Live Blog: The 2016 British MotoGP weekend

As mentioned on the Twitter, this site will be reporting live from Silverstone over the 2016 British MotoGP weekend.

This post will be for live updates and thoughts as the weekend progresses.

Thursday, 11:30 – After an hour drive, multiple check points and a media pass to pick up, I’m finally in the MotoGP media centre. The first thing to mention in that the MotoGP paddock does not use the Silverstone Wing as its base, instead it uses the ‘old’ paddock located between Luffield and Copse. The media centre is based in a large marquee, enough to seat around 120 people.

Thursday, 16:45 – A wander around the paddock and pit lane and then it was back to the media centre for a chat with David Emmett. The atmosphere in the paddock was electric with fans mulling around, trying to see the stars. By this point (just after lunch time now), the media centre was also starting to fill up with journalists filling their way in. A 25-minute chat and a transcript of 2,500 words (or an hour and a half of typing) resulted in this piece. A few other contacts are starting to form, and hopefully voices to speak to over the remainder of the remainder of the weekend.

Thursday, 18:00 – The pre-race press conference was pretty good. It featured Eugene Laverty, Hector Barbera, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow. The main take away: having a kid makes you go faster! On a serious note, great to hear six of the top MotoGP faces in conversation.

Thursday, 18:55 – The second interview of the weekend is complete, this time with the Marketing and Communications Manager for Marc VDS, Ian Wheeler. Expect that to be posted sometime tomorrow morning hopefully. For the moment though, day one at Silverstone is complete, and what a day it was. Tomorrow: it is time for the racing.

Friday, 10:30 – Welcome to Friday from Silverstone. The clouds have rolled in and the weather feels a few degrees cooler than yesterday. First stop: a quick five-minute look at the MotoGP bikes roaring down the Wellington Straight with @ILM_Bikes. I cannot begin to explain how utterly insane and loud the bikes sound. The noise is immense. The only comparison I can give is with the World Endurance Championship. Both are loud in their own respects. MotoGP edges it in volume, WEC edges it in variance.

Friday, 14:45 – A busy day so far, consisting of transcripting my conversation with Ian Wheeler from yesterday evening. The first half of that interview has just dropped online. Part two will be up within the next day hopefully. Alongside that, a tour of the technical area of the paddock (so to speak) and a walk towards Copse and Becketts with @ILM_Bikes to listen to the Moto3 bikes. The sound is quieter relatively speaking compared to the MotoGP bikes but still incredibly loud.

Friday, 18:00 – I dropped into the Monster Yamaha Tech3 media session with Alex Lowes and Pol Espargaro, which was an interesting listen given it is Lowes’ first race with the MotoGP outfit. After the print media debrief, Lowes went to speak to BT Sport’s Gavin Emmett for a piece to camera. The Barry Sheene parade has also taken place, great to hear the two-strokes in action! Really different to the current day sound. Elsewhere, the second half of my Ian Wheeler interview has been posted, half an hour of conversation transcribed into around 4,500 words of content. It has been another fascinating day of action and intrigue at Silverstone. Tomorrow, the action ramps up again, with qualifying.

Saturday, 09:30 – Good morning from Silverstone. Early morning sunshine is still present here, but is expected to be replaced by rain, which will further intensify as the afternoon progresses. From my perspective, the next two days will probably be less busier given that the journalists reporting on the on-track action will be busier with their own reporting. It is a brief moment to pause and reflect on the weekend so far and to gather my own thoughts ready for some blog pieces in the weeks ahead.

Saturday, 12:50 – As expected, the rain has closed into Silverstone, which means that Moto3 qualifying is a free-for-all. I watched MotoGP practice from track side this morning with multiple vantage points: Luffield, Woodcote and then the pit straight.

Saturday, 15:00 – Wow! Cal Crutchlow on pole position. An amazing MotoGP qualifying session full of grit and determination. The media centre reactions told the full story with both Marc Marquez and Eugene Laverty’s crashes, hoping both men are okay.

Saturday, 16:30 – Whilst Jenson Button’s retirement/sabbatical dominates the Formula 1 world, Sam Lowes made it a British double on Saturday afternoon, Lowes sercuring pole in the Moto2 class. Just before the MotoGP qualifying session, I had the opportunity to chat to Steve Day, who is one of Dorna’s World Feed commentators. That interview will be on the site shortly.

Saturday, 17:50 – The rain has persisted further into the evening here at Silverstone as the post-qualifying press conference comes to a close. I don’t know whether this is a MotoGP thing, but the conferences feel much more human in person compared to the monotone F1 press conferences we see at home. For the moment, it is time for me to brave the elements. This evening’s reading is the interview referenced above with Steve Day, located here.

Sunday, 09:15 – Good morning from Silverstone. It was busier heading towards the circuit this morning, I’m hopeful we have somewhere in the region of 100,000 here today but time will tell. For the moment, I’m standing at Copse watching the Moto3 warm-up. It’s cloudy and windy but no rain is expected today.

Sunday, 11:40 – After a few spells of drizzle during warm-up, the rain has disappeared again. Sunday morning for me is reviewing the Saturday viewing figures, which will be posted on the site tomorrow and Tuesday. Although the actual text posted is quite short, the analysis that goes into the numbers is quite extensive: race-by-race trends, seasonal trends, year-on-year trends and larger historical trends. It’s not as simple as “this rating is poor” from the outset, there are a lot more points you need to consider before coming to that conclusion. In terms of interviews, I don’t envisage any for today. David Emmett said from the outset on Tuesday that I would be lucky to get three conversations in, and that’s what I’ve done, so it has been a very productive and exciting weekend. Just over 45 minutes now until the Moto3 race gets going!

Sunday, 14:00 – Outside of the MotoGP world, it looks like Formula E is heading to Channel 5, according to Current E and a press release is expected tomorrow. If confirmed, the move keeps Formula E on free-to-air television following their split from ITV.

Sunday, 15:45 – The MotoGP race has been red flagged after an accident between Loris Baz and Pol Esparagaro on lap one. Thankfully, both riders are okay and conscious.

Sunday, 16:50 – That was exceptional! A fantastic MotoGP race won by Maverick Viñales, featuring a scrap between Valentino Rossi, Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow. Probably the race of the year so far for MotoGP. What a race!

Sunday, 18:00 – Now that the press conference has concluded, it is probably about time I wrap this post up. This weekend has been amazing in many different ways. Just being a part of the MotoGP paddock in itself has been brilliant. Seeing the stars in action from the first press conference on Thursday through to this evening, I feel that it’s been a privilege to witness it and to be part of it. There will be a few pieces of analysis coming up in the next few weeks on the back of this weekend. I want to finish this post by thanking those that have played a small part in the weekend: David Emmett for his advice prior to the weekend and his interview with me, to Ian Wheeler and Steve Day for spending the time with me on Thursday and Saturday respectively and to Dorna for their little tidbits and snippets of information and insight as the weekend progressed. It has really been a blast, and a weekend I won’t forget in a hurry! Shall we do it again soon? I hope so. Until next time Silverstone…

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