Doing a lap of the full Grand Prix circuit at Silverstone can be a pretty daunting task. It’s a fast and flowing circuit with a couple of really technical sections, very fast bends and some of the highest top speeds of the entire MotoGP calendar. Doing a lap of Silverstone perched on the very small pillion seat of a Fireblade desperately clinging to Cal Crutchlow is a whole other type of fear indeed…
It all started, as many things do, with a joking conversation in our office. ‘Silverstone are having a press launch for the British Grand Prix, what can we do the that’s a little different,’ my boss asked? And next thing you know, I’m standing beside a manically grinning Crutchlow dressed in a brand new (and still very stiff) set of Alpinestars leaders wondering if I’m brave or mad.
Yet rolling out of pit lane at the international pits at Silverstone, it becomes clear pretty quickly that he’s not out to scare me but to educate me instead. And if you’re not used to the sheer physical strength required to wrestle a bike around the full 3.6 miles of a track like the home of the British Grand Prix, even sitting on pillion immediately puts it into perspective.
From both the sheer power and the speed with which the LCR Honda rider can dial it in on corner exit (all the way to an indicated 148mph on the dash of the Fireblade) to the aggressiveness his late braking even with our combined 27 stone perched on the really rather slender bike, it becomes very tiring very quickly.
But while I was happy with the lap and a half that we completed (and ‘dear god no more please’ as I was thinking at the time), I did walk away only slightly weak kneed with a new appreciation for just how hard a 20-lap race must be!
Pick up this week's MCN for an extensive, 36-page British Grand Prix preview featuring exclusive interviews with Rossi, Marquez and Lorenzo, a hot lap with Cal Crutchlow and the tech secrets between Marquez' championship-leading Honda.
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