- Round 9: Donington Park, United Kingdom
- Track length: 4023 m
- Opened: 1977
- Fastest Lap Ever: 1' 29.973 (Colin Edwards, 2004)
- MotoGP lap record: 1' 29.973 (Colin Edwards, 2004)
- Last year MotoGP winner: Valentino Rossi
- Circuit tel: +44 1332 814120
- Circuit web site: http://www.doningtonpark.co.uk
2004 MotoGP Race Summary;
Threatening rain in the early laps of the 2004 British Grand Prix could not stop Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi from picking up his fifth win of the year in commanding fashion. In front of 82,091 spectators Rossi's one-man charge at the Donington track increased his championship lead to 22 points ahead of Honda riders Sete Gibernau and Max Biaggi. Rossi's team-mate Carlos Checa made a determined ride to sixth place.
Rossi took control of the British MotoGP from pole position into the first turn as he attempted an early breakaway. Passes from Loris Capirossi (Ducati) and Gibernau prevented him from such a tactic until the second lap, when he managed to pull out a short gap of 0.7 seconds. The distance between Rossi and the rest of the pack increased until half race distance, and his cushion of time had grown to over two seconds. The Italian continued his race domination to build a four second gap which he guarded throughout the final laps. Having eased off to enjoy a victory celebration he crossed the line with a margin of 2.945 seconds over his current 2005 team-mate Colin Edwards.
2005 Set-up report YZR-M1;
Donington was a circuit born with a reputation for being challenging on both rider and machine, a reputation that only gained further strength with the 1987 extension - carried out to allow Donington to form part of the GP calendar. It's this 'modern' extension that has added to the complexity of the circuit layout, which can be separated into two contrasting components. The first, from the start finish line to the right-hander called Coppice Corner, is a flowing sequence of medium to high-speed corners that drop down Craner Curves into the Old Hairpin before climbing back out on the approach to Coppice. In an extreme contrast the circuit is completed with a sequence of stop-and-go switchback and hairpins between Fogarty Esses and Goddard Corner.
This one feature alone makes setting up a motorcycle chassis difficult, as a fast lap will come down to a compromise in all-round set-up. Add to that the lack of grip, which some say is due to the jet fuel residue left by the nearby East Midlands airport, and the best result will be achieved by the rider who can make the most of the situation.
The main aim is to find a chassis that offers a good pitching balance during braking and acceleration - to increase the much needed grip levels. However too much and you lose stability under brakes in the second half of the lap; not enough and the bike will be difficult to turn through the faster sweeping opening sequence of turns. The catch is that the first half of the circuit lends itself to a fast lap-time, while a good set-up for the second half - the stop-and-go addition - is where many riders can make an easy pass.
What also needs to be taken into consideration is that the undulating layout of the first part of the circuit pushes the front of the bike a great deal, while the second half is pretty much 'highside' territory. With this in mind softer spring rates front and rear will be used, with the fine-tuning left to the spring preload. This approach will improve drive and front-end feedback, although it will come at the expense of a little braking stability into the two hairpins.
As for the YZR-M1's in-line four-cylinder engine, its linear character will prove ideal for the slick layout. Still it will be tuned to offer a strong midrange and a progressive and predictable delivery. Confidence to use that power on a slippery surface infested with changing cambers is the key to success here.