Valentino Rossi was delighted with his first impression of the Silverstone grand prix track after riding it on a road-going Ducati during the launch of the circuit's new "wing" paddock complex today.
The seven-time MotoGP champion missed last year's British Grand Prix – the first to be held at Silverstone after the race moved from Donington Park – as he recovered from the broken leg he sustained at Mugello, so this was his first chance to get to grips with the track.
"A very good track. A hard track," he said of the layout. "I think it will be very technical, because a lot of parts are so fast, so the lines are important, but at the same time also two or three parts are very tight and it's very difficult to find good grip on acceleration. You have to stay on the edge a lot for long corners, very fast. I like it, it's very good."
He said the track was even more of a challenge than it had appeared when he was watching Formula 1 races there on television.
"It's always different when you go on the track. But this place is so difficult," Rossi said. "The problem is also that in the old section, the tarmac is quite damaged and has a lot of bumps. Like in the last corner, the left and right, and the last corner before the old front straight, and also the first corner is completely blind and very fast, so it's difficult to understand the line. And the rest before the back straight is great."
Asked if the track had a single particularly great corner, Rossi cited the Becketts sequence.
"It's fast but every corner you have to slow down a little bit. So it's flat, then a little bit less, then a little bit less, a little bit less... You have to slow down and change direction, so it's difficult," he said.