The British round of the MotoGP World Championship will take place at Silverstone for the first time since 1986 next season, on a revised track layout 'very different to the bike circuit of even twelve months ago'.
Silverstone became the first mainland venue for the British Motorcycle Grand Prix when it replaced the Isle of Man TT circuit in 1977. The event then moved to Donington Park for 1987, where it has remained since.
But F1's shock switch from Silverstone to Donington for 2010 triggered a countermove in the opposite direction for MotoGP. There is real doubt over whether Donington will be ready for next year's F1 round, but Silverstone's MotoGP return is set in stone.
“It's a new era for us, getting MotoGP back at Silverstone. It's been a long time,” circuit manager director Richard Phillips told Crash.net
. “We've got a good bike heritage here, but now we're making the investment for the next 20 years of bike racing. It's a very exciting time for us and a very good time for MotoGP.
“We're spending a lot of money for 2010, from a safety perspective and to improve the crowd facilities but also on the track itself.
“There are new parts of track going in especially for MotoGP. We're not trying to alter the heritage of Silverstone, it's always been a fast and flowing circuit and we wanted to retain that, but it's going to be very different to what we've had here in the past.
“The work starts in November. We've already got the money in the bank ready to go. The planning is going through at the moment, so hopefully we'll have in place by September. We'll then start work in November and there is a programme that goes through to around April time. Hopefully we'll be finished slightly before that,” he added.
In recent years, it has been rival circuits Donington Park and Brands Hatch which have held the UK's world championship bike racing events - MotoGP and WSBK.
Both Donington Park and Brands Hatch have natural amphitheatre layouts, allowing fans to see large parts of the circuit from one place. As an airfield circuit, Silverstone's biggest criticism in the past has been that fans are too remote from the action.