NOT the MotoGP News – #BritishGP Silverstone
There is a House in New Orleans, they call the Rising Sun…*
Here’s what you’re going to get this round; a stream of unconscious waffle as I sat and typed notes at the circuit. Gareth was bloody ace enough to sort a pass for me and my egos, so you all have to suffer.
The Wing. Wings. Paul McCartney. Whooooah Bodyform for you.
All of which is the lamest way of saying that the 2023 Silverstone MotoGP has moved pits and paddock to The Wing! First off, it’s big. And undoubtedly bigger and better and faster and bolder. Does it have soul? Of course not. Not yet. Give it another 100 or so years and we’ll be fine. If only the hydrocarbons would last that long.
And boy, does it take some getting to. We took confidence and arrogance into our own hands and walked through the hotel. Well, we did on Thursday.
We blagged a better parking spot on Friday – it’s the small things in life, eh? (And on Saturday and Sunday; just buy the stewards a coffee each morning as you come into the circuit.
So, after five weeks away (everybody mentions this in their articles), what new pussycat? Tyres – the round things. From this weekend the gentlemen’s agreement to observe tyre pressures got turned into “thou shall follow the regulations”. This has caused some consternation from the riders/teams/anyone else? Some don’t give a fig, others do, and some can’t fathom what a tyre is. Anywho, expect to see some great F1-style results decided after the race finishes. And then this was amended to a cursory glance at a barometer because enough people realised that Silverstone isn’t just a soulless place, it’s a cold and soulless place. And temperature is the Kryptonite of tyres.
It’s also the first race since Rins and Morbi announced that they were off. Rins to Yamaha and Frank to somewhere (probably to some sort of Ducati if he had his head screwed on the right way). Alex Rins probably has the right attitude this weekend – he didn’t bother turning up as he’s busy fixing up shelves and his broken leg.
On Friday and Saturday, we had the spectacle of to everyone being able to practice a race start from the new start/finish line because their hole shot devices had to be re-calibrated for the new first corner.
Anyway, most of the rich privileged and handsome riders genuinely seemed happy to be back. Alex Marquez said that the break was too long whereas the Yamaha riders disagreed and wished the summer break was permanent.
Rain as darkness breaks across the savannah of despair, it’s time to go surfing! Genuinely wet enough to think about abandoning the Sprint thing. Q1 and Q2 made Randy de Puniet’s falling off exploits look remarkably mild. If you weren’t falling, you weren’t trying and your team manager was going to have a word with you, though there was enough damage to annoy the mechanics. Saturday afternoon’s race/sprint/thingy is a pain for mechanics.
By early afternoon though, the rain had lifted, and the clouds had risen like your mum’s baking. So, there was the possibility that the spectators (the important bit) and everyone else was going to be able to enjoy bikes on track rather than just enduring them under a layer of plastic and fleeces.
Sunday was a different kettle of fish. The fish were to be found floundering at the edge of the track looking for puddles whilst the wind whistled, and the sun shone. It was just a like a cold December morning.
Bez was on pole; Jackeroo was 2nd and Alex Marquez made up the front row. None would play much more of a role in the race. Miller led with Bez 2nd and an ominous Bagnaia in 3rd.
By lap 2 Pecco took the lead and was going to hang on for almost the rest of the race. But as everyone will tell you the only lap worth leading is the last lap over the finish line. The bikes to watch were the Prillys; Aleix, Mav and Miguel Oliveira were as near as dammit flying in a loose formation. You don’t get to see that kind of racing often and those bikes and Silverstone provided it. Aleix had started from 12th and Oliveira from so far back it took him 2 mins to pass the start lights.
The weather had been sunny if not warm, but 20-25 minutes into the race and the rain started to drizzle. That seems to be a special English rain that just annoys everyone. It also drags the cold air down from high up, so you get wet and cold at the same time. Summer time eh?
How about Marc M? Well, he looked to be riding around at 80-90% trying to avoid falling off. Given up? Too harsh. Uncommitted? Maybe. It’s annoying and sad and a little worrying. But then he fell on lap 15.
Okay so we said Bagnaia looked unruffled. And composed. No one told Aleix. Last lap pass of someone on a promise. Aprilia will be over the moon, 1st, 4th and 5th. Bagnaia and Ducati will be pleased at increasing their championship lead and Brad Binder who came home in 3rd is beginning to get the better of his new-this-year teammate, Miller.
One last thing (on a serious note), paddock access – I’m not paid and don’t ask to be. I mean who the hell would pay for this? Others are and deserve to make a living out of MotoGP reporting. I try not to get in their way, and I have a pretty good relationship with a handful who I’ve got to know on social media. Those have been supportive and funny and friendly (thank you). Anyway, back to access. In return for sending my ramblings to Gareth, he provides me with enough data to apply for media accreditation, and I receive access to nirvana, and it’s dreadfully hard not to feel privileged and smug and elite. But it’s mirage. A con, a fraud. No one this side of owning a team is going to talk meaningfully to a rider on a Sunday until after a race; it’s a workday for them. A day full of stress and pressures. And by Silverstone, a full weekend of contract contemplation. Silverstone marked the start of the second half of the season for MotoGP; a five-week break had preceded it and although some riders were happy to be back for some it would herald the start or even end of contract negotiations.
* And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I’m one – A lament by Yamaha and Honda technicians often sung in Japan on a Friday night down the karaoke bar