Rossi: Donington a great loss to MotoGP
MotoGP championship leader Valentino Rossi says he will be very sad to see Donington Park drop off the calendar, having described the Leicestershire track as an ideal venue for motorcycle racing.
Donington will lose MotoGP to Silverstone next season, with Formula 1 moving in the opposite direction, providing Donington's massive revamp is completed in time.
"I think it's a great pity that this is the last time, because this track is very suitable for motorcycles and it's always a great pleasure to ride the bike here," said Rossi. "Also, the weather is the famous English weather, so sometimes you have to fight with the rain and cold, sometimes the wind, but the track is great. The last part is a little bit too tight, but the rest is one of the best."
The Italian took his first premier class victory at Donington in 2000 – a result he followed with four more British GP wins in the next five years.
"I have a lot of memories at this track," said Rossi. "First victory with the 500cc, a lot of great battles with Loris [Capirossi] and with Marco [Melandri] in 2006 on the last lap.
"I haven't won since 2005, also because Casey [Stoner] for the last two years was very strong. Last year was very frustrating because it was second behind Casey but it was not possible to fight him for the victory, so we'll try this year to do better."
His Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo was also disappointed to see Donington lose its place on the schedule.
"I have only ever tried the Silverstone track on the PlayStation with an F1 game, so it's a little bit sad for everyone to leave Donington because it is a track with a long history," he said. "It's a very nice track to ride. But the organization has decided this and now we have to ride at Silverstone."
But their championship rival Casey Stoner was less complimentary about Donington, saying he had been unimpressed with the track ever since he first raced in Britain in his junior career.
"From day one I don't think I've ever liked this track," he said. "We've never really enjoyed this circuit. I remember when I first came here the only part of the track I liked was the Esses down to the last two hairpins. That was about it, because you could back it in a little bit going in. The rest of the track, for me, was just a lot of hard work and not a lot of fun.
"But to be honest, since I got on a MotoGP bike it's been a little bit more exciting. But still it's very hard work this track. Being near the airport, the track in the wet is unbelievably slippery, so you've really got to be on your toes every lap at this track and make sure you don't make any mistakes."