MotoGP, Silverstone GP: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Silverstone race like Godot: a long wait that came to nothing. Mistakes and goofs on a black Sunday for MotoGP


The Silverstone Grand Prix will be remembered as a black hole, one that MotoGP would have happily done without. A day of waiting, delays and confusion. The world championship displayed its worst side and the riders finally came together in defending their right to safety. There was at least one piece of good news...

THE GOOD – The only ones who deserve applause are the British fans who, unperturbed, waited for hours in the grandstands, putting up with the cold and the wet.. Paying for a ticket only to end up watching the Safety Car takes real passion. Not even the sweeping race helped to alleviate the wait.

THE UGLY – To cancel a race due to rain in England is a paradox that philosophers can debate for years to come if they have nothing better to do. The world championship took on the role of school kid, caught out by his teacher for not having studied. It's hard to let them off with just a bad mark, because behind this wonderful sport is a multi-million dollar business and when certain situations arise, mistakes just simply will not do. And yet the MotoGP sank in a puddle.

THE BAD – It's always the same old story - the world championship is not prepared for the unexpected. Deciding not to race without the necessary safety conditions was correct, but drawing out the scene for more than 5 hours bordered on the ridiculous. In the end, it was the riders, generally known for their other qualities, who showed good sense. Even the meeting were arranged only superficially, more by word of mouth than with any real system. When you blow a tyre you need to know how to fix it, not just wait in the vain hope of seeing a tow truck appear on the horizon.

THE DISAPPOINTMENT persists, for what could have been but wasn't. There was particular disappointment, following the initial shock, for Tito Rabat. The images tell us that the incident could have been even worse. New asphalt should mean greater safety, a lesson learned.

THE CONFIRMATION – The champions are also fortunate. Considering last Sunday from another angle, the only one to have benefited is Marc Marquez. On paper, the Silverstone race might have been the first in which the Spaniard struggled, with Ducati and Yamaha looking strong. Instead he returns home with the same points lead as before, and one race less to run.

THE MISTAKE – In the blame game, Aggregate Industries, or rather the firm entrusted with carrying out the resurfacing work, must stand up and be counted. Without doubt, those completing the work are at fault but they are not the only ones. Silverstone circuit seems to have minimised its investment, management then washing their hands (!) of the situation. The FIM states that it could do no more when checking the new asphalt. Dorna was not informed of any issues. Basically: I wasn't there and if I was there I was sleeping and if I was sleeping, I was dreaming about something else.

THE SURPRISE  – In the past, riders have been criticised for their lack of unity but on Sunday this was rebuffed, a welcome development. At Silverstone the riders realised they had a voice and are heard. Their almost unanimous decision not to race is good news, self-government works.

THE INTERESTING FACT – The Michelin rain tyres used in MotoGP are able to drain 4 litres of water per second. At Silverstone even they were forced to surrender, but at least you now know something new.

I TOLD YOU SO – on Saturday, the managing director of the Silverstone circuit, Stuart Pringle, in justifying the series of crashes at Stowe: “there was a downpour of biblical proportions, the track drainage is generally good". English humour is hard to fathom at times.


Translated by Heather Watson

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