With the lone British round of the MotoGP championship just weeks away (23-25 August), we’ve put together a list of five things that you may not know about the British Grand Prix – can you think of any more? Let us know on our Facebook page!
1. Britain has held a motorcycle Grand Prix event since the championship’s inception in 1949, but the race only took place on the mainland for the first time in 1977. Before then the Isle of Man TT formed the UK round of the FIM World Championship.
2. Guess who’s won the most races at the British Grand Prix? Valentino Rossi. Rossi took his maiden premier class win at Donington Park in 2000, following it up with wins in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005. After a 10-year barren spell, he won the 2015 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. He also won the 125cc Grand Prix in 1997 and the 250cc Grand Prix in 1999, but to be honest, we imagine you guess this one! The most decorated manufacturer? Honda takes the title with 41.
3. The last British rider to win a Grand Prix on home soil was Danny Kent in 2015, on his way to lifting that year’s Moto3 world title. Before that, it was Scott Redding who won in 2013 in Moto2 and 2008 in the 125cc class. To find the last British winner before that we have to go back to 1986 to when Ian McConnachie won the 80cc race.
4. Of the 19 circuits that make up the 2019 season, Silverstone is the fourth fastest on the calendar, with an average lap speed of 109mph. It narrowly misses out on the top speed podium to Phillip Island (110mph), and Thailand (111mph). Austria’s Red Bull Ring takes the top spot with whopping 114mph…
5. Silverstone has changed over the years! Like most circuits Silverstone has been subtly reshaped and remoulded; there used to be a chicane at Woodcote, and the Brooklands and Luffield section has been pushed and pulled around. However, with MotoGP’s return to Silverstone in 2010 – after spending 22 years at Donington Park – the circuit changed dramatically.
The straight that runs past the Wing now culminates in the fast right-hander at Abbey, followed by a left, right, left complex that leads onto the Wellington straight, adding both length and speed to the circuit. The old layout came in at 3.2m, with the additions taking that out to 3.7m.
Before the changes Abbey was a left-hander that sent the track under the access bridge you cross on entrance to the circuit, followed by a right and then a left that entered Priory, where the old and new circuits meet.
So there you go, some facts for you to tell your mates while you’re watching the racing…