The year of MotoGP history-making continues as Viñales takes an incredible first victory in the British GP
Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) has taken a historic first win for Suzuki since their return to the championship, as the 2013 Moto3 world champion was in a class of his own at the Octo British Grand Prix to become the seventh winner so far in 2016.
Viñales, who got his first podium in Le Mans in the French GP, got a front row start and simply pulled away once away in the lead – putting in an incredible performance to cross the line 3.4 seconds clear.
“This victory has been really emotional, my first in MotoGP and also the first for Suzuki since 2007. I felt I was in a good condition and that here we had the potential, but until the race ends you can never know. The team did an absolutely great job, improving the bike since the last races and also in the whole weekend. After the first start I felt really confident and I thought I had a margin to keep ahead, and this gave me the needed confidence to do it again after the second start. My feeling with the machine was perfect, I tried to push hard at the beginning to take advantage and then I just controlled the race. After the last races we felt we had the potential and finally we proved that the job we are doing is really in the right direction.”
After an almighty battle behind, it was home hero and pole sitter Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) who completed the podium. It was a fitting race for Rossi’s 20th start in the premier class, as he became the first rider to hit the milestone.
There was Lap 1 drama as the Octo British Grand Prix got underway, with rain threatening the grid and bike swaps practiced in morning Warm Up. With the initial lights out it was Viñales at the front, before an incident between Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha tech 3) brought out the red flag and the two riders went to the medical center. On the restart, the front row of the grid of Crutchlow, Rossi and Viñales fought for the lead, with Crutchlow taking the position early before Viñales got through to pull away.
With Viñales away at the front, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) led a five bike train of Rossi, Crutchlow, Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) and Marquez’ teammate Dani Pedrosa in the chase, with reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) having a difficult race as he circulated in P8 despite his stunning record at the British venue. With Rossi then taking over in P2, Viñales was still over two seconds clear and the chase was on.
Iannone, after making his way to the front of the chasing group, then lost his Ducati with 6 laps to go and suffered a DNF, leaving Crutchlow in P2 and Rossi and Marquez to duel it out.
With the Italian and the Spaniard the two men at the top of the championship – although Marquez 53 points clear – it was a battle royale for points, pride and supremacy as the two fought. With characteristic hard racing and some incredible moves from each, Marquez eventually broke away from his Italian title rival to close on Crutchlow – before running deep and dropping back behind teammate Pedrosa into P5, into another battle that he just won to come home P4. Pedrosa had a calmer ride than his teammate to the top five, but looked to have made an incredible leap forward in the setup of his Repsol Honda as he got back to running in the front group at the British GP.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) came home P6 in a solid ride despite having twisted his knee in a testing crash ahead of the event, with Aleix Espargaro on the second Team Suzuki Ecstar similarly riding after a recent hand injury to come home P7.
5-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo crossed the line eighth after struggling for grip, with Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) and Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completing the top ten.
Home hero Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) was the last to cross the line after a crash, with compatriot and replacement rider Alex Lowes coming home in P13 on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in a solid first MotoGP performance.
Jack Miller in his comeback from injury just missed out on a championship point, finishing 16th just behind teammate Tito Rabat.
Jack Miller – 16th
“Today’s race was a difficult one for me and the biggest issue I had was with the rear tyre. I had a really good start in both races and I felt really comfortable in the opening laps. But after about five laps I started to have some issues with grip on the right side of the rear tyre. I was just out there doing laps for the remainder of the race and making sure I didn’t take any risks to avoid crashing. It was impossible for me to fight with anybody and I was happy to get in 19 laps on the bike after a difficult time with injuries. But I am disappointed because I’m sure I could have picked up some important points today.”
The grid now head for Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on the 9-11th September for the next race, with Marquez still 50 points clear at the front – despite Rossi taking a small amount of points back from the Spaniard’s lead in the battle of Britain.
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