British round to move to Silverstone
|By Steven English||Monday, January 12th 2009, 16:48 GMT|
MotoGP is set to announce that the British round of the world championship will move from Donington Park to Silverstone, autosport.com has learned.
The series has raced at Donington since 1987 - when it took over from Silverstone - but will lose the race back to the Northamptonshire circuit for at least five years from 2010.
The move follows the switch of Formula One's British Grand Prix in the other direction, from Silverstone to Donington, for next year. It is expected to be well received by MotoGP with complaints about Donington Park's facilities having escalated in recent seasons.
One source close to the deal told autosport.com: "It has been rumoured for some time and it looks like it's going to happen. It's good news for Silverstone, to have a high-profile event in place of F1. It's another quick circuit, which will be nice.
"Donington has been an embarrassment for years and MotoGP have been unhappy with it for some time, because of the paddock mainly.
"That's on its way to being fixed now with all the work for F1, and it could be that the new version of the circuit would be better for bikes than the old one, but I suspect MotoGP became a second priority as they focused on F1. It's quite difficult these days to have a circuit that suits both bikes and cars."
Modifications will have to be made to Silverstone in order to hold a MotoGP round, although details of what they will be are yet to be confirmed. The World Superbike championship raced at Silverstone from 2002 to 2004 on the Grand Prix circuit but used the full-speed corner at Abbey rather than the chicane.
WSB then used the International circuit layout from 2005 to 2007 with an unpopular temporary chicane added at Woodcote.
"There is a certain paranoia in motorcycling about the amount of run-off in high-speed areas," the source added. "The subject of run-off goes all the way back to Daijiro Kato's fatal crash at Suzuka (in 2003) when he hit a barrier. The barriers around the bridge at Bridge Corner for example, could be an area they want to look at."