Silverstone Subscriber Notes, Part 1: On Marquez' Bad Days, Rins' Potential, And Whether GB Loves MotoGP

Silverstone is a proper race track. It does everything a race track is supposed to do. It challenges the bikes, with high speeds, fast corners, and some hard braking. It challenges the riders, rewarding courage and skill, and allowing riders to make up for any shortcomings of their machines. The new surface at Silverstone has only magnified this: the pole record tumbled by 1.7 seconds, the race record fell by 1.5 seconds, entering sub-two-minute territory for the first time, and the race was 33 seconds faster than the fastest previous edition of the race on this circuit layout. And to top it off, we had glorious weather at a glorious race track.

We had glorious racing to go with weather. The winning margin of all three races combined was 0.799 seconds, the races in all three classes keeping the fans on the edge of their seats. If you needed to persuade someone of what makes motorcycle racing so great, just point them to the Silverstone weekend. It was worth it.

It was redemption for the circuit as well. After last year's debacle, Silverstone needed a boost, to get its reputation back on track. Three great races helped, as did the weather, though the weather is not something the circuit can take credit for. It paid off, though: some 50,000 fans came to Silverstone to watch the racing, just 4,000 down on last year's rained-off edition. Those numbers are still worryingly low, of course: only Qatar, Phillip Island, and Austin get fewer spectators, and it is down by over 20,000 on 2015 and 2016. Silverstone has committed heavily to MotoGP. The question is whether British fans are as committed as the circuit is.

A modern classic

They are missing out. The MotoGP race was a classic, a battle between Marc Márquez, balancing his desire to win the championship against his hunger for victory, against Alex Rins, a man with no love of Márquez and a bike which does everything well, and some things exceptionally. Márquez tried to defend, Rins attacked aggressively, using the strength of the Suzuki to put his bike where Márquez couldn't defend, both men using the strong points of their bikes to attack the weaknesses of their opponent.

A case in point: Lap 9. Alex Rins has closed the gap to Marc Márquez through the final three corners, from Brooklands and round Luffield and Woodcote. The Suzuki is right on the tail of Márquez, and then Rins rides round the outside of Márquez through Copse, the fast right hander at Turn 1. That is in itself a move of insane bravery and skill, and utter confidence in the ability of the bike to hold the line at the very edge of the tire for a long time.

Márquez follows closely through the Maggotts/Becketts complex, biding his time to counterattack. He gets good drive out of Chapel, and fires his Honda down the Hangar Straight, using the horsepower of the bike to close on the Suzuki, before getting hard on the brakes and sliding under Rins to take back the lead at Stowe corner.

For most of the race, this cat-and-mouse game played out, Rins holding onto the back of Márquez and pondering where best to attack. Márquez trying to lead for as much as possible, and maintaining the gap back to third. When you are fighting for the championship, there is less risk involved in a duel than in a battle where three or more riders are involved.

It's on

With two laps to go the battle exploded, Rins first getting past Márquez at Aintree, holding a ridiculously tight line to slide underneath the Honda. But he sacrificed drive to do it, and Márquez used the horsepower of the Honda to outdrag the Suzuki into Brooklands and take back the lead.

If the move at Aintree was breathtaking, Rins' next move was positively outrageous, trying to go round the outside of Márquez at Woodcote, the final corner, an aggressively optimistic move that is almost impossible to pull off. He nearly made it too, but ran a little wide and off onto the outside of the track, losing ground to Márquez once again. It turned out that Rins' optimism was the result of a mistake: he thought that was the last lap, and this was his last chance.

That skirmish had allowed Maverick Viñales to close up behind, so Márquez turned it up again to try to stretch away from the Yamaha, at least. That worked, but he could not shake off the Suzuki. He was back into defensive mode through the Loop and Aintree, to try to stop Rins from trying the same move again.

To do that, he had to sacrifice speed, and they entered the final straight heading back to Brooklands with Rins right on the tail of the Honda. Márquez looked to have it in the bag, but he had used up too much of his tire trying to hold off Rins in those final laps. In one of the most spectacular finishes we have seen for years, the Suzuki carried more corner speed through Brooklands, ran a wider line through Luffield, then cut back aggressively to get drive through Woodcote for the drive to the line. He pulled it back and wound it on, hugging the inside of the corner as Márquez drifted to the left. That gave Rins just enough drive to slip ahead of Márquez and take his second win of the season. A spectacular end to a breathtaking race.

https://twitter.com/ALGUERSUARI_SR/status/1165974935849881600/photo/2

The intensity of that moment was captured in a photo taken as the pair crossed the line. While both are hard on the gas and leaned well over, Rins is looking over at Márquez front wheel. Rins wanted to savor this victory, to stick the knife in to a rider he has a burning hatred for. There is a long history between Rins and the Márquez family which makes victory over Marc all the sweeter.

A sign of weakness, or a sign of strength?

Silverstone makes two races in a row in which Marc Márquez was beaten in a last-corner battle, another defeat in a long line of lost battles. Another way of looking at this is that Marc Márquez equaled his worst finish of the season by crossing the line in second. These two facts are not unrelated.

On the face of it, seeing Márquez losing out in straight one-to-one duels with other riders might suggest that this is his Achilles heel. After all, Silverstone was just the latest in a growing line of defeats. Márquez lost out to Andrea Dovizioso at the Red Bull Ring two weeks ago, to Danilo Petrucci at Mugello, to Andrea Dovizioso again in Qatar, making it three races this happened in 2019. He lost out at Austria, Brno and Qatar in 2018 as well, and in Motegi and Austria the year before.

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year: 
2019
round_number: 
12
Total votes: 33
Total votes: 36

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Comments

SUCH an exciting finish. Fantastic to see Rins and Suzuki with such performance.

It isn't Rins, but Quartararo that I see as the strongest 2020 challenger to Marquez. He is on the rise, stronger on "off" weekends, and the Yamaha looks to be on an upswing. (Note that I think I would prefer it be Suzuki).

But the Honda, it is coming out of a slump as well. It has that engine, and is going to handle and provide front end feel better next year (not worse). This is most likely.

The Ducati is there but still a bit off the mark at bogey tracks, although improving as such. Cornering a bit better. But Dovi doesn't seem to have that last 5% to take it to Marc for a championship in a straight fight. Bagnaia is still learning the NASA rocket, and in a cocoon. Last year was a make or break season, Honda made a miracle motor over Winter and Marc looks relaxed. I don't see a title challenger soon in red. Dovi will do a bit better next year but get caught by Quartararo and perhaps Rins.

Yamaha is coming good as we speak, electronics/engine character/tire wear and drive traction on the mend. Quartararo looks the next challenger to Marquez, and Vinales could do the same with a step forward. The ball is in Yamaha's court and I am with a lot of MotoGP fans in hoping they hit it solidly. Quartararo on a good full fat Yamaha with a bit more engine may be a title challenger. How sure does that sound? Bet hedged. It may be a bike that comes all the way sorted good later in the year, and ready to challenge 2021. How much power is coming? We are left to guess.

Rins and Suzuki, how I wish I could see a title challenge but don't. It was a lot to ask that the wee Suzuki project even be where it is, grabbing a few podiums and scraps, stealing a win. No title challenger there soon in likelihood. I want that! But, no.

KTM and Binder or Oliveira? No.

It is not what I want to say of course, but everyone is racing for second for the title in 2020. And the Honda is improving next year atop this impossible monster motor. Marquez is making less mistakes via overOVERriding especially on brakes.

Hoping for a surprise.

Total votes: 27

I'm sorry but Silverstone shoot themselves in the foot with their greed. Me and three cousins went to the 2016 event and had planned to get general admission tickets on the gate which were slightly more expensive than the 60 quid advance briefs. On the Wednesday before I checked their website and they had put a warning on saying that all of a sudden gate tickets were limited in number and would be 90 bucks. I understand on the gate being more expensive than advance, but a 50% increase?!!!!! WTF, 100 notes for 3 races :-0

We ended up getting grandstand tickets on Gumtree ( very last minute at 90 each) for the fast right after the Wing. Too far away to get much impression of speed so we moved to Hangar Straight for Moto GP which was awesome. 

I'd rather spend 25 for Brands GP BSB, see 8 races and get loads of close up viewing spots.  Don't get me wrong though Silverstone is a tremendous track for watching on TV

 

Total votes: 17

I too feel that Rins move on the penultimate lap going around the outside at the last turn was a rope-a-dope move. It set up the inside pass on the last lap as Marquez wasn't expecting it. I don't know how this plays out with Rins comment that with 2 laps to go he made his move too early because he thought it was the last lap, but the Muhammad Ali Rope-A-Dope analogy is still possible and certainly an entertaining thought. Perhaps too cerebral for Rins.

Total votes: 7

That’s what I was thinking watching this race as it’s one of the first we’ve been able to watch Rins for such a long period of time. He definitely sits higher and more upright than Márquez who is barely visible in comparison. 

Great race but what happened to Rossi? Over 10 seconds behind at the end?!

Loved the Moto2 race as well. Can’t wait to see Binder on a MotoGP machine!

Total votes: 8

That’s what I was thinking watching this race as it’s one of the first we’ve been able to watch Rins for such a long period of time. He definitely sits higher and more upright than Márquez who is barely visible in comparison. 

Great race but what happened to Rossi? Over 10 seconds behind at the end?!

Loved the Moto2 race as well. Can’t wait to see Binder on a MotoGP machine!

Total votes: 4

In the post race interview, Marquez admitted to rolling off and letting Rins through midway through the race.  He passed him back shortly after because Rins rolled off more, and Marquez knew the Yamaha’s in third were too much of a threat to allow to get closer. So he had to take the lead back. Marquez was stuck between a rock and a hard place there, so he pushed on.  Marqueze rode very defensively in the last half of the last lap.  For the most part it was quite smart riding, but being tight in the last corner he hit the apex too early and hit the gas to hard to make up for it resulting in a slide and giving Rins all the space he need to drive up the inside.  What a finish!!

Zarco certainly isnt making his KTM life any easier, hey?
 

Total votes: 12

David- you indicated a "burning hatred" of Marquez by Rins; can you elaborate? Their interactions after the race didn't reflect a great divide, as say did Rossi's & Marc's when they were at the peak of their acrimony. Interested to have insight into the relationships of the riders. 

Total votes: 12

I believe that the hatred is more directly aimed at Alex Márquez due to his being "chosen" to win the championship when they were teammates in Moto3. Marc is more "collateral damage" in the fight.

Total votes: 8

The Brits that visit iom, the less I think will want to be watching from 100 meters away behind I wire fence.

Honestly I live 20 miles from sstone and in the early years wAs a regular 

For me it's just better on tv.

Total votes: 7

i think the Honda is a pretty average bike with a good motor,the other Hondas show that.If JL can get Honda to build a bike that is easier to ride then imagine how fast MM will be.This Honda appears to eat tyres,but MM can ride right on the limit lap afer lap.If the Honda was a little easier on the tyres Rins wouldnt have had the extra corner speed.Its fine line they tread,make more horsepower and the Yamaha and Suzuki may become more difficult to ride too.Truly an awesome time to be a motogp fan

Total votes: 8

...the Honda is a spectacular machine just like the other bikes on the grid that have some strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others. Sure it is powerful. So is the Ducati. But it can turn better than the Ducati at least. Suzuki seems to lack power but has the handling and is a step above the Yamaha for now at least but in the hands of Fabulous Fabio that's a whole different matter. Just like the Honda with Marc.

It seemed to me and I could be wrong here but at Silverstone if Marc sat behind Rins the win would have been his easily. He could not bolt like a rabbit in clear air so he should have just tailed Rins, saved fuel, saved tires, saved his own strength and then pounced in the last few laps or forced Rins in to a mistake. I mean he did run out of fuel on the cool down lap. 

But yeah awesome time to be a MotoGP fan indeed! 

Total votes: 7

Marc couldn't stay behind Rins, because Rins would have slowed down and brought the Yamahas into the pack.  Vinales was significantly faster than Marquez and Rins in the last few laps.  With Marc's bolt from the start stategy he was able to go for the win and only risk a second place finish.  If Vinales, and perhaps Rossi, had been in the front pack then Marquez was suddenly just fighting for the win - but risking coming fourth.

He has a huge lead in the championship, all he needs to do is stay upright and minimise any losses.

Total votes: 4

<p>Running out of fuel on the warm down lap, how close to the edge was he?</p>

<p>David, can you elaborate if you have an idea on aero rule changes for next year?</p>

Total votes: 4

A losing combination of eye watering ticket prices leading to stupidly overpriced crap food and generally shite viewing have most Brits I know flying/riding elsewhere for a MotoGP fix. BRDC are doing it to themselves. Donington apart from better viewing was no better. Once you're inside they wanna make you pay and pay. 

PI here in Oz is the same with added VicPol thinking if you're attending you deserve to be treated like a mass murderer, loads of people have a week in Malaysia and go to Sepang instead. For me the costs are the same and I live here...

Total votes: 9

Another Aussie here. I've been to PI once as a marshall, and it was an awesome experience, but yes an expensive one. Been to Sepang 3 times. It's getting more expensive every time I go, but still relatively much cheaper. Motegi twice, but it's also expensive and honestly a slightly boring track in my opinion. Will probably give Thailand a go next time.

Total votes: 2

I still think one of the major reasons for the decline in numbers is less to do with the track and more to do with MotoGP being on BT.

As much as BT do a fantastic job with the coverage the numbers exposed to MotoGP have dropped massively from the days the races were on BBC.

Viewing figures must of gone from at least a million to 100,000??? You used to hear the results on the bbc news on both the radio and TV but now not mentioned anyway and barely no coverage in the papers.

That has to take its toll in the end.

PS Viewing from Silverstone is fantastic, sit at becketts and you see almost 3/4 of the track.

Total votes: 8

The BBC lost rights in 2014. There was a couple of years lag before the attendances started falling. Now you can see that the Sat and Sunday attendances are virtually identical which suggests people aren't turning up on Sunday for race only. The casual viewer has been lost. Members of my family (for example) used to watch and they had no interest in bikes at all, but all wanted to watch VR and the cast of characters on a Sunday. Some of those people would have thought "shall we go and watch the race for real"? And yes it used to get a mention on the news, nothing now at all, even when Cal won a race last year.

In the earlier years 2010 - 2014 Silverstone was drawing north of 80,000 on a Sunday (and all weekend attendances exceed anything Donington ever managed), even on that foul wet Sunday in 2015 it was 73,000 (all figures for all venues since the nineties are available if you Google them, I'm not linking through from David's site, that's impolite!).

Now, its true that pay per view hasn't done F1 any harm, but MotoGP drew between 1 and 2 million on a Sunday and is lower profile, and needed the terrestrial coverage to maintain the interest here. Yes BT Sport isn't bad coverage but it costs a packet and I for one am not interested in their other sports (overpaid spoilt brats throwng themselves all over a field in fake hystrionics - nah!). So its MotoGP player for me.

Finally. Coupled with the appaling attendances for WSBK in the UK (and that is held at Donington), worrying.

Total votes: 6

can you explain VicPol? PI is my track for next year. Coming from the US, is it worth it to attend? Almost pulled the trigger this year but remodled my kitchen instead!

Total votes: 0

VicPol stands for Victorian Police.

Basically it’s the "whinge" that riding down to the GP for the weekend isn't worth it because some in the riding community cant restrict themselves from speeding, wheely-ing, crashing and do burn outs for one weekend of the year, whilst they travel to the GP.  Don’t get me wrong, the Policing is way over the top here in Aus, but if you seek attention on the biggest bike weekend of the year, you are gonna get it.

Total votes: 3

There's an old saying that if an officer wants to book you for something then he will - there's not much you can do to stop it.  The highway patrol love to break up gatherings of motoring enthusiasts, and will go over you and your vehicle with a fine toothed comb to find something to book you for.

I personally know someone who had to go through the police gauntlet when leaving a drfiting event; after the police went through and checked everything on his vehicle, and checked the validity of all his modification plates, they finally booked him for having a dry windscreen washer bottle.

Total votes: 2

When I went in 2014 all bikes were being pulled over and searched! Just for turning up on a bike. Maybe you're used to that. Don't get it in sleepy WA. Obviously what is acceptable Police behaviour is something we disagree on. 

Visiting guy mss58 do it. Fine track in a great place. Australia ain't bad either ;) 

Total votes: 2

F*ck Gestapo policing.

Let it Mugello. Keep it contained. Nab the worst offenders near a bottleneck on the way in, for safety.

The USA police have gotten pretty fascist too. 25 yrs ago it was reasonable. Now? Flip plate to no longer have to stop. They aren't generally on the pace.
;)

Total votes: 5

Dont get me wrong... I loath the feeling of made to feel like a crook for just riding a bike.  Especially if they start picking on bullshit stuff like tail tidies and dark visors.  But as for un-roadworthy vehicles, drugs/drunk driving, no rego or licence.... i'm happy for that stuff to be policed. 

Total votes: 4

Absolutely it's worth it! Phillip Island is something special & the circuit is one of the very best.

I've been riding & driving down for 30 years, since bus tripping to the Gp in 1989. I have been lucky with the police in two states on the trip, maybe because we ride down on thursday to be there for friday fp1. Usually ride off the island on Monday morning after the event, so we probably miss peak traffic & maximum revenue raising. One speeding fine in dozens of round trips.

I can't help it if i'm lucky

Total votes: 5

1st lap of the Silverstone MotoGP race.
Marquez clearly exceeding track limits. Should have had a Long Lap Penalty.
This would have him back near the tail of the pack. Why no penalty???
I have a screenshot but I have no idea how to post it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total votes: 2

Don’t want to labour the point but many have hit the spot, particularly the PI guy and the cheaper trips to Asia. I’ve copied my post from the preview below. I’ve nothing against Silverstone but some it mentioned shooting themselves in the foot, that about sums it up. It was a great race to watch, on the TV. Original quote below FWIW...

 

From my experience of attending the first four Silverstone MotoGP rounds of the modern era (& plenty of the old ones!), and also visiting every current European track, my opinion is this. I no longer attend Silverstone, maybe the Saturday if I can gain cheap or free entry (being in the bike trade it can occasionally happen). It is undeniably an impressive facility and yes, if you’re in the Woodcote or Copse grandstands there is atmosphere of sorts. If you can get tickets for the very top rows of the grandstands on Becketts then you have a screen and can also see over into the Village complex as they start down the Wellington straight. But other than that it’s never going to replicate or approach the atmospherics of Mugello, Jerez, Le Mans or even Spielberg which I was at this year. They’ve spent a load of money and possibly should’ve spent it properly the first time (why Zafelli isn’t advising and signing off ALL FIM/FIA circuits is a mystery), but I never feel part of it. Oh, one more thing, due to the level of interest in our brilliant sport, you’re paying good money now to go virtually anywhere but we are still, to a degree, in rip off Britain. If you’d walked up to the gate last year (yes, I know...), with two adults, two kids and a car, you’d have needed £325 (£95 adult, £55 child £25 car!), to stand on one of the limited bankings. As attractive as the exchange rate is for European visitors, that’s a lot of money, I’ve had long weekend trips for two to GPs in Europe for less, flights & accommodation included. 

 

Total votes: 8

I admit to being confused as to the rules and enforcement. With all the fuss in practice and Q as to exceeding track limits and riding on the green (as well as the moto3-style loitering), what about the race?

Towards the end of the first lap MM leads the pack through a right hand corner and puts his bike waaaay onto the green surface on exit (it looked like it was Morbidelli who did so also, to a lesser extent).

Different rules, or their application, for the race? Did Freddie & Co. just throw up their hands? Would appreciate it if our experts here would weigh in.

Another great race!

   

Total votes: 5

Yes, there are different applications of track limit violations for practice/qualifying and the races. During the race if you exceed track limits once or twice, you get watched and if you continue to exceed the limits you will receive a long lap penalty because cancelling a lap during a race isn't feasible. However, they make the penalty stronger during qualifying to keep riders from doing it.

 

Speaking of harsh penalties, if it were up to me, riders dawdling on the racing line during qualifying looking for a tow would start getting disqualified from the race to keep that dangerous and ridiculous practice from continuing.

Total votes: 13

> The question is whether British fans are as committed as the circuit is.

If I was 20 years younger when money was tighter, I wouldn't have gone at £90. That's short-term profiteering, and also alienates the next generation of fans.

Rather than fans committing, I'd suggest it's Silverstone that needs to commit to more reasonable pricing. The fans will follow. As proof, Cadwell was full enough the weekend before, as Oulton Park will be this weekend.

Total votes: 1

anyone know Dovi's status?   I hope he is alright.  That was a nasty crash.  I never saw Fabio apologize to him in person.  I'm hoping that happened as that was terrible.  

Total votes: 5

Yes he's fine they posted a pic of him and the team all smiling and out of hospital.

No need for Fabio to apologise, it wasn't his fault, Rins slid in front, Fabio shut throttle at lean, spat him off, Dovi ran into him, racing incident. Dovi would know that now. Domino stuff happens, particularly at starts. Racing motorbikes is very hazardous!

Total votes: 10

I’d lighten up on Fabio. It is quite likely that Rins big moment just in front of him caused him to flinch and highside. It happened to Iannone a couple of years ago, however that was a front close, and of course he only cleaned himself. To paraphrase Crutchlow, (who was speaking about himself at Austria), Dovi should have qualified higher.

Total votes: 4

I too thought of going up to silverstone as ‘on the gate’ on Sunday, as quali on Saturday promised something special. But £300 for the three of us, plus another £100 on refreshments, was just too steep for a track where I’ll need binoculars to see anything close up. As others have said, it makes for great tv but not so great in person.

WRT the tv viewing figures, just for balance, by subscribing to BT I get MotoGP, WSBK, BSB and if I need a fix that bad, Aussie SBK and a host of other 2 and 4 wheeled events. Oh, and the ‘he touched my hair, I think it’s broken’ thing. Lots of that. I wouldn’t be getting all that motorsport on the beeb. I deeply resented having to subscribe when it changed in 14 but I now just accept it.

MotoGP nowadays seems to be equivalent to any other top entertainment event, predicated on enough people going occasionally and paying dearly for the privilege, while not getting nearly as good a deal as the pricing would suggest. I still hope to go to Mugello next year, but at least I can blend that into a week in beautiful Tuscany.

Total votes: 5

The pit boards and on screen timing on several occasions showed Rins 1.5 seconds behind but immediately after, once the camera switched over, the Suzuki looked to be right on the heels of the Honda. Must be a testament to the Suzuki's cornering? Never seen the visable gap between two riders so small when the timing showed them so far apart. 

 

Total votes: 2

I don't know to which on screen timing you're referring to, but I did notice the commentators at one point mistakenly say there was a gap of 1.5sec... but at that time I saw the pitboard say:
+0.?
RINS
+1.5

I interpreted that as the gap behind RINS to Vinales, if I'm not mistaken.

Total votes: 4

Suzuki dominated corner entry and mid corner, Honda corner exit and straight (acceleration ++, except when it mattered!) so the gap between them see sawed a lot depending on where they were on the track.

Fantastic to see two bikes/riders making speed so differently.

Total votes: 3