Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 290: Silverstone MotoGP - Dissecting Bagnaia's Win

In the latest episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast, Neil Morrison, Adam Wheeler, and David Emmett look back at the British Grand Prix. There was plenty to discuss, from Pecco Bagnaia's victory, Aleix Espargaro's attempt to hurl himself into next week, and Fabio Quartararo's Long Lap penalty.

We kick off with Adam asking why attendance at Silverstone was so low, and if we can draw any conclusions from it. We discuss why the Japanese factories are struggling against the European manufacturers, and what they need to do to fix it. We ask whether Maverick Viñales is the real deal now, or still somehow flawed, and how he came to find his feet again. And we talk about how tire choice proved crucial in determining the outcome of the race. Naturally enough, we finish off with our winners and losers.

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Thanks to Fly Racing and Renthal Street for their support for the show.

We also have a Patreon. Paddock Pass Podcast Patreon supporters get exclusive content, including the Paddock Notes show, where we discuss what happened at the end of every day of a MotoGP weekend, and interviews with riders, team managers, and important figures in the sport. Enjoy the show!

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Been to Silverstone a few times for race day but last few GP's i have only gone on fridays just to see the bikes/riders up close.  Personally i can't stand the viewing at Silverstone (especially from the grandstands) as they are a distance from the track.  I would love to go back to Donington (despite awful toilets/facilities & horrific parking), what a track to spectate at.

I put a comment on youtube about podcast with Huewen also banging on about F1.  We are a niche sport, we will never be anywhere near the size/popularity of F1.  The man in the street has no idea what engine is in an F1 car, how much power it puts out etc etc BUT they see that it has 4 wheels and a steering wheel and they can relate to that.  In comparison to that, blokes at work have asked me how a bike gets round a corner if you don't 'steer' it!  Sorry for the rant but there's a few bike podcasts i have stopped listening to as there's too much F1 talk.

Agree on the Rossi/Marquez factor, also the fact there is no British rider in the top class has to make a difference.

Interesting to hear the Paddock Pass Podcast team identifying reasons why Silverstone didn’t sell more tickets for the MotoGP. I hesitate to say disappointing ticket sales, for all the reasons the pod team (and Motomutterers) have identified, the event was never going to be a sell out. Moreover, we don’t know what effect broadcasting the race free to air on terrestrial tv will have had. Nor do we know how many additional viewers the broadcast had on the day and continues to have on catch up. Only the Silverstone marketing team know whether the event was a disappointment because only they knew what to expect. But what happens in the Press is a collective throwing up of hands in horror about state of the sport because it wasn’t as full as an earlier event for racing cars. Well, journos have been talking the sport down since the start of the season. I’m looking at Oxley, Patterson and others such as Heuwen, and yes, even at David (and I yield to no-one in my respect for the man who, through his writing alone, brought me back to the sport). The constant, drip drip of negativity, has turned into a flood. The Press claims only to reflect public opinion, not shape it. Well, that’s nonsense and journos know it, or they wouldn’t bother. A narrative of a sport in crisis has been established -  when the racing has never been closer, faster or safer. I’m not asking for mindless, cheerleading, it was a brilliant, brilliant race, as was Assen prior to Silverstone, and yet what’s the first topic, the headline, the issue that sets the agenda for wider debate? Ticket sales, ffs! Journalists, you want the sport to achieve its potential? To attract more spectators, to bring in more sponsors, to prosper. Well, maybe before you go pointing the finger at others, you could have a look closer to home.

You make an excellent point. But of course, part of the job of journalists is to point out all of the factors affecting the sport, positive and negative. Sometimes that can seem like negativity. But I agree, that can be off-putting for fans.

It's simply the unvarnished truth, and presented so we can make up our own minds about things. I like it that way. Thanks David.

Argument also greatly depends on how one defines  'growing the sport', if one feels it is necessary to 'grow the sport' and what one considers that 'sporty' aspect to be.

More money, more people watching, more entertainment, more show does not make motor racing better in my opinion. F***1 being the perfect example. The sport has been sacrificed for the show, the commerce.

I'd rather have less money involved less glitz and glamour and simpler bikes, less development. I admire the riders, not so much the bikes they are sitting on. 

Personally I agree. I'm less sure whether that has any relevance whatsoever. If the day arrived where I have no interest in MotoGP it would continue provided some people are interested. I suspect that any attempt to define MotoGP beyond a simple format description is a subjective matter. I might look at it and think to myself 'this is crap, this isn't sport anymore, it used to be great and now it's just a show' but to another person it's their focus and joy. I cannot fathom what is genuine in that context beyond what I like or do not like. I think it is a given that out there somewhere are people who haven't watched since the 90's because it's all electronics now, the 500's have gone, it's all just a big show, too much money etc. There's also a bunch of people who watch it now but look back at the history of the sport and think that, beyond the odd youtube classic, it's like watching paint dry. If in ten years time MotoGP has overtaking aids gifted to riders during the race based on their social media engagement because otherwise there would be no overtaking, I will not be watching. However, if more people are watching it then than now because of the same things that stopped me watching, maybe, objectively, it's right. It might not be what I like but how else to measure success ? If nobody was interested in it, it wouldn't exist.

Motogp has maintained its integrity and kept it much more pure than most other sports. They didn't slam the social or "current thing" down everybodies throat, they kept it 99% bike racing and it is admirable that they did. Their bottom line didn't get annihilated like it did in F1 so there is a nugget of wisdom in there and it held our sport together. Things could be much much worse for sure.

The commerce vs purity debate always ends up coming to a head. When V8SC chased Ambrose out of the sport back in the early 00's I turned it off for good. For me personally as soon as the cash outweighs the sport - rules for one and not the other, obvious refereeing manipulation etc.. It's a wrap.

Whilst Motogp is an extremely elaborate marketing exercises dressed up as a bike race, they definitely have the balance right(ish) for now and I hope it stays that way well into the future. 

Silverstone is somewhat of an outlier crowd wise this year and it's a complex issue for sure. Fingers crossed for bumper crowds to wrap up 2022 in style. 

Does anyone know the attendance figures for the WSBK round at Donington this year where there were plenty of Brits ? Plus what are ticket prices for both events ?

Don't know prices at Donington and Silverstone completely. I went on Friday to Silverstone and it cost £20 per ticket and £16 parking.  

Eurosport said Donington had 51,000 WEEKEND attendance.

Thanks to all on the podcast really enjoyed it.

I’m going to buck the trend. I really like Silverstone as a circuit – the racing there is often excellent, and years ago I heard Bradley Smith on the Day of Champions say Silverstone is one of the only circuits in the world you can really open a MotoGP bike up (I used to marshal for the ride-in btw).

I don’t mind being further away, I sit at Abbey in the Village complex and you can see three turns where the bikes will dive for overtakes – its brilliant.

I went for the entire weekend every year from 2010 up to the year of the washout debacle (2018?). I haven’t been since.

We have a campervan and we like to camp for the weekend. My wife checked the total price this year, parking the van 3 nights, tickets for the covered stand, over £800 in total - half of that was parking the van. I mean – that’s nuts!

We live over two hours away so turning up daily isn’t on.

It’s a pity – of course the sport misses the huge name Rossi (ask outside the sport - that's the only name people know) and the imperious and devilish MM, and no Brit rider, but surely the prices have got out of control. Admittedly you get entertainment – and that has a cost – I get that. I also predicted years ago that losing free to air on the BBC was going to be bad for attendances, as the sport loses the casual viewer.

BTW I don’t think the podcast is putting the sport down, it is fair to say in the UK, attendances have gone down considerably even from 5 years ago (I think I remember 90,000 on race day circa 2014 / 2015?). That’s not comparing to F1, that’s comparing now with fairly recent history. I hope the sport revives in the UK - we need a new Barry Sheene!

Finally - yes maybe there aren't the characters now - but Pecco does seem like a really nice lad so we cheer for him*!

*actually they're all nice lads - even the perpetually exasperated and arm-waving Aleix!


Really ? Half of the £800 is for parking ? £400 ? To park your camper van ? Even if you stayed 3 full days, 72 hours, that's £5.50 per hour. I'm asking if it's true not because I think you're a liar but because you must have made a mistake...surely you must have ? If you haven't then all questions regarding attendance are answered. Oh yeah we do charge nurses to park at their place of work so...

Nope, my wife was booking and I asked her to recheck before I wrote the post. So that was full weekend attendance for 2 at the covered stand in the Village B complex and parking the campervan Thu, Fri, Sat nights on the Silverstone site, yes its a nice site but... Bonkers innit?

£400 to park your camper van...

I guess they charge you based on how many people are staying inside your camper van. Like in some countries you pay for the hotel room, others you pay for the number of people staying in that room and at silverstone you get charged in a similar way even if you bring your own hotel. What did they do to make it so special ? Super high speed internet for your plot ? Dancers and fire eaters ? All night entertainment ? Free massage ? Breakfast included ? Horizon pool you could park up next to...good view of the toilets ? Did the Village B have a pub ? I know sometimes when selling something you have to make people feel they are privileged to be getting the chance to buy. Too cheap and it's not so special those prices I hope they knocked on every 5 star 'bring your own hotel' door and thanked them, little hug, maybe a peck on the cheek and whisper "you're the best" down the ear.