MotoGP » 28 July 2009
Silverstone explains 2010 plans.
“We're working hard on that,” said Phillips. “A lot of the changes that we are making now, like the reconfiguration of the track, will give more opportunity for fans to get closer to the track, like at Becketts [the high-speed curves at the start of the lap] and the new corners that are going in.
“We are also moving a lot of debris fencing in as well and moving grandstands around to better locations than in the past. We'll get people much closer to the action than they have been previously.
“It's going to be very different to the bike circuit we had even twelve months ago,” he insisted.
But what can the riders expect?
Silverstone's present fast and flowing nature (the full grand prix circuit, not the shorter international circuit used for BSB and the 2005-2007 WSBK events) is an excellent starting point for a MotoGP circuit and its only downside is the lack of elevation changes, something it can do little about.
But Assen and Monza, which traditionally provide great two-wheeled racing, are also flat and British 125GP winner Bradley Smith (who has driven the new Silverstone layout in a simulator) believes it will offer an exciting - and unique - challenge.
“The track layout and all the plans look great,” Smith told Crash.net. “It doesn't compare to any of the circuits already on the grand prix calendar. Some corners are very similar, but the actually layout is going to completely different. It's going to be fast and sweeping and there is going to be some close racing.
“I think down Hangar Straight into Stowe is going to be one of the fastest and most exciting corners. The new complex also looks good. I like their idea of going right [onto the new section], building in some undulations and having some blind crests. That's something technical for riders and something everyone is looking forward to.
“Donington is a fantastic GP from a rider's perspective and the amphitheatre effect for the fans, but the guys here at Silverstone are taking note. They are planning on building banks and things like that to get the fans above, to see more of what is going on, and trying to get them as close to the racing as possible. Plus you'll have all the big TV screens.
“It's going to be different to Donington,” Smith reflected. “Obviously a lot of riders like the natural layout at Donington. The hills are what make Donington special and Craner Curves is a fantastic piece of track.
“I think Silverstone, with the new plans, are not trying to be Donington, they are trying to be something completely different - and completely different to anything that is on the calendar at the moment.
“That's great for individuality and great for British motorcycle racing.”
Silverstone attracted 120,000 fans on raceday for the 2009 British F1 Grand Prix, but Phillips admits it'll take time to build MotoGP to such levels.
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