MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Where does the British Grand Prix belong?
Where should the British Grand Prix have its home? What we are looking for is a circuit that tests the mettle of the riders as much as the metal of the motorcycle. There would be only three on my list: Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Silverstone.
To my mind, racetracks should have some primal scream to them; they should be more than mere technical exercise. On the current calendar – outside Britain – that means Brno, Mugello, Phillip Island and possibly Sepang; four circuits from 17 foreign venues.
Most of these places are old-school racetracks; no doubt drawn on the back of a napkin in a bar somewhere, not laid out on a Mac by a polo-neck-wearing architect in his designer office. And somehow, the amateur-sketched circuits work better. Mugello and Phillip Island are MotoGP’s greatest tracks, by a long way. They have everything: high-speed straights and wide open, heart-in-the-mouth corners, as well as superb use of topography and (not that this is a real requirement) beautiful scenery. Phillip Island dates from the 1950s, Mugello from the 1970s. They both make most modern tracks seem nothing more trivial squiggles in the dirt.
Old school circuits are on the endangered list. Every few years we lose another to health and safety concerns, just like World Superbikes has lost Monza, scene of some of WSB’s most magnificent battles. Once again, it’s that combination of high-speed straights and wide open, heart-in-the-mouth corners that allows riders to stay with each other, using the slipstream and riding side by side, lap after lap, all the way to the chequered flag.
WSB lost Brands Hatch long before Monza and Oulton would also fail all safety tests for WSB and MotoGP. Which, in my little world, leaves Silverstone as the only British circuit that would have Marc Márquez and the rest filling their throats with primal screams.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.