Cal Crutchlow deserves a podium finish at Silverstone - Steve Parrish

By Steve ParrishBBC motorcycling commentator
Cal Crutchlow on his Yamaha
Cal Crutchlow is seeking a maiden podium finish at Silverstone

All eyes will be on the British weather and home rider Cal Crutchlow as the MotoGP season reaches Silverstone for the British Grand Prix.

We're definitely going to have a nicer day on race day, because nothing can be as bad as the unbelievably wet conditions we had here last year.

Looking at the forecasts, it looks like we will only get the odd shower on Sunday, which is good news for the fans in the grandstands and should spice up the racing on track.

Sadly, it could be last time the British fans see Honda rider Casey Stoner, as he is retiring at the end of the year. The Australian has been the fastest rider on the planet in the last few years and watching him live is just something else.

He is definitely one of the favourites to win this weekend. The other obvious contender is championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, who this week extended his Yamaha contract for another two years. It's great to get that out of the way nice and early and now he can focus on trying to win this year's championship.

Lorenzo was leading the standings when he arrived at Silverstone last year but it all went horribly wrong when he crashed out in the wet. He couldn't believe it because he is such a stunningly good wet rider, which he showed at Le Mans last month.

With Lorenzo committing to Yamaha and now seemingly off the market, I don't think Honda will rush into signing a replacement for Stoner. If I was them, I would wait and see who will float to the top as the season goes on.

Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi is one contender for the seat. He says he will stay at Ducati, but I'm sure he would consider a move if the opportunity arose.

Crutchlow is riding well, as is his Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, while Ben Spies is not doing so well at the Yamaha factory team, so there is plenty of opportunity for seats to change hands at the top teams.

Talking of Crutchlow, I think he has a chance of a first podium this weekend. I had dinner with him last week at the Isle of Man TT and he has promised me he's not going to crash again like he did last year.

Crutchlow is a different rider this year in his second season. He's more focused and mature. I have never seen anyone go into a winter and come out the other side with such an improved level.

I also firmly believe he is very fast in the rain and I think he is secretly hoping that it could be wet. His first podium probably would come easier in those conditions.

Ducati rider Rossi, meanwhile, didn't get it together here in the wet last year but showed how good he is in slippery conditions with his first podium of the season at a wet Le Mans, so he should be in the mix.

Crutchlow heads a strong British charge at Silverstone this year, with James Ellison joining him in MotoGP and the likes of Scott Redding, Bradley Smith and Gino Rea competing in the Moto2 series, the level below MotoGP.

Full information for MotoGP on BBC TV

Saturday 16 June (all times in BST)

1255 -1605 - Red Button: MotoGP Silverstone Qualifying

Sunday 17 June

1105-1230 - Red Button: Silverstone Moto2

1230-1430 - BBC two + HD: MotoGP: Silverstone

1430-1530 - Red Button: Silverstone Moto 3

Full information for MotoGP on Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra:

Friday 15 June

0845-1215 - 5 live sports extra: First practice round 6

Sunday 17 June

0845-1255 - 5 live sports extra: Round 6 MotoGP warm ups and Moto2

1300-1400 - Radio 5 live: British MotoGP

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