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Mamola impressed by Silverstone
30 May 2011
Randy Mamola believes Silverstone struck the right balance between heritage and modernisation when constructing its new track layout - and that the new Pit and Paddock 'Wing' provides the final piece in the puzzle.
Mamola took two 500cc grand prix victories on the 'old' super-fast Silverstone circuit in 1980 and '84, before the British Motorcycle Grand Prix switched to Donington Park.
The event returned to Silverstone in 2010 on a revised track layout, built to meet the latest MotoGP safety standards. 13-time 500cc winner Mamola feels that the new 'arrowhead' section compliments the original track.
"I remember racing here at Silverstone in the late '70s and early '80s with Barry Sheene and those guys," Mamola told
. "During that era we also raced at other legendary tracks like Spa, Monza, Hockenheim, Paul Ricard and Imola.
"The turn at Imola where Ayrton [Senna] lost his life at Imola used to be flat-out in fifth gear on a 500cc.
"But as our bikes got faster those circuits either dropped off the calendar or, as with Formula One, they started to build more chicanes to slow them down and some of the character was lost.
"Silverstone is now back on the MotoGP calendar and has kept true to its heritage of fast flowing corners. I'd say the new layout has the same character as the old but is even better.
"It's got the historic corners, with some new ones added in - plus this new 'Wing' pit and paddocks facility.
"Silverstone has always had the track, but not always the rest to follow. They put in the roads and infrastructure - for Bernie [Ecclestone] and the F1 guys - and now they have the pits.
"That's one thing that some other great historic tracks - for example Laguna Seca in the states - are still missing."
Bringing historic circuits up to modern standards may be a mighty challenge, but it is largely a matter of money and real estate.
The new generation of ultra-modern F1/MotoGP circuits, including the new track being built in Texas, face a different problem - creating heritage to match the huge initial investment.
"It's kinda hard to say what you need most - a legendary circuit or legendary people to race on it," said Mamola.
"From the drawings and plans the new Austin track looks fantastic, but it needs heritage and that doesn't happen overnight.
"Look at the new tracks in Abu Dhabi or China… when we went to China for the first time we were waiting for the spaceships to land, it was so modern!
"But China ends up being China [and has dropped off the MotoGP calendar] while Silverstone is back and hosting F1 and MotoGP."
The 2011 British MotoGP takes place at Silverstone on June 10-12.
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