Motorcycle Track Guides

Motorcycle Track Guide: Silverstone GP

Get the racers knowledge of the new Silverstone GP circuit with Niall Mackenzie

The completion of the all new Silverstone GP circuit means we finally have a motorsport facility to match any other in the world. Many will argue that Donington is still more satisfying to ride but the combination of ultra fast straights linked with every type of corner you could ever ask for, makes Silverstone equally special.

The MotoGP lads commented that the surface is bumpy but these guys are used to billiard table smooth wherever they go, so I wouldn’t worry too much on this front. There is first class cafe, acres of garage space and paddock so visiting this circuit will always be a very civilised experience. For MotoGP and F1 there is a new start/finish and pits complex but the original pits and paddock will be used for track days and national racing.

With the Silverstone GP circuit now being 3.6 miles round a good lap on a track day will take you around two minutes and twenty seconds. It isn’t too physical as there are four long straights, however you’ll need to keep sharp through the fast changes of direction. It is the ultimate circuit in the UK if you want to stretch the legs on your 1000cc sportsbike but still great fun riding through the technical stuff on a 600. Big dollar has been spent here and you can tell.

Sector One

Start Finish to Hanger Straight

The recent circuit changes mean you’ll have a much higher top speed crossing the start finish so be prepared to brake earlier than before as you approach the third gear right hander of Copse. Get as close as possible to the white paint on the left then wait until you feel the ripples at the apex before winding on the throttle as you exit.

This corner really opens out so you can accelerate hard with safety early as you are soon onto the fat part of the rear tyre and enjoying maximum grip. Aim for a late exit point and try to use the entire track as you change up through the gears to fifth, and then gradually swing back to the very right hand side of the track for the approach to Maggots.

I back shift to fourth gear before crossing over to the left and brushing past the apex which leads me to the outside edge of the track. Still in fourth gear I then swing to the right and immediately back to the left for a tight entry into Becketts. It is important to have a slow, knee over the paint entry to the left of Becketts otherwise you will run wide at the next right which in turn will mess up the left of Chapel and your run on to the Hanger straight. This section is all about a good rhythm and will take time to figure out but if you practice it at a slow pace for half a dozen laps it will soon begin to make sense.

Sector Two

Stowe to Farm Corner

After enjoying the glorious sixth gear Hanger straight, it’s back to third gear for this fast 90 degree right hander. On the exit you should be kissing the paint on the left as you come over the crest leading down to the left/right Vale Chicane.

You’ll need to do some hard braking while shifting back to second gear but be careful turning in as it is easy to lose the front with the suspension fully loaded. A steady entry works best as you can then pull back to the left, mid–chicane giving a cleaner run round to Club Corner.

As you leave Vale, head out wide before coming back to the apex of Club then use all the track on the exit. On the right line you will be able to squeeze the throttle open all the way round to the paint before getting up to fourth gear on the short straight up to Abbey.

Sector Three

Village to Start Finish

Abbey is a very fast fourth gear right hander and once again the more laps you do the faster and more confident you will become. On the exit you’ll need to swing back to the right as soon as possible while rolling off the throttle to set yourself up for the 100mph left that is Farm Curve.

A short blast of acceleration will take you up to the slowest, most technical section of the GP circuit. Next up is Village, a second gear tight right immediately leading into an even tighter left which will be first gear for most riders on standard gearing. You’ll need to be bang on the left apex but then drifting wide to the right out, over the coloured kerbs (very grippy wet or dry) to ensure a nice line through the fast left of Aintree.

Changing up through the gears you should also be using every inch of paint on the exit on to the Wellington straight. This is the second longest straight so you’ll be up to at fifth gear and 150mph before braking hard into the tricky second gear left of Brooklands corner.

This is my least favourite corner as the high speed entry makes it awkward to safely double back over the bumps at the apex. Rather than trail the brake in, I prefer to do all my braking in a straight line then have a late but safe turn in keeping the bike more upright over the bumps.

It is then a quick blast on the throttle before peeling in to the right of the iconic Woodcote Corner. Woodcote seems to go on forever as it gradually opens out as you are shifting up through the gears. The only way to perfect your line through here is lots of laps.

In a nutshell, if you have track remaining on your left hand side when you arrive at the start/finish the next time round you should begin to build momentum earlier. I love this final corner and now that it’s nearly restored to its former self once again we can all be Sheene or Roberts in the 1979 Silverstone classic.

Sector Four

On the second longest straight you’ll be up to at fifth gear and 150mph before braking hard into the tricky second gear left of Brooklands corner.

This is my least favourite corner as the high speed entry makes it awkward to safely double back over the bumps at the apex. Rather than trail the brake in, I prefer to do all my braking in a straight line then have a late but safe turn in keeping the bike more upright over the bumps.

It is then a quick blast on the throttle before peeling in to the right of the iconic Woodcote Corner. Woodcote seems to go on forever as it gradually opens out as you are shifting up through the gears. The only way to perfect your line through here is lots of laps.

In a nutshell, if you have track remaining on your left hand side when you arrive at the start/finish the next time round you should begin to build momentum earlier. I love this final corner and now that it’s nearly restored to its former self once again we can all be Sheene or Roberts in the 1979 Silverstone classic.

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