Limited practice time and probably the longest lap in MotoGP mean learning the new Silverstone circuit during this weekend's British Grand Prix will be an especially tough challenge.
The last new circuit to join the calendar was Indianapolis in 2008, when riders were given 30 minutes extra free practice to learn the track. Even more track time was allowed prior to 2008, with an extra session held on the Friday at Misano in 2007.
“The team has seen exactly the dimensions of the corners and the straightaways. One of the big things is the transmission; lining up which gears to use on which parts of the track,” explained Ducati's Nicky Hayden.
“The lap time will be really long. I think it's probably going to be the longest lap of the season. So during a one hour session, instead of getting maybe 27-28 laps, you might only get 19 or 20. Every lap will be crucial.
“It's not easy but I enjoy the new tracks. It's something new, something different. It's fresh and the intensity is a little higher because nobody really knows what to expect.”
Tissot is running a competition among the MotoGP media to predict the pole position lap time on Saturday.
“Well, I heard there was a track day at Silverstone last week and the best lap was a 2min 12sec,” said Hayden. “I hope we can at least shave a few tenths off that track day lap or we'll be in trouble!”
Hayden never finished on the podium at the British Grand Prix, from 2003-2009 at Donington, and is hoping for a fresh start.
“I liked Donington as a track, it was fun, especially the first bit, and I was normally pretty good in T1 and T2. But I'm happy for a change because I've never really lit it up there,” he said.
“It's not a home GP, but I speak the same language. I would say the culture is more close than most countries. So I do feel pretty comfortable here. It's not like being in my parents' backyard, but you can talk to people and drive around.
“The fans have always treated me really good and so it's one of my favourite GPs.”
The only current MotoGP riders who have competed at Silverstone are Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who contested the 2002 World Superbike round at the track, and Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro), who raced there in his British championship days.
Nevertheless, the circuit has been heavily modified since their last visits with a whole new infield section added for MotoGP.