After an update on the state of health of Gino Rea, who was seriously injured during practice at the Suzuka 8 Hours, the first part of the show focuses on the reaction to last week’s episode about the poor audience at Silverstone. .
“We had hundreds of comments and tweets,” said podcast host Harry Benjamin, “and many of them mentioned the same things:
“‘Silverstone is not the right track to watch motorbike racing on the money side – not just cost of living but tickets, parking, cost of a burger – not having UK riders in class MotoGP, promoting the event…’
“Everything we kind of predicted last week, but it’s worse in a way, isn’t it Keith, because it’s not just a problem?”
“I think you are right Harry. I won’t say it’s a problem, but I think it’s an assortment of things that need tweaking,” replied former Grand Prix rider and British champion Keith Huewen. “I think we have to be positive, the whole event was great: the British Grand Prix in sunny Silverstone. And they organized many animations.
“I think the questions are mostly over, for starters, parking prices. It’s a bit like buying a TV and then being charged by the same store for parking. Nobody likes those extra fees.
“As for beers, burgers, etc., I assume the vendors pay Silverstone to be there and then set the prices. Could these be further controlled? Maybe a 20% increase over what you would pay in a pub would be acceptable, given that someone has to drag their bar to Silverstone, set it up and then take it back.
“Silverstone did a lot of things well, but I think there were things that made people not go, and I think that’s reflected in our letterbox.
“Some people will never please you, the Donington vs Silverstone thing gets on my nerves! Donington is a good racecourse, the facilities are better since Jonathan Palmer took over the lease but not as good as Silverstone.
“The most important thing in my opinion is that we need a MotoGP home race winner. This weekend we had a home winner at the British Grand Prix… Speedway at the stadium Principality of Cardiff. Dan Bewely. You’ve never heard such a roar inside this stadium! Imagine if it happened in MotoGP? We need this situation.
“The mainstream British media were also not behind MotoGP like they were for the F1 Grand Prix, where it was in every newspaper and magazine.
“The answer is – and I can see you both very harsh! – the cost of seeing the race on Sunday was, breathlessly, not the best value. £90 plus parking, for three races and the British Talent Cup, for me, it wasn’t enough action on the track.
“Our market in Britain is different, our fans are different, our expectations are slightly different… We’re not going! It’s not about going just because it’s British MotoGP, it still has to represent good value for money. Anything.
“But where do we find that happy medium? Less stage entertainment and a £15 ticket cut?
“Parking, in my opinion, should always be part of the deal. I heard a rumor like this, the reason they charged for parking was to encourage people to ride motorcycles. Now only a type of car might think of that!
“The other problem is that there is not enough space for all the cars. Wait a second, you had 140,000 fans on race day for the F1 Grand Prix. They all came by car. I don’t understand some of the contradictions.
Crash.net Pete McLaren, MotoGP Editor, added: “I think it comes down to the perception of value for money, as well as the actual cost. Do people feel that what they get back is worth what they pay for?
“I also think on Fridays for example, and you often see that sort of thing on some of the flyaways, why not have really cheap tickets to increase attendance and allow pretty much everyone to afford some kind of MotoGP trackside experience. Especially new fans.
Responding to a comment from a listener about the empty stands, McLaren said: “You would have to imagine the stands would have been left in place from F1 anyway, so why not let people use them?
“I also think you need to adjust ticket prices to reflect the situation on an annual basis, depending on the circumstances and taking into account the factors mentioned by Keith. How popular is the sport in terms of UK viewing figures? Is there a home runner doing well in the upper class? What is people’s disposable income compared to previous years?
“I don’t think you can just charge a blanket rate year after year assuming people will automatically keep coming back.
“People have other choices, including WorldSBK and BSB, and I think they will look at British MotoGP every season and decide, is it good value for money? Given all the financial pressures that people are currently experiencing.
“As far as the organization of the event is concerned, we should give credit to Silverstone. We’ve all been in massive queues to get in or out of Grand Prix circuits in the past and, for me at least, that side has been running like clockwork all weekend.
“But there is no doubt that you need to attract more fans.”
The trio then debated the impact of free-to-air TV versus pay-per-view and how to attract new fans to the sport, as well as potential improvements to the on-track experience itself.
Silverstone is listening…
Speaking directly to listeners, Huewen concludes: “Keep reaching out and leaving your opinions because we don’t ignore them and the fact is that Managing Director Stuart Pringle – and one or two others at Silverstone – were among those listening. last week’s podcast.
“I’ve had a few emails from Silverstone since regarding our podcast and the ideas that have come up. They will also be looking at our schedule. So your comments are taken up by Silverstone and anyone who wants to give something more to the fans of the track. They are listening.”
Austria’s new chicane looks like it was designed by a 2-year-old child!
Attention then turns to this weekend’s Austrian MotoGP, which will feature a new ‘Z’ shaped chicane inserted into Turn 2 of the Red Bull Ring circuit, in response to Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli’s huge crash in 2020.
“They put this zig-zag in now, halfway to Turn 3,” Huewen said. “I just wonder if there was a 2 year old who scribbled on the piece of paper Tilke was working on!
” I really do not understand. Yeah, they did what they had to do to slow things down, I guess. It will be interesting to see what the runners really think about it. I’m sure they’ll just bite their lip and carry on.
“But it looks awful. Literally, the mark of Zorro. A zig-zag… You get the idea, I’m not really a fan! But that’s me looking at a piece of paper, not overlapping it. Let’s see how the riders fared in the first few tries.
“It’s a stop-start chicane at the end of the day, they could have had something so much nicer than that.”
“Quartararo told Silverstone that the new chicane also looks a bit dangerous,” added McLaren.
“The original track layout still exists and is still in use by F1, and if a driver loses control on the way to the new chicane, they could potentially come into contact with the drivers ahead as they cross the track. of origin.
“I’m sure Quartararo isn’t the only one looking at this quibble and wondering if it solves one problem and maybe creates another?”
Bastianini or Martin – Ducati’s big decision
This weekend’s event should also be the last before Ducati decides whether Enea Bastianini or Jorge Martin will join Francesco Bagnaia in the factory team next season.
“If you look at it on paper, Bastianini has three wins and Martin no wins this year. But then if you look at the last five races, Martin has scored more than double the points of Bastianini,” McLaren said.
“Martin also had manual operation earlier in the season, and more importantly they ride bikes of different specs, which makes direct comparisons difficult.
“But there is no doubt that Bastianini was back in form at Silverstone, just 1.6 seconds from victory with a broken wing. Without that, it might well have been Bastianini, rather than Bagnaia, who took his fourth win of the year.
“I think it would be easier for Ducati if Martin was the clear favorite because he is already at Pramac and therefore a bit higher up the ladder towards the factory team. But Bastianini makes it a very difficult decision. for them… “
Huewen said: “I love Jorge for that [factory] place and I think Bastianini in Pramac will be the right choice. But it’s based on looking from where I am, not where they are.
“It will be a decision based on the overall image. Gigi is not stupid and he will make the right choice for the team, and I don’t think Bagnaia will be affected by whoever they put in his side.
The trio finish by making their top three predictions for this weekend’s race, which the current weather forecast could see wet weather on all three days.
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