ROSSI NEEDS TO STRIKE SILVERSTONE GOLD
The British Grand Prix has never been more important for Valentino Rossi than this year’s event as he attempts to get his bid for the 2016 Motogp title back on track
Rossi will return to Silverstone desperate to repeat his success of last year after a series of disastrous races so far this season means that he already has a significant deficit to both championship leader Marc Marquez and team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. Rossi had a very different start to his title tilt in 2015, when consistent finishes saw him lead the series for most of the year. And he managed to take opportunities to win as and when they came. That was never better demonstrated than at Silverstone in 2015, where a fall for Marc Marquez and a now-standard loss of form in the rain for Jorge Lorenzo let the Italian superstar take a dominant win.
But so far in 2016, it’s been Rossi struggling. Crashes, mistimed pit stops and a blown engine have all worked against him, even though he has shown better form in good conditions and better form in qualifying. It all means that if he’s going to get his bid for a record-breaking 10th world
title back on track, the British Grand Prix could well be his most important race of the year.
Rossi won in treacherous conditions at Silverstone last year, but he knows that a UK victory is by no means a given. He explained: “Silverstone is a very difficult track, but last year I made a good step up there. I won the race in the wet, but I was also quite good in the dry too and I started from fourth place.
“I think now we just have to wait and see what happens, but I’m optimistic about it. The other thing about Silverstone that we have to see is how the tyres work – will they be better or worse than the Bridgestones? I don’t know. We have to wait and see what the weather is like too!”
Strong on the new Michelins – especially, it seems, at tracks where the French firm have little data – he could well use his extensive knowledge and experience to adapt quickly to unpredictable British conditions. Rossi’s knowledge of the Silverstone track is also a major factor in his bid for glory.
“The layout is very fast and technical and you have to be very precise. The most impressive thing is the speed; you really see the high performance of a Motogp bike on a track like Silverstone.
“You have to work a lot to find the best set-up as the track has a bit of everything. The first section is really good; you enter at high speed and there are very fast changes of direction that give you adrenaline.”
And on top of that, there’s also almost a home field advantage for the Italian. Commanding huge support in the UK, the impact of having so many fans cheering for him may also make a key difference going into the weekend.
“I‘m always very happy to go to England for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. It is a race with so much history and the atmosphere is always very good during this weekend. There are many racing fans and you can feel the passion of the crowd each time you move in the paddock.”
‘You really see the high performance of a Motogp bike on a track like Silverstone’ VALENTINO ROSSI
Silverstone didn’t rain on Rossi’s parade in 2015 as the Italian took the win
Dressed for success, Ros si’s ready for Silverstone 37 12 24 12 GAP TO CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER Qatar Jerez Le Mans Mugello Rossi fails to make the strong start to the season he did in 2015, instead lucky to finish the race in fourth behind Lorenzo, Marquez and Dovizioso after Iannone crashed. Rossi powers to a dominant victory, showing that he once again has the ability not only to take advantage of tricky conditions but to also beat his rivals in the dry as well. Runner-up to team-mate Lorenzo as Marquez DNFS, giving the Italian a chance to close the gap to the title leader. The second disaster of the season, when he looked to be on track for a stunning home race victory at the Italian circuit – only for a rare engine blowup to end his chances.
Qualifying fourth in 2015, Rossi was rapid in the dry at Siiverstone too British fans got a wet weather masterclass from the Doctor Rossi hopes to add more Silverstone silverware to his small collection A Silverstone to forget. Rossi struggled to ninth place on the Ducati in 2012 Rossi crashed out of the lead in horrible conditions. Failing to manage the gap to secondplaced Andrea Dovizioso and pushing on, the error cost him valuable points. 57 22 42 53 Assen Catalunya Austria Brno A strong second place after a gamble on the hard rear wet weather tyre saw Rossi beat Marquez. But he couldn’t catch Cal Crutchlow who went for hard wets front and back. Rossi shows for the second time this season that he has the pace to beat the best in the world, taking the fight to Marc Marquez at his home race � and winning it. Unable to run with the pace of the leading Ducatis – or team-mate Lorenzo – Rossi took home valuable points in fourth, and closed the gap to Marc Marquez slightly