Trackday riders got their first taste of the newly-resurfaced Silverstone last week, with everyone from circuit regulars to former MotoGP stars praising the track’s incredible smoothness and grip.
The circuit underwent a full resurfacing back in June, following the cancellation of last year’s British MotoGP when the track flooded due to heavy rainfall. As well as addressing drainage issues, the new surface is now of a higher specification and has also been laid to a much greater accuracy than previously, resulting in a smoothness that circuit bosses say will be unrivalled on the MotoGP calendar – once a few imperfections have been ironed out.
MCN lined up in pitlane alongside Silverstone Managing Director Stuart Pringle as he got his first two-wheeled taste of the new asphalt. After his session he said: "I’m really pleased. It’s everything I’d hoped for. Prior to the F1 race we knew that there were some areas out of tolerance, such as the braking area at the end of the Wellington Straight and into Brooklands.
"These areas just weren’t accurate enough so they will be resurfaced in the week of August 5, ensuring the track is absolutely perfect for when MotoGP arrives on August 23. If there’s a smoother, grippier MotoGP circuit out there I’d be pretty surprised. I’d be so disappointed if all the riders don’t love it."
One big-name rider to have already had a taste of the freshly-laid Silverstone blacktop is BSB racer and BT Sport pundit Michael Laverty, who took to the track on the Triumph Moto2 test mule.
He said: "One hundred percent, lap records are going to be smashed in August. The track is billiard-table smooth for the majority of the lap – there’s a bump on the apex of Becketts which you only notice because the rest of the track is so smooth and Silverstone are addressing the bumps at Brooklands.
"But compared to the old surface it’s much, much faster, as the smoothness means you can carry so much more corner speed. The transition from the kerb to the asphalt is super smooth, and the bumps that plagued the middle of Copse are gone – so are the huge bumps at Abbey and Farm.
"Now you don’t get any movement of the bike through there. It’s also really grippy, in fact it’s quite abrasive at the moment – I wore through a brand new set of kneesliders in less than an hour of riding, so it’s going to be hard on tyres, hard on kneesliders but brilliant for MotoGP racing."
MCN experienced Silverstone’s new-found smoothness on one of the track’s own Yamaha R1M hire bikes and discovered the fresh surface gives the high-speed circuit a really surreal feeling – much like playing a video game.
The grip and stability translates into huge cornering confidence and you feel like there’s no limit to your lean angle. It’s quite simply a mind-blowing place to ride around on any motorcycle but especially a modern litre bike and is something every rider needs to experience. Get it booked!
Silverstone MotoGP – British Grand Prix FAQs
First published - 14/06/19
Silverstone MotoGP is the greatest two-wheel racing event in the UK. However, there’s more than exciting track action, there is an unbelievable list of entertainment, activities and concerts throughout the whole weekend, with the award winning band Clean Bandit performing on Saturday night.
The 2018 season brought some of the most action packed races in the history of MotoGP which should follow up into 2019, bringing an even more legendary racing year ahead.
When is Silverstone MotoGP?
Silverstone MotoGP is on Friday, August 23 to Sunday, August 25, 2019.
British Grand Prix schedule:
- Friday – free practice day
- Saturday – free practice followed by qualifying
- Sunday – race day
Where is Silverstone MotoGP?
Silverstone British Grand Prix MotoGP is located at Silverstone Circuit, Towcester, NN12 8GZ.
How much are the tickets for Silverstone MotoGP and how do I book?
Silverstone MotoGP tickets prices are
- General Admission from £70
- Silver Grandstands from £90
- Gold Grandstands from £110
- Platinum Grandstands from £135
- Fan Grandstands from £90
But click below to see how you can save money with MCN…
Are there Disabled Parking spots at Silverstone MotoGP?
Car park 50 is the main disabled car parking area for Silverstone MotoGP.
How do I sort out parking at Silverstone MotoGP?
You can book parking online at silverstone-campsite.co.uk.
Do children need a ticket to Silverstone MotoGP?
Children under 15 will need a ticket for General Admission and Grandstand access.
Are Pets allowed to come to Silverstone MotoGP?
No animals are allowed to go to Silverstone MotoGP with the exception of registered assistance dogs.
Silverstone re-surface underway…again
First published June 14, 2019
Silverstone is in the process of getting its second full track re-surface in 18 months in a bid to return the Northamptonshire venue back to the UK’s premier racing facility. Following a failed re-surface at the start of 2018, which left even more bumps and inadequate drainage, the problems ultimately led to the historic cancellation of the British MotoGP race last August.
In the aftermath of the cancellation, Italian track design specialist Dromo, who have played pivotal roles in the design and resurfacing of Sepang, Catalunya and Mugello were called in to first conduct a full investigation into the state of the circuit.
They were then contracted to re-design Silverstone in terms of material, gradients, cambers and best working practice with new re-surfacing company, Tarmac to ensure drainage and bump issues were mitigated.
MCN visited the circuit this week, early in the re-surfacing program, with the circuit in the process of being planed (top layer of the existing track removed) in preparation for the top two layers of tarmac being laid this week.
While the top layer is ultimately what the riders will race on the key to the project is in the planing of the current surface. In places up to 140mm of the current surface has been removed and the finished circuit will be up to 70mm higher and 70mm lower in places. Silverstone’s ultimate aim is to reduce bumps significantly while improving the way the water runs off the 3.67-mile track.
Speaking to MCN, the man responsible for the design, Dromo boss Jarno Zaffelli said: "We are changing every point, every camber of the track using technology never used in the UK or at any race track in the world. Before, the geometry of the track didn’t allow for a fast flow of water off the circuit. Now we are trying to divide the water between the right and left side."
Such significant changes are all done in the planing stage using laser measurement to get the levels achieved exactly in line with the design brief. And despite the huge expanse of circuit and the vast amounts of material being removed their current accuracy tolerance is just 2mm with Zaffelli’s re-worked surface designed to remove water up to four times faster than the previous re-surface.
With fewer bumps and higher rate cambers the expectation is for lap times to tumble. "I hope the riders will feel a huge difference," Zaffelli confirmed. "Riders have a lot of sensitivity and the first thing will be the feeling they have over the bumps and I believe it will be a massive improvement for them.
"At this moment (in terms of bumps) I can confirm that the current planed surface is better than the surface of the track before it was planed. But we still have two more layers to go."
And on the subject of expectations the pressure is on. Less than 12 months ago Silverstone became a laughing stock when, in a country renowned for rain, the MotoGP race had to be cancelled due to drainage issues and standing water.
"The aim is for it to become the best Silverstone ever from a riding and feeling point of view. The hardest part is the expectation level from Silverstone. Before the expectation was low but now because of what happened last year expectation is too high. They are saying it has to be perfect."
Tarmac delivering the goods
Having historically worked with Aggregate Industries, this latest multi-million-pound Silverstone re-surface is being done by Tarmac. The British company clearly see it as an incredibly high-profile job and are throwing the very latest technology and huge resources in to the re-surfacing.
Tarmac recently laid a new runway at Heathrow Airport but say the technology and material specified by designers Dromo at Silverstone is more advanced.
Richard Vine, regional director at Tarmac told MCN: "The material specification is so robust so will be more durable and have higher grip levels than an airfield taking jet fighters.
"In terms of laying the surface, the material will leave manufacture at 185 degrees. We will have up to 150 trucks transporting it to Silverstone and our aim is to get it on the ground at 150 degrees. Once we start laying the surface it will be a continuous process until it’s finished."
Riders react to Silverstone resurfacing
First published: 05/08/2019
Britain’s Grand Prix riders have spoken exclusively with MCN following this morning’s news that Silverstone, the home of the British grand Prix, will be fully resurfaced ahead of this year’s August race at the iconic Northamptonshire track.
Reacting universally with positivity after last year’s cancelled race at the track, they say they can’t wait to get going when the championship heads to home soil on the August Bank Holiday weekend.
"It’s great news that they’ve extended the contract with Silverstone because it’s a track that I like. I’ve fallen short there a couple of times, especially with Zarco in Moto2 in 2016 and Kenan in World Supersport in 2013, but I’d love to get a great result and to try and win the British Grand Prix. It’s a big commitment from Silverstone to resurface it again – it’s a big job. But I love racing in front of the British fans, it was unfortunate what happened last year, and now I can’t wait to get back this year!"
"It’s great to see that Silverstone will be resurfacing the circuit before we arrive in August. I feel like it’s clearly necessary for them to do so, although they had gone to a lot of effort last year, they were unfortunate that the issues only came to light on the Grand Prix weekend. I’m looking forward to getting back there and riding again as it’s a circuit I always enjoy."
British MotoGP's Silverstone future secured as resurfacing work confirmed
First published May 8, 2019
Silverstone have secured the future of the British Grand Prix until at least 2021, having had their MotoGP contract extended after confirmation that the circuit will undergo a full re-surface ahead of this year’s race in August.
It will be Silverstone’s second full track re-surface in just over a year, having split with former asphalt contractors Aggregate Industries after the abandoned 2018 race. Industry goliaths Tarmac will commence work between June 10-13.
This is fantastic news for British racing fans and brings to an end a period of uncertainty after last year’s race, where standing water meant the track was declared unfit to ride, and the British Grand Prix was cancelled during race day.
When is the 2019 British MotoGP at Silverstone?
The Silverstone round of MotoGP will take place over the August bank holiday weekend, Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th.
The Northamptonshire circuit has played host to modern MotoGP since 2010, when the race moved from its long-time home at Donington Park - playing host from 1987 to 2009. Before that, each race from the first in 1977 was held at Silverstone.
MCN exclusive interview: Silverstone Managing Director, Stuart Pringle
Speaking exclusively to MCN, Stuart Pringle explained how he’s keen to ensure the track is in the best possible condition ahead of this year’s GoPro British Grand Prix weekend.
"We’ve put together a new team to do the job, we’ve already conducted a test lay of the new asphalt with Tarmac as the contractors and with track designers, Dromo.
"But the real story is that Dorna haven’t thrown us under the bus for a single bad year, and Silverstone haven’t suddenly become bad at putting on race meetings. We had an exceptional weather event that brought to the fore some issues, but Dorna have trusted us, extended our contract and we now have MotoGP until at least 2021," confirmed Pringle.
And while it’s impossible to dismiss the impact of the events of last August, Pringle is keen to stress just how much that they’ve learned from the process and how differently he and his team have approached next month’s track work.
Despite Silverstone’s F1 heritage the re-surface will specifically accommodate MotoGP and the project is being carried out in cooperation with Jarno Zaffelli (the man responsible for the Sepang and Termas de Rio Hondo circuits, amongst others). Pringle says that the investment Silverstone are making is worth it to secure the future of MotoGP.
"We’ve spent a lot of money to hire one of only two or three designers in the world who was capable of doing this job, because I’ve been over and over the issues of the last job in the past year. We used one company for the past 20 years consistently and they always did a great job. They’re not an incompetent organisation. My default setting is towards loyalty and I don’t like throwing people under the bus on the basis of one job – but there was a problem.
"The FIM found it to be so serious an issue that they gave us very specific instructions linked to getting our track licence, so we had to get it done. In the end, Aggregate decided they didn’t want to do it and they stepped back, so we’ve gone with Tarmac."
Paul Fleetham, Managing Director of Tarmac's Construction business said: "We are exceptionally proud to be working with the team at Silverstone to resurface the iconic British race circuit. It demonstrates both the quality of our people and our first class track record in delivering high-profile, nationally significant schemes.
"We’ve assembled a highly skilled team of professionals from across the country who will be working with pioneering innovations in automated construction to deliver the project to the highest possible standard. We look forward to getting underway."
MCN exclusive interview: Michelin Motorsport Two-wheel Manager, Piero Taramasso
Michelin boss Piero Taramasso says it’s a positive sign that they have been approached for advice ahead of laying the new asphalt, too.
"We had some contact with Silverstone and they’ve asked our opinion on the new surface. Michelin aren’t experts on asphalt, but we have some knowledge and they’ve asked us which kind of mix would be best for us to maximise the grip. We gave them some references from other tracks that we know we work well at. We gave them our idea on what mix of micro and macro stones that we work best with."
Despite the new surface and Michelin’s desire to test there before the race, it seems unlikely a pre-MotoGP test will be possible.
"We want to test everywhere that there’s new asphalt, and for sure it costs money but it’s money well spent. When you have the results from a test with MotoGP bikes and official riders, it’s the best data you can get and you know you’re making the right tyres. But to test at Silverstone is difficult with a very busy calendar. Instead, we’ll bring a fourth specification of tyre just in case it’s harder or more abrasive than we anticipate."
MCN exclusive interview: MotoGP Sporting Director, Carlos Ezpeleta
MotoGP Sporting Director, Carlos Ezpeleta, says that Silverstone’s plan to embark on the resurfacing project to rectify the problems of twelve months ago is a sign of just how important the series and the British race are to each other. Ending speculation of a move back to Donington Park by extending the Silverstone deal by one more year, Ezpeleta says he’s delighted with Silverstone’s commitment to MotoGP.
"With Silverstone prepared to make this huge investment, they needed a contract extension with us, too. It’s such an important place for us, and Silverstone is the best place in the UK that we can go to. Silverstone have been very helpful considering the investment they need to make. It’s another sign to confirm that Britain is a key country for MotoGP, and we’re very thankful that they’ve taken this step."
Silverstone circuit: a MotoGP timeline
MotoGP riders complain at the British Grand Prix about the state of certain corners, with years of resurfacing in sections causing varying grip levels
Silverstone embark on an ambitious full resurfacing of the track, the first in two decades. Laying nearly four miles of asphalt in only a few days, it seemingly all goes to plan despite adverse weather
Cal Crutchlow becomes the first MotoGP rider to take to the track, riding a road-going Honda RC213V-S machine on non-MotoGP spec tyres. He’s happy with his first impressions of the track thanks to its high grip in the dry
Formula One becomes the first major race on the new track with drivers critical of the number of bumps, with some saying they feel sorry for the MotoGP riders still to race there
The 2018 British Grand Prix becomes the first race in 30 years to be cancelled after heavy rain caused large area of standing water on the track
Silverstone provide refunds to all 2018 British Grand Prix MotoGP ticket holders
The track commits to a full resurfacing for the second time in just over a year. Switching from former partners Aggregate Industries to Tarmac
The full resurfacing will get underway, with all track activity at the circuit paused for nearly a month. That includes a full week with zero activity, to help the new surface to properly cure – a provision that wasn’t made last time
Formula One will once again become the first major event to run on the new track, with MotoGP riders sure to be watching with interest
MotoGP will return to action at the newly-resurfaced track on August 23-25
Silverstone's greatest races
Mat Oxley looks back at the eight action-packed races since the British Grand Prix returned to its original home in 2010:
2015 Rossi’s greatest victory?
Valentino Rossi has won 89 premier-class Grands Prix, so it isn’t easy to pick his best-ever win. But how about this one; Silverstone 2015? The nine-times world champion is having his best season in years and is fighting for the MotoGP crown for the first time since 2009.
The 36-year-old qualifies on the second row, with title rival, team-mate and bitter enemy Jorge Lorenzo on the front row. They are equal on points; seven races to go, everything to play for.
Then it starts raining on the warm-up lap. Rossi, Lorenzo and the rest tip-toe around on slicks, then head into the pits to swap to their rain bikes for the start.
It takes Rossi less than two laps to grab the lead from Lorenzo, but Marquez is chasing him. The rain is hammering down, soaking one of MotoGP’s fastest, bumpiest racetracks. The pair leave the pack in their spray, Marquez snapping at Rossi’s rear tyre like an angry dog.
Finally, on unlucky lap 13, Marquez pushes too hard and goes down at Copse. Rossi is all alone now, the pressure is off and he can cruise home.
He eases his pace, but it’s a mistake. The rain intensifies and now he’s splashing his way through the puddles on tyres that are well past their best. Even worse, Danilo Petrucci is hauling him in. The 24-year-old loves the rain and has nothing to lose because he’s never won a Grand Prix and is nowhere in the championship.
In five laps Petrucci reduces Rossi’s advantage from 6.6 seconds to 1.6 seconds. Only with two laps to go does Rossi get his act together and stop the rot. This is his last win of the year and it’s the win that sets up his title challenge.
2014 Marquez’s only Silverstone win
Marc Marquez had a score to settle in 2014, following his last-lap defeat by Jorge Lorenzo at the previous year’s British GP. Revenge turns out to be sweet and pretty rough too. With three laps to go the pair collide at Village, then Marquez rams his RC213V past the M1 at The Loop, forcing Lorenzo to lift to avoid a crash.
Rossi finishes a distant third, his first appearance on a Brit GP podium since he finished second to Casey Stoner at Donington Park in 2008.
2016 Crutchlow does Marquez
No-one is better in full-attack mode than Marc Marquez; so passing him at one of MotoGP’s most challenging corners is a big deal. That’s exactly what Cal Crutchlow did to the young Spaniard at Woodcote in 2016, when the pair fought for second with Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone.
Cal, starting from pole two weeks after taking his first MotoGP win at Brno, is bursting with confidence, hence his daring move on the championship’s most daring rider. Crutchlow and Marquez are swapping positions every other corner, the Repsol Honda rider pouncing on the LCR Honda man at the Loop with six laps to go. Four corners later they’re attacking Woodcote. Marquez nearly tags the back of Rossi and loses a tiny bit of momentum. Crutchlow goes for the inside as the trio head into Woodcote: full throttle in fourth gear, 135mph, rear tyre spinning and smearing rubber across the asphalt. It’s one of the finest overtakes you’ve ever seen.
With two laps left they’re still at it. They’re side by side at 200mph on Hangar Straight, Marquez aims for the inside and they so nearly touch that Marquez has to lift up and run onto the asphalt runoff. "I gave as good as I got" said Crutchlow afterwards.
2013 Silverstone’s closest finish
Marc Marquez is on his way to making history as the first man since ‘King’ Kenny Roberts to win the title in his rookie year when he arrives at Silverstone in September 2013. But of course, he isn’t ready to take things easy. He crashes in morning warm-up, dislocating a collarbone and arrives on the grid with his left shoulder heavily strapped.
Most riders would settle for a reasonable points haul. But not Marquez. He chases Lorenzo all the way and the pair duke it out for victory during the final laps. On the last lap he takes the lead at Brooklands, a few hundred yards from the chequered flag, but at the vital moment his weakened shoulder lets him down. He can’t quite get the bike steered to the apex at Luffield and Lorenzo nips past on the inside. The pair cross the finish almost neck and neck.
2017 Dovi wins dogfight
The thinking-man’s MotoGP rider plays the game perfectly to outfox Viñales at the finish and retake the title lead after Marquez’s engine blows at the end of Hangar Straight. And Rossi makes the podium for the fourth year in a row.
2011 Stoner walks on water
The wettest Silverstone GP since the 1980s (that went ahead) has Casey Stoner performing miracles. The ex-dirt tracker slips and slithers his way around, 15 seconds clear of his closest rival, despite getting chilled to the bone and struggling to see where he is going.
2012 Lorenzo beats Stoner
This was the last year of the much-hated 800s, which rarely created exciting racing, even at Silverstone, where the big corners and fast straights are made for battling. Stoner leads in the early stages but Lorenzo sweeps past at half-distance and disappears.
2010 Lorenzo bosses it
This was quite a year for Lorenzo. With team-mate Rossi out due to a broken leg sustained at the previous Mugello round, Lorenzo takes a trademark start-to-finish victory. By the end of the season the 23-year-old has won half the 18 races.
More from MCN