.”

Redding, who will be the lone British entry in the new Moto2 600cc class in 2010, said: “It’s going to be fast by the looks of it and I guess it is going to be a case of who has got the biggest balls on a Moto2 bike because we’re all on the same engine.”

Redding created history when he became the youngest rider to win a Grand Prix at Donington Park in 2008. And he claimed his only other 125GP podium at the Leicestershire circuit last season.

So is he confident of maintaining his 100 per cent British GP podium record at Silverstone?

He added: “I can’t see why I can’t keep my run going at Silverstone. I had some unbelievable success at Donington but I’m sure I can make it three in a row.”

Webb, who is riding for the Spanish-based WRB squad told MCN: “They are certainly doing a lot of work when you look at the circuit as it is now and it should be great. A lot of it looks like it will be flat-out on a 125 so that is going to be fun.

“We all race for the adrenaline rush and Silverstone looks like it is going to deliver that.

“I had some awful luck at Donington so hopefully a change will help spark a change in my fortunes as well.

“I just can’t wait to see the circuit finished and we can come and have a go. Potentially though it will be a brilliant track for the riders and fans.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt