MotoGP: Silverstone’s Drainage and New Asphalt to Blame for British GP Cancellation

Marquez splashing in the rain during FP4 - Courtesy of Twitter
  • The British GP was cancelled due to poor drainage and the new asphalt on the Silverstone circuit.

  • The smaller Moto3 and Moto2 classes were due to follow after MotoGP and were hence cancelled also.

  • This was the first race cancellation in 38 years.


You would probably be looking around for the MotoGP results from the British GP yesterday and find nothing but the headlines “British MotoGP Cancelled.” Despite what any party would have said, it’s the drainage and newly laid asphalt at the Silverstone circuit to blame.

It was the first race cancellation since the Austrian GP in 1980.

For MotoGP fans who spent agonizing hours in the rain and cold at the track, the only action they ever saw were the Safety Cars and sweeper vehicles going around and around, in a desperate attempt to find a respite to get the race going.

MotoGP Safety Car – Courtesy of Fox Sports

Sure, wet races had been held in the past at this circuit, but yesterday’s track was visibly different. Silverstone’s management had made a great effort to resurface the track to provide a consistent racing surface, but it somehow caused the track to be even bumpier. There was a slow-mo video sequence of Marc Marquez’s bike heaving up and down through a turn during practice which had never occurred anywhere else.

Then there was the incessant rain. It wasn’t the heaviest we’ve ever seen in MotoGP’s history – try Malaysia’s at the Sepang International Circuit. But the rainwater had nowhere to go and started to accumulate on the Silverstone track due to poor drainage

The race had been moved to 11.30am (local time), 90 minutes earlier but rain had started to fall midway through the Moto3 practice. It was then hoped to begin at 2pm but was again postpone. Unfortunately, at 4pm before Dorna, IRTA and riders decided to cancel the race. There was just too much standing water.

As the Moto2 and Moto3 classes were set to follow after MotoGP, both smaller classes were cancelled, too.

Now before anyone criticise the riders of being sissies, do consider that the riders had complained of aquaplaning (tyre floating on a film of water) with as little as 15% throttle. Sure enough, the conditions have sent Tito Rabat to hospital in the medical helicopter with broken femur, tibia and fibula in his right leg after being clouted by his teammate Franco Morbidelli’s Marc VDS Honda, while the rest into the gravel trap.

Yes, riders in the early years have ridden in the rain without traction control, they had no airbag suits, their bikes had wobbly frames and slinky tyres, but look at the cost. So many had been maimed and killed. Crashes are entertaining to spectators, but we should never be at the cost of human lives.

Earlier, there was talk of postponing the race to Monday (today) but MotoGP soon twitted that it was out of the question. First, news surfaced that some team managers were of the opinion that should’ve have been done, but now, there’s news that Dorna blames the team managers for shooting down the idea of postponing the race.

Repsol Hondas under rain cover – Courtesy of Asphalt & Rubber

There’s also a press conference in which Silverstone’s CEO blamed the entire matter of being taken out of his hands, and that they had done all they could to provide a great venue. On the other hand, the FIM’s safety officer, Franco Uncini and MotoGP technical director Mike Webb both pointed their fingers are the track’s bumps and standing water. A formal investigation will be launched.

We hope that the investigation will bring on a solution to the future British GP and avoid such an embarrassing show which cost many parties the loss of millions.