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

Motorcycle News (UK) - - 2016 Motorgp Silverstone Preview - By Si­mon Pat­ter­son MCN MO­TOGP RE­PORTER

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

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