The Hertz British Grand Prix at Silverstone will be the first event on the MotoGP calendar to welcome a winner other than Marc Marquez, as it was Repsol Honda Team partner Dani Pedrosa who claimed victory last time out at Brno. For a number of reasons, it looks set to be another historic weekend.
With Pedrosa having won the Czech Grand Prix, Honda has now established a new record for the longest sequence of successive wins by one manufacturer since the MotoGP class was introduced at the start of 2002; although Marquez may have narrowly missed out on becoming the first ever rider to win the opening 11 races of a season, his team still holds a 100 percent win record for 2014 so far.
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 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 Grand Prix racing; only Valentino Rossi, Mick Doohan, Dani Pedrosa and Giacomo Agostini have more.
As for Rossi, the Italian is 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 British point of view, there is a lot to shout about as five home riders will line up for the race. This time it will be Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith, Scott Redding, Michael Laverty and Leon Camier, whereas in 1996 – the last time as many riders contested their home British Grand Prix – the names in question were those of James Haydon, Chris Walker, Eugene McManus, Jeremy McWilliams and Terry Rymer. And could Silverstone perhaps witness a local name on pole position? Only the late, great Barry Sheene has ever done that, in the 500cc Grand Prix of 1977.
Opening free practice for the 2014 Hertz British Grand Prix will start at 9:55 a.m. local time (GMT +1) on Friday, with Sunday’s race starting at 1 p.m. local time/8 a.m. ET, which will be shown LIVE on FOX Sports 1.
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