Valentino Rossi: Silverstone in the wet is scary!

Valentino Rossi is full of praise for Silverstone ahead of the 2019 British MotoGP... but only if it remains dry after last year's wet weather debacle

Valentino Rossi - Yamaha MotoGP

Valentino Rossi says Silverstone ‘has everything’ and is a ‘great pleasure to ride’… albeit only when it is dry, following last year’s wet weather debacle.

Last year’s British MotoGP descended into farce when downpours coupled to a dangerous lack of drainage factored into the recently resurfaced Tarmac made it too treacherous for riders to compete, resulting in race day being cancelled.

For the 2019 British MotoGP, circuit owners have resurfaced Silverstone again and paid particular care to the level of drainage, which Visordown had the opportunity to sample at a recent track day – CLICK HERE for our full evaluation.

Indeed, Rossi admits the flat, fast nature of Silverstone makes it too much of an ‘on the limit’ challenge in the wet, but in the dry it is an exhilarating experience. 

“I love Silverstone, it‘s in my top 5 of favourite tracks,” a British MotoGP winner in 2015. “I like it a lot because it‘s an old-style track. It‘s very long, riding a lap is like taking a trip from one place to another, and it‘s technical – it has everything. When you‘re fast, it‘s a great pleasure to ride there. 

“I have good memories of this circuit, but everything depends on the weather. Riding at Silverstone in difficult weather is scary because you‘re going so fast, so we‘re hoping for similar weather to what we had in 2017, when we had a good weekend. To be fast here you need a good feeling and stability. 

“Even in the hairpins you have fast points and there are also a lot of long turns, so it‘s a track where usually Yamaha is fast. We hope for good weather because last year was a nightmare, so we hope that this year it will be a good weekend, also for the fans.”

2021 MotoGP D-Day looming for Rossi?

Whilst the question of Rossi’s future is one that pops up with each passing round, it is no secret ‘the Doctor’ is considering his options beyond 2020… or possibly even sooner. 

Though his indifferent form on the factory Yamaha M1 has been explained away in part by the bike’s relatively small optimum operating window, it can’t hide the fact Rossi hasn’t won a race since Assen 2017, whereas Maverick Vinales was a race winner in the Netherlands this year and Petronas SRT rookie Fabio Quartararo is already a three-time pole sitter and podium winner in 2019.

A more positive performance last time out in Austria showed a step forward and returned Rossi to status as top Yamaha in the standings, though just 11 points cover himself, Vinales and the fast-approaching Quartararo.

Looking forward, the recent 2020 Yamaha MotoGP test is being viewed as an unofficial ‘audition’ to Rossi, providing proof that manufacturer can give him what he wants in order to stay. However, his muted reaction in Austria suggested there is still ‘work to do’.

It is believed Rossi’s most likely options include continuing on in 2021 with Yamaha or switching focus towards team management with his VR46 set up at a MotoGP level, a deal that is likely to see all manufacturers pitching to get him onto its books.