British MotoGP – Close your eyes, that’s RACING

Lorenzo spent most of his race seeing a pit board that said "Marquez +0".

Moto GP

Lorenzo spent most of his race seeing a pit board that said "Marquez +0".
Lorenzo spent most of his race seeing a pit board that said “Marquez +0”.

The British Moto GP at Silverstone provided some of the most superb racing action of the season. When you involuntarily close your eyes and clench up your shoulders several times in the last couple of laps you know it’s been a spectacular race – and all three classes provided that at Silverstone!

In the Moto GP race, Jorge Lorenzo got his usual demon start (he’s replaced Dani Pedrosa as the Startmeister this season) and led 17 of the first 20 laps. Marc Marquez – who’d dislocated his shoulder in a heavy early-morning warm-up crash – was right on his tail, and Pedrosa, making an uncharacteristic poor start, soon worked his way up to join them.

An English brolly girl with good teeth? My, how times are a changing.
An English brolly girl with good teeth? My, how times are a changing.

The three were in a class of their own. Behind them, Valentino Rossi, Stefan Bradl, and Alvaro Bautista (who as usual seems to have seriously upped his game as his contract for next season gets under pressure) had their own wild battle.

Over the final two laps, Marquez and Lorenzo traded four hair-raising passes, all of them forcing the passee to stand the bike up; pretty wild. Two of those four happened in the last three corners of the race; spectacular.

Lorenzo said, “This was one of the best races I’ve ever had … I pushed from the beginning to try and open a gap, even more than in recent races but it was impossible. Marc never gives up, even if he’s a little bit injured after the warm up. … When he overtook me three corners from the end I thought it was over again and second place but then he opened a little gap in the last corner so I thought ‘now or never’ and I tried and got it. To be honest I’m not thinking about the championship, I’m thinking just to enjoy this victory which was very special!”

Marquez, who is almost distressingly adult for his 20 years in addition to being unbelievably fast, said, “I’m very happy with how things went today. This morning when my shoulder popped out I thought that my weekend was over, but the doctors were able to put it back in place quickly and that allowed me to be up there at the front, fighting with Jorge. I didn’t feel much pain, because I received an injection to dull the pain, but I was lacking strength and was feeling tired by the end. Despite all this, I was able to battle all the way until the final corner with Jorge, who eventually emerged victorious today. Congratulations to him! For me these 20 points are like a win!”

The battle for "just off podium" was pretty spectacular too.
The battle for “just off podium” was pretty spectacular too.

Behind the Rossi/Bautista/Bradl battle – which ended in that order, with Bradl dropping back and Rossi taking Bautista on the last lap – and behind Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, the two factory Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden had a good scrap with Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith. It ended with Dovi crashing out, and Hayden squeaking past Smith. The final spot in the top 10 went to Aleix Espargaro on the first CRT bike, a brave ride with a broken little finger after a practice session crash.

World Moto GP Championship Point Standings after 12 of 18 races

1. Marc Marquez, Spain, Repsol Honda, 233 points

2. Dani Pedrosa, Spain, Repsol Honda, 203

3. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain, Yamaha Factory Racing, 194

4. Valentino Rossi, Italy, Yamaha Factory Racing, 156

5. Cal Crutchlow, U.K., Tech 3 / Monster Yamaha, 136

6. Stefan Bradl, Germany, LCR Honda, 113

7. Alvaro Bautista, Spain, Gresini GO&Fun Honda, 103

8. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy, Ducati Team, 96

9. Nicky Hayden, U.S.A., Ducati Team, 88

10. Aleix Espargaro, Spain, Aspar ART Aprilia, 68

Moto 2

Scott Reading won convincingly in front of his home crowd.
Scott Reading won convincingly in front of his home crowd.

Series leader Scott Redding solidified his championship position with a strong win in Moto 2, although he was under strong pressure from Takaagi Nakagami, Thomas Luthi, and Esteve (Tito) Rabat. Redding led the first half of the race, got passed by Nakagami (who’s surely going to win a race before the season’s out), but pushed back by him with five laps remaining. Then he opened up a small gap as the other three squabbled madly over second, eventually finishing in the order noted above.

Redding’s main competitor for the season, Pol Espargaro, could only manage an eighth position finish, stretching Redding’s series lead to 38 points. It was a nice punctuation to last week’s formal announcement that next year Redding would move to Moto GP with the Gresini Go&Fun group, riding a Honda customer bike. With Espargaro also moving to Moto GP, replacing Cal Crutchlow at the Tech 3/Monster Yamaha team, it’ll be fun to watch their continuing rivalry.

Moto 3

Moto 3 didn't disappoint either.
Moto 3 didn’t disappoint either.

The Moto 3 race provided the usual number of ‘close your eyes and hope’ moments, but at the end it was the usual crowd of motorcycle racing axe-murderers grabbing the top spots, with series leader Luis Salom extending his margin by beating Alex Rins, Alex Marquez, and Maverick Vinales (all four riders from Spain). That gives Salom a healthy 25-point (one race win) lead over Vinales, with Rins close behind.


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  1. A note about Bautista’s ride for 2014: His contract is pretty much air-tight. I know there were a lot of grumblings about him possibly losing his ride were he not to up his game, but there really hasn’t been any doubt. Back in April, Bautista had this to say about it:

    “The problem is that…if I was to spend this whole season developing the suspension without actually achieving good results, nobody would be able to secure me a place in MotoGP for 2014. So we came to an agreement. They decided they would keep me as a rider to help them develop the Showa suspension, but as a reward they offered me an extension of one more year on my contract.”

    We’re seeing a rider whose team has finally given him the feeling/confidence he needs to ride consistently fast and is now capable of showing his pedigree. It’s gotta be tough running Showa and Nissin when there is precious little data available to be quick out of the blocks compared to the Öhlins riders (everybody else on the grid).

    As for the racing in general, all three classes really delivered. Moto2 and Moto3 were absolutely nuts. Nakagami rode a really mature race and I can’t help but think we’ll see him get his first victory in the class sometime this season. Moto3 was a classic roll of the dice, but it must have been a grave disappointment for Viñales. It was his first time off the podium all season.

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