Silverstone: Michelin preview

World championship leader Hodgson comes home Neil Hodgson (Ducati Fila-Michelin) comes to his home round as World Superbike's new star. The British rider has won no less than 9 of this year's 10 races. He leads the world championship on 245 ...

World championship leader Hodgson comes home

Neil Hodgson (Ducati Fila-Michelin) comes to his home round as World Superbike's new star. The British rider has won no less than 9 of this year's 10 races. He leads the world championship on 245 points. Fellow Brit James Toseland (HM Plant Ducati) is seco nd on 132 points and Hodgson's team-mate Ruben Xaus (Ducati Fila-Michelin) is third on 126 points. Then come Frenchman Régis Laconi (Ducati) on 122 points and Spaniard Gregorio Lavilla (Alstare Suzuki) on 111 points. Despite his huge points lead, Hodgson hasn't had it all his own way this season. At the last round in Germany, for example, a difficult start might have had dire consequences. "I didn't get a good start but the Hodgson luck is flying around at the moment," he admitted. "Because if I had, then I would probably have been taken out in the carnage at the first corner." Hodgson won that first race then finished second to Toseland in the second leg. "It was a tough race and it's a tough track for overtaking," he added. "That's why I made the move on James. We made contact and I thought I had no clutch lever. I glanced down and the lever was facing down so I banged it back. It wasn't quite right but I could continue the race. I waited for James to make a mistake but it didn't come."

Troy Corser (Foggy Petronas Racing-Michelin) was twelfth and fourteenth in Germany. "From lap ten in race two I was experiencing clutch problems and had virtually no engine braking," he explained. "You are in the corner for a long time here and don't have much respite down the straights, so they were two very long, lonely and physically demanding races." Team-mate James Haydon (Foggy Petronas Racing-Michelin) wasn't too fortunate either at Oschersleben and should be much more comfortable in England.

Since the start of the world Superbike championship in 1988, Michelin riders have won 257 races out of 373 and taken 11 out of 15 world titles. Michelin won 25 races out of 26 in 2002 and 9 out of 10 races this year.

Silverstone and tyres
Last year's heavy rain makes it difficult to judge the Silverstone circuit as far as tyres are concerned. Should the weather be better this weekend, it will be possible to make a more precise appraisal of the track's grip and surface qualities.

Michelin and Silverstone

Michelin brings a total of 600 tyres (400 rears and 200 fronts), wet and dry, for this race. Sizes are 19 / 67-420 (16,5 inch) for rear slicks, rain tyres and intermediates. Front tyre sizes are 12/60-420 (16.5 inch) tyres.

Michelin's on-site personnel includes one team manager and two tyre fitters.

Silverstone Story

Silverstone was built on the site of a WWII RAF airfield. The first race was held there in 1948, Luigi Villoresi winning the R.A.C. Grand Prix in his Maserati. From May 13th 1950 to July 15th 2001, 35 Formula One GPs have been raced at Silverstone. Alain P rost holds the record for the biggest number of wins: 5 with Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams. Silverstone also played host to the British Motorcycle Grand Prix from August 14th 1977 to August 3rd 1986. Kenny Roberts (Yamaha) won the biggest number o f 500 GPs there and Kork Ballington (Kawasaki) did the same in 250s. Both won three times while Angel Nieto won six 125 GPs (three with Minarelli and three with Garelli).

Silverstone started life as a very high-speed circuit. In essence, it was all straights joined together by a few fast turns. Over the years, the track layout was changed to slow it down. Today there are six possible track configurations: Grand Prix (5.140 km), International (3.624 km), South (3.170 km), National (2.637 km), Stowe (1.281 km) and Rally Sprint (1.920 km). This permanent racing circuit is 15 metres wide, can accommodate up to 90,000 spectators and has 60,000 grandstand seats.

Silverstone is 100 kms north of London, 25 kms south/west of Northampton, 74 kms north/west of Oxford and 5 kms west of Towcester in Northamptonshire.

F1 speed record.

In 1985, on the old Silverstone circuit, Keke Rosberg driving a Williams Honda set the fastest ever average speed for an F1 pole position during that year's British GP: 259 kph.

Silverstone stats

Official practice record (2002):
1m48.913 Colin Edwards (Castrol Honda-Michelin), 168,377 kph average speed.

Superpole record (2002) :
1m47.729 Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin), 170,227 kph average speed.

Fastest lap (best race time 2002) :
2m02.145 Troy Bayliss (Ducati Infostrada-Michelin), 150,136 kph average speed (wet track)

7th round of the Superbike World Championship: June 22nd at Misano (Italy)

-michelin-

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About this article
Series World Superbike
Drivers Troy Bayliss , Colin Edwards , Keke Rosberg , Kenny Roberts Jr. , Neil Hodgson , Gregorio Lavilla , Ruben Xaus , James Toseland , Troy Corser , James Haydon , Laconi Régis , Angel Nieto
Teams Williams