Silverstone set to welcome MotoGP

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IOL mot aug29 MotoGP preview Reuters Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi will officially become the most experienced top-class rider in history when he starts his 246th Grand Prix this weekend. He is currently tied with Alex Barros on 245. Picture: Reuters.

Silverstone - The British MotoGP at Silverstone this weekend will be the first event this season to welcome a previous-race winner other than Marc Marquez.

It was Repsol Honda Team partner Dani Pedrosa who claimed victory last time out at Brno, and with Pedrosa having won the Czech Grand Prix for the second time,

Honda has now acquired a new record for the longest sequence of successive wins by one manufacturer since the MotoGP class was introduced at the start of 2002 (Marquez may have narrowly missed out on becoming the first ever rider to win the opening 11 races of a season, but his team still holds a 100 percent win record for the year).

Last year at Silverstone the Northamptonshire circuit witnessed one of the most memorable duels in living memory as Marquez went head-to-head with Jorge Lorenzo, a battle which saw the Yamaha rider beat his rival by less than one tenth of of a second.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP two-time World Champion rider will now be looking to follow in the footsteps of Pedrosa by claiming his first victory of the campaign, while in the process searching for an 80th podium finish in the top tier of MotoGP racing – only Valentino Rossi, Mick Doohan, Pedrosa and Giacomo Agostini have notched more.

BIG MOMENT FOR ROSSI

It’s also a momentous ocassion for Rossi, with the Italian set to officially become the most experienced rider to have ever contested the 500cc or MotoGP class. He will start his 246th Grand Prix this weekend, surpassing the 245 starts of Alex Barros. Ironically, this will happen exactly 17 years to the day since Rossi clinched his first world title in the 125cc class at Brno in 1997.

He debuted in the premier class in 2000 and since then has amassed a remarkable 80 Grand Prix victories, 154 podium placings, 49 pole positions, 68 fastest race laps and seven world titles. Although he has never won at Silverstone, “The Doctor” triumphed at Donington Park on no less than seven occasions between 1997 and 2005, including his first 500cc win in 2000.

From a home-crowd point of view there is a lot to shout about with five home riders in it to win it – in the form of Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith, Scott Redding, Michael Laverty and Leon Camier. The last time this many riders contested their home British Grand Prix was in 1996; while the last time a local was on pole was in 1977, with Barry Sheene doing the honours in the 500cc event that year.

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