Local rider Cal Crutchlow is gunning to become the first ever British rider to win his home MotoGP, as the world’s fastest motorcycle racing series hits Silverstone this weekend.
The Coventry born star has won three MotoGP races in his career but admits that he’s ready to ‘throw all his chips in’ to win at the Northamptonshire circuit. No British rider has won a premier class Grand Prix since the series moved from the Isle of Man TT races to the mainland in 1977, but Crutchlow, the first British winner in the top class since the legendary Barry Sheene took his last win in 1981.
Earlier today, Crutchlow, 32, announced an extension to his contract with the Honda factory, confirming him as a MotoGP racer with the LCR Honda squad until at least the end of the 2020 season.
It’s superb news. I had already started to negotiate with Nomura-san (Yoshishige Nomura) and Alberto (Puig) from Qatar, so I knew the contract extension was going to happen, it was a long time ago that we decided things. We’re very pleased with the way it’s worked out and I think it’s best for all parties: we’ll be staying in LCR, this is the best option for me, the team and for Honda as they now have three cards to play next year as well.
“I’m really looking forward to the British Grand Prix this weekend, obviously it’s my home race so it’s a big weekend for myself and the team. The crowds always give me great support here so I hope to produce a good performance for them. They say that there are some bumps on the track (from the Formula One cars), I don’t know until I get out there, but three months ago when I was here it was fine. If there are bumps it will be because of the cars, but I went out on the bicycle today and it looks ok, so hopefully they have done a better job than previous years.”
This year’s MotoGP World Championship has been one of the most exciting in recent years. Spanish phenomenon Marc Marquez leads the series from Italian icon Valentino Rossi by 59 points, with Ducati duo Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso in irresistible form, having shared the last two race wins between them. Dovizioso won last year’s thrilling MotoGP race around Silverstone, with less than a second covering the top three racers at the flag. This year’s race promises to be faster than ever, following a full resurfacing of the entire 3.666-mile Grand Prix circuit.
Crutchlow will be joined on the grid at this weekend’s race by KTM racer Bradley Smith and Aprilia’s Scott Redding. In the support classes, Sam Lowes (KTM) and Danny Kent (Speed Up) will be joined by 17-year-old wildcard Josh Owens in the Moto2 World Championship, while reigning British champion Tom Booth-Amos and British championship leader Jake Archer are additions to the Moto3 grid, while championship regular John McPhee is one of the fancied runners on his KTM.
The next generation of British racers will also be showcasing their talents at Silverstone with the British Talent Cup, for young riders aged between 12-17, supporting the main Grand Prix classes on Saturday and Sunday.
As well as the on track activity, there is plenty of live entertainment taking place over the weekend, with award-winning hip hop, and soul artist, actor and director Plan B headlining the main stage on Saturday evening.
Speaking ahead of the event, Silverstone’s Managing Director Stuart Pringle added: “After months of planning, we’re all excited to finally welcome the MotoGP family to Silverstone. Last year saw some fantastic racing and we’re certainly looking forward to some more of the same this year, with the possibility of British winners in all three classes. We’ve also worked hard to give fans plenty to enjoy away from the track too, and we hope that everyone goes away with a big smile on their face come Sunday.”