Silverstone improvements impress Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi flew in from Italy for a first taste of the new Silverstone circuit after missing last year's British leg of the MotoGP Championship.

Rossi, who scored his first podium for Ducati in France last week , rode a few laps on a Ducati superbike ahead of the next round in Britain on 12 June.

"I decided to come here and see the track because all the others say it is good and fast," said Rossi.

"I'm happy to do some laps and I can't wait for the grand prix."

The Northamptonshire circuit unveiled its new multi-million pound pits and paddock complex on Tuesday among a gathering of Formula 1 and MotoGP luminaries.

It includes 41 garages, the race control building and podium, hospitality suites, a media centre and a new spectator area towards the end of the lap.

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Silverstone's transformation began in 2010 with the introduction of a new layout which blended a series of corners after Abbey before rejoining the old track at Brooklands and lengthened the track by almost half a mile.

And nine-time world champion Rossi, who missed last year's race at Silverstone because of injury, has been impressed by the new developments.

"I'm very excited because I had a toe injury so I had to watch the race from the television but it was not the same and so I decided to come here [today] and see the track because all the other drivers say it is good and fast," added the Ducati rider.

"So I'm happy to do some laps and I can't wait for the grands prix.

"It's a great track, very technical and fast. It's part of motorcycling history with Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts. I'll ride a superbike for understanding [of the track] but I'm sure in MotoGP it will be different."

Britain's Cal Clutchlow, who rides for Yamaha Tech 3, was also in attendance along with Moto2 riders Scott Redding and Bradley Smith, 125cc stars Danny Webb, Harry Stafford and Danny Kent and former MotoGP rider James Toseland.

"Silverstone has been quite good to me over the years, I had a 125cc British title here and the World Superbike double here last year so if I can replicate that in a few weeks' time I'll be pretty pleased," said Clutchlow.

"I don't know if it will be that easy but we'll try."