When a Race is Cancelled: Silverstone GP

When it rains it pours, and no one knows this better than the track direction staff at Silverstone Circuit. The MotoGP races scheduled for Sunday, August 26th didn’t work out as planned and now the fallout is raining down from all sides. How did this controversy spark? You had to be there, almost literally.

The Silverstone Disaster

Great Britain is known for many things, and rain is one of them. It has often been described as one of the wettest countries in Europe, so every racing organization is usually prepared to operate under these conditions. However, the conditions on August 26th overpowered the preparations DORNA had made for the MotoGP racing series. For the first time since 1980, all racing (including Moto2, Moto3 and MotoGP) was cancelled that weekend.

Cancelling one race during a race weekend isn’t too startling. Cancelling all of them was a shock to the entire racing community. Worse yet, the decision wasn’t handed down until 4pm. That means race fans were on site waiting for over six hours. Fans were not amused, and that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Many racers are claiming that DORNA never formally organized the meeting that cancelled racing at Silverstone. Andrea Dovizioso and his crew revealed they found out about the meeting by seeing people gathering on TV. Jorge Lorenzo was informed by his manager, who was informed by Aleix Espargaro. This caused disgruntled attitudes among riders, but that didn’t affect the decision to cancel racing. Reportedly, there was a near unanimous consensus among the riders that there was too much water on the track to ride safely.

Further adding to the controversy, a day after the race, Dorna placed blame for the cancellation on the new racing surface Silverstone had laid down over the winter. Last year, after receiving complaints from MotoGP, Silverstone resurfaced its track surface as a bid to keep the racing series. The track was homologated back in February and given a passing score. Then track officials addressed issues with bumps after Cal Crutchlow test rode the track in March. However, F1 drivers reported that the bumps were worse on the new surface than the old after the British Grand Prix in July.

Track direction staff are defending the new surface, claiming there isn’t enough data to draw conclusions. However, concerns over the track’s ability to drain water are prompting investigations. How will this latest MotoGP drama turn out? Will Silverstone be dropped off the MotoGP calendar? Could ticket refunds send the track into a financial tailspin? The attorneys who ride will watch this situation to keep motorcycle racing fans informed.

Tom Metier

Tom Metier

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