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Ready for launch: Silverstone goes interstellar

The British GP Press Conference was like no other as Silverstone welcomed a special visit from the International Space Station

The on-track action in MotoGP™ can often be described as ‘out of this world’, and rightly so. However, ahead of the GoPro British Grand Prix and as far away from a circuit as you can get, the pre-event Press Conference was interrupted by a very special guest from out of this world as NASA Astronaut Andrew J. Feustel came to us live from the International Space Station.

MotoGP™ riders answer questions from out of this world!

Travelling at approximately 17,000 miles per hour around Earth’s orbit, taking the Space Station a similar amount of time to do a lap of the earth as it will take the premier class riders to do 20 laps of Silverstone on Sunday, Drew answered questions from Championship leader Marc Marquez (Respol Honda Team), second in the Championship Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Austrian GP winner Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), teammate Andrea Dovizioso, home hero Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) as the paddock gets ready to launch into their 12th  Grand Prix weekend of 2018.

Before Drew spoke to the riders, attention was firmly on the British GP and after Movistar Yamaha MotoGP bosses issued an apology to both Rossi and teammate Maverick Viñales in Austria, the ‘Doctor’ is confident they can be strong on a track that “on paper” suits them.

“On paper, I could be stronger here at Silverstone,” commented Rossi, who won here in 2015 in the wet conditions and has a run of four consecutive podiums at the Northamptonshire layout. “It’s a great track, full of history. In the last years, I’ve always had good races. Last year was also a good race. It’s a great pleasure to ride here when you’re strong, when you are good with the bike.”

The weather though, as always at the British GP, could play a vital role in proceedings this weekend: “Last year was unbelievable weather for England because it was sunny from Thursday to Sunday,” stated the Yamaha rider. “It looks like it might be trickier this year, but we will hope for dry as much as possible and we’ll see… hopefully we’ll be stronger than in the last races.”

How has Rossi changed his physical training for 2018?

The competition this year has been as fierce as ever and another rider who has enjoyed success at Silverstone since its return to the calendar is Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo, who is aiming to pick up his fourth win of the season on yet another track teammate Andrea Dovizioso won at last season.

“Some journalist told me yesterday that it’s curious because I’m winning the same races that Andrea won last year,” said the five-time World Champion, who arrives at Silverstone in a “sweet moment” after his Austrian GP triumph and a successful Misano test last Sunday.

“It would be nice to have six victories at the end of the year, so we’re going to try. I think we are living a very sweet moment. We arrive from a victory and a very good test at Misano, so I know the bike more than ever and I have more experience with the bike than ever,” and like Rossi, Lorenzo is a fan of Silverstone, but hopes the weather will stay dry throughout the weekend. 

“We also arrive at a good track. I’m quite in love with this track since 2010. In 2010 I was suddenly very quick, and I have had some years with more difficulties, but I generally like the track. As some riders said, it’s important to have good weather, which will be difficult but at least if we have a sunny race it will be good.”

British GP: Watch Thursday's Press Conference in full

Two riders who had confirmed their futures were Crutchlow and Bautista, the Brit staying put at LCR until 2020 with Bautista moving to WorldSBK with Racing Ducati. The home hero was first to speak as he looks forward to another two years with HRC and LCR, as well as his home GP at Silverstone.

“It’s great to come to Silverstone and make the announcement today. Why not? There’s no better day than today to share our great news from the LCR Honda team. They’ve supported me for the last 3 years, so we’ll continue for the next two, which will be the longest I’ve ever been with any team, so I’m really looking forward to it,” affirmed the Brit, who is another rider who goes well around Silverstone but is as wary as anyone about the British weather.

“As everyone has said, the weather looks a bit iffy, so we’ll see how it is and we’ll see how we manage the situation… I feel confident. I feel comfortable around this track, I have done for the last few years and hopeful we can have a good race come Sunday.”

For Bautista, his switch to World Superbike signals the end of a successful 16-year Grand Prix career and he hopes to enjoy his final races in the MotoGP™ paddock: “My idea was to remain in MotoGP™. For sure this season has been special because after three races 80% of the seats on the grid were closed, my performance was not what I expected, and I couldn’t go as fast as I wanted… For me next season will be a new challenge because I will move from this Champ after 16 years and I will move to World Superbike with Aruba Ducati official team… I look forward to this new challenge and I will also try to enjoy my last races in the MotoGP™ Championship.”

Alvaro Bautista announces his future

Who will be over the moon come Sunday afternoon at Silverstone?

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