Andrea Dovizioso stuns Silverstone to retake the Championship lead
MotoGP 2017 – Round 12 – Silverstone
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) became the first man to win four races this season at the British GP, as the Championship challenger put on a tactical masterclass once again.
In a close second but unable to make a last lap lunge was Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), with early leader Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completing the podium in his 300th premier class race start.
As well as the podium finishers, the standings took a shake up as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was forced to retire.
Marc Marquez – DNF
“Today was really unlucky, as I was feeling very good on the bike and was there with the others, just trying to manage the race and tyres, especially the front as the temperature was higher than yesterday and I wanted to save it so to attack in the end. I had already seen that Dovi had something more than Viñales and Rossi, but I thought I could try and fight with him. So, everything was going well when I suddenly had a problem with the engine at the end of the straight. It’s a shame of course but that’s something that can happen in racing, and it was the first time for me with Honda. The positives are that we were fast here, as we have been at other tracks, and that we’re still there in the Championship. Zero points today, but I’m still feeling good with the bike and am looking forward to the next races.”
It was Rossi who bolted off the line; the nine-time World Champion getting a lightning start from the middle of the front row and disappearing into the distance in the initial stages.
Behind the ‘Doctor’, Marquez led a close five rider train with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Viñales, Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Dovizioso on the chase. Marquez suffered a huge moment early on, but the rider from Cervera remained in charge of the chasing pack.
Soon, the Dovizioso struck against Lorenzo and the group began to pull away from the ‘Spartan’, just as Rossi pulled away on his own at the front. The game of high-octane chess continued with the four in line and staying within touching distance of Rossi, until a sudden puff of smoke gave the Championship a serious shake up and Marquez was out of it.
That left four, with Rossi then reeled in and everything looking like it would go down to the wire. And that it did, with Dovizioso able to pounce with three to go and get past his compatriot, swiftly followed by Viñales. The ‘Doctor’ tried to fight back but found the duo able to just stay clear – and the final lap was approaching.
With the concertina effect seeing the Ducati able to pull a gap and then the Yamaha able to close, it was incredibly tight as the two headed around the final 5.9km lap of Silverstone.
Having played his hand to perfection, Dovizioso was able to keep the advantage to the line – taking his fourth win of the year. Viñales took second, with Rossi completing the podium.
Andrea Dovizioso – P1
“I’m so happy about today’s victory, my fourth this year, because every race we win is different from the others, and this means that we are really strong and can fight for the championship. It was a really tough race because all of our rivals were on top form. Today Marquez was unlucky, but we did a perfect race because, even though we were probably not the quickest outright, we were able to interpret it in the best possible way and go on to win. This means that the work we did during the weekend was excellent, and so was my race strategy because I managed to get into the right position at the right time. This year every race is a story in itself and the tyres are always a key factor, but we are very focused on our working method which is producing results.”
Luigi Dall’Igna – Ducati Corse General Manager)
“I want to send my congratulations to all the men and women of Ducati Corse for this fourth win of the season because, if I think of how hard they have been working over the last few years, I’m really happy that now they can finally see the results of their work. Andrea did another marvellous race, in which he never made one single mistake, and also Jorge scored a good result on a difficult track like this one, finishing just over three seconds behind the winner, so I have to say that I am really optimistic for the future.”
Maverick Vinales – P2
“It was difficult, but I think we managed the race really well, especially with the electronics, we were really strong in all the areas. I think we did a good job. This weekend we came back, feeling strong again and that‘s the positive point, especially during the last part of the race, during which we weren‘t really strong before. This time we were the fastest on the last laps, so we are going to try to be more competitive and even stronger in the next races. I knew that on the last laps my bike was really good, so I was just trying to keep the pace and the concentration and save the tyres until the end. For sure, I was able to do really good laps in the beginning, but then the tyre would have dropped a lot, so I was thinking about doing the other step: go slowly in the beginning and pushing at the end and this was the result. I was catching Dovi on the last lap and trying my best. I set one of my best laps on the last one, so I gave it everything to catch him, but honestly, today, second place was the best we could do. We have to be happy that we‘re working in the correct way again.”
Valentino Rossi – P3
“I‘m satisfied because it was a great race for me. I was able to ride really well after a great start and I stayed in front and rode on the limit without making mistakes, so I enjoyed it a lot for 17 laps. I think this is a good way to celebrate my 300th race in MotoGP‘s premier class. There remains a bit of frustration, because I knew on the last laps I would suffer a bit with the degradation of the rear tyre, but I think this weekend we improved a lot. We‘re still not at the top, we have to do better if we want to try to win, but it was a good weekend.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“Today‘s race results were a well-deserved reward for our riders and crew members and a testament to their hard work over the last few weeks. Maverick chose to use the soft rear tyre, as it gave him a good feeling on the Friday and during the warm up, and he managed the tyre life really cleverly by pacing himself until the very end of the race. He came incredibly close to catching Dovizioso on the last lap, but just missed out and finished second. It was great to see Vale lead the race for 17 laps with a lot of confidence, especially during his 300th Grand Prix start milestone. It was a shame that the tyre degradation meant he wasn‘t able to defend his position at the end, but he rode a faultless race, and he and Maverick recovered a good amount of championship points today, which could prove to be crucial at the end of the season. This result gives us a lot of confidence, especially after the last two races. We’re now going to Misano, where we had a really positive test last week, so we have strong intentions to get a top result there too.”
Crutchlow, was agonisingly close to the top three over the closing laps but dit not quite have enough to make his move on the podium, taking a close fourth.
Cal Crutchlow – P4
“It’s frustrating as I came here to win. You try to win every weekend, but this weekend was a special one, I felt good last year and I felt good again all weekend here, but I just didn’t have enough in the end. The other guys were quicker than me today, the front tyre was too soft for me as always and this was the reason I was struggling with the rear tyre in the end as I was having to spin a lot to turn the bike.“But I did the best job I could and today that was fourth. A home podium would have been good so yes, I’m disappointed, but all credit to the three guys in front – Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso) rode fantastically. I didn’t think all weekend he was the guy to beat, I thought it would be Marc (Marquez). But we have to go to Misano with our head held high and try again there.”
Jorge Lorenzo had a great race to cross the line in fifth – and only 3.5 seconds off the race winning time of his teammate. The ‘Spartan’ overcame Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in the latter stages to pull a sizeable gap on the Frenchman over the line as he continues to move forward. Zarco took P6, comfortably ahead of a more difficult day at the office for Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team).
Jorge Lorenzo – P5
“This time I opted for a more conservative start than usual and maybe it slowed my progress in the early laps. For sure after rather a difficult weekend, in which we never exactly found the right rhythm, we have to be happy because in the race I managed to manage the throttle well and preserve the tyres. In this way the rear tyre stayed consistent throughout. It wasn’t sufficient to catch the leading group but it was enough to keep the gap down and score my best result of the season in this sense. And I think that at Misano we can do even better. I want to congratulate Andrea, who rode a masterful race, and showed that he was perfect in managing this type of race. His results speak for themselves: four wins and lthe championship lead can only make the entire team happy.”
Johann Zarco – P6
“I am pretty happy with the final result. The race was positive but the start was tricky for me and it took some time to overtake Pol Espargaro. Once I got past him, I was very consistent throughout the sprint but the leading group ran a really strong pace and in the end, I couldn’t make the difference to catch them. However, Marquez had a problem, which allowed me to gain a position. So then, I fought with Lorenzo and I believed that I could beat him, but he kept some energy and finally he was quicker. The last two laps were tricky because I was sliding a bit too much, but I definitely made a positive choice with the tyres. I still need to work with the team to find the good setup and riding style to be able to do almost the same lap time from the start to the finish. Ten points are good and I’ve gained some ground on Pedrosa in the championship, which is positive. So overall, I have learnt a lot, I was competitive all weekend and I finished not far from the first guy.”
Dani Pedrosa – P7
“The whole weekend has been quite difficult for us at this track, but the team tried to give me the best bike possible and I tried to do my best in the race. I really gave it my all and actually my pace was better than in the practices, almost one second faster compared to the rest of the weekend. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to stay with the front group, but I’ll take the positive part—the fact that we managed to improve a little. We have the same gap to the top in the Championship, so we’ll put this race behind us and work to be stronger and to fight at the front in the next races.”
Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) showed his home race pace once again to take eighth, with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) equaling his best rookie result in ninth just behind the Brit.
Scott Redding – P8
“It was a good race. I am very happy for how things well during this GP. The race pace was good and I have to thanks the team for the work done in order to resolve the problems of Friday. I want to thanks also all the fans that have supported me. It was a good day for us”.
Alex Rins – P9
“I’m happy for how the weekend went; we continue to make steps forward. In the race I felt comfortable from the beginning. Compared to previous races, in this one I managed to defend my position from the very early laps, and then I was able to try to attack. I could sit in 8th or 9th place with confidence, and with a confident pace. But then at the end of the race the rear tyre dropped a lot and I could only hang on to finish in 9th. I’m satisfied by the work we are doing. We continue to improve, not huge improvements, but consistent. We have to keep on getting experience and to try to get better qualifying positions which would make the race easier.”
Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team), after a more difficult qualifying day, completed the top ten.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was hugely impressive once again for KTM, taking P11 after also getting straight through to Q2.
Pol Espargaro – P11
“Maybe we started today with the bar set a little bit too high following a great Brno, Spielberg and then a great first run in qualifying here (seventh) but we didn’t expect these conditions to be so hot and that maybe hurt us a little. At the start of the race I could follow the top guys and do some good laps but step by step the rear tyre dropped a little bit as the hard compound didn’t help us so much. But… no excuses… At the start we could fight when full grip was there and we’ve learnt more as a team to eventually be only 30 seconds off the winner whereas in June at Barcelona we were much more. We are improving…but we remember these improvements don’t come easy and that is why the team and the guys at KTM Motorsport in Austria are on it.”
Mike Leitner – KTM Team Manager MotoGP
“The weekend was good here especially as though we’ve never been here before and because a Silverstone is very difficult with all these bumps, fast and tight corners too. You really need to work on a good setting but the reality is in four sessions it’s very difficult to bridge the gap to the other manufacturers who’ve been here for seven years before so that made it all the more impressive for us that we jumped directly into Q2 for the first time in dry conditions with Pol. Bradley started with his new crew chief and that in itself isn’t easy to start together at this track but it went well. We don’t see the results quite yet but it will grow. Pol did a great race getting towards the top ten – hugely positive. If you’d said to me at the start of the weekend we’d be eleventh and only thirty seconds from the winner, I would have have signed on the line immediately. He had a spill off the bike after the line with a problem we’ve never seen before but we’ll learn from that. We only have one remaining track this year where we haven’t been testing before – Motegi – so we hope we’ll have a better build up to the weekend at the other five tracks.”
Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) followed him home, with Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and Reale Avintia Racing pairing Hector Barbera and Loris Baz locking out the fastest fifteen.
Tito Rabat – P12
“I made a fast start and this gave me the opportunity for a good race after some positive steps with the set-up in the warm-up solved a lot of my problems. I had a good feeling with the rear tyre from first lap and could push and do fast times even when I was riding alone. I am very happy with this result after a difficult weekend and now I’m looking forward to Misano.”
Hector Barbera – P14
“It was a strange race. At the start the bike moved as I put the first gear in and to avoid jumping the start, I stopped and restarted again. This cost me a lot of positions on the first lap and I was almost last. But then I started to recover and pass some riders. I lost too much time trying to get past Smith and Miller, and it was a pity what happened at the start as my pace today was fast enough to fight for a top ten finish. Now we have to focus on this base set up, because it is clear that I’m faster like that. In Misano we need to make another step forward.”
Loris Baz – P15
“It was a difficult race but at the end it was better than we expected. It was a risk to use the soft rear tyre, but it was the tyre with which I was more comfortable and it also allowed me to attack during the first laps of the race. Then I just tried to finish the race as the bike was sliding a lot in the righthand corners. When Abraham passed me, I tried to stay with him, but it was impossible, because with two laps to go the tyre was finished. On the last lap Hector caught me and I had nothing left to defend my position. I scored one point and after all the problems during the weekend, this was not so bad. I hope that we can return to the level from the last races at Misano.”
Jack Miller finished 16th as he struggled to overcome a lack of rear drive grip which impacted on his race day performance.
Jack Miller – P16
“In the race I struggled to find rear drive grip and it is not easy to understand why, maybe it was because of the hotter track temperatures compared to practice and qualifying. It is a real shame and I’m very disappointed with this race. This should have been a great day to pick up some points and now we just have keep working to recover from this slump at the next race.”
Bradley Smith – P17
“I had a great start and was very aggressive in the opening laps to get myself up the order. Then as the race progressed, maybe the tyre choice wasn’t the best but with this temperature being a little higher than before maybe we looked at what the others were doing too much. Should we have taken a risk with another tyre? That can then be the recipe for ‘hero or zero’ so one has to be careful. We’ve learnt a lot this weekend and felt that we have found some good pace to hold in there until the halfway point but I lost the grip and confidence that I needed to make the front work. Obviously it’s heartbreaking to finish a British GP like this but the intent was there from me and all of the boys in the garage but now we focus on Misano where we had a day’s testing last Monday.”
The entire Silverstone weekend was conditioned by physical problems for Aleix Espargaró, suffering from an injury that in any case did not keep the Spanish rider and his Aprilia RS-GP from proving once again to be competitive. Despite the few laps turned during practice, the number 41 Aprilia rider’s performance was excellent, as is confirmed by the spot on the third row earned in qualifying.
Unfortunately, the Spaniard had to deal with the pain during the race and that penalised him particularly in the early phase. With a full fuel tank, Aleix had difficulty in the quick direction changes that are so typical of the English track. Lap by lap the situation improved, so much that the Spanish rider was riding his RS-GP into an unhoped-for top-10 spot. The technical problem that stopped him just a few turns from the end does not overshadow the good performance demonstrated at Silverstone, both in terms of the rider’s immense efforts and the speed of the Italian bike.
Aleix Espargaro – DNF
“It was a difficult weekend. Yesterday, even turning just a few laps, we showed that we can be fast. Today, especially early on in the race with a heavy fuel tank, I really struggled. Despite this, we were about to get into the top-10, which would have been a good result considering my physical conditions. I still don’t know what happened. I saw an alarm on the dashboard and the engine switched off. It’s a pity because these problems have cost us some good chances. Now I want to rest and be at 100% fitness for Misano.”
Romano Albesiano – Aprilia Racing Manager
“First of all I would like to compliment Aleix. Today he was nothing less than heroic and he would have deserved a top-10 finish. Unfortunately there was a problem with the bike’s electronics that switched off the engine and we are still investigating the cause. This weekend was definitely peculiar due to Aleix’s critical physical conditions, but in terms of performance, we saw excellent signs of competitiveness.”
Sam Lowes’ race ended early after a crash which was harmless, but enough to force him to abandon his home GP.
Sam Lowes – DNF
“Obviously this was not the home GP that I had expected. The team did a brilliant job and the fans were fantastic. Unfortunately, in the race I made a mistake on turn 5. It was a low speed crash. I checked the telemetry data and the differences compared to the previous lap were really minimal. It’s frustrating, but I am looking toward the coming races. We still have 6 more chances to improve. It’s a pity for Aleix too because he definitely deserved a good result today.”
Andrea Iannone – DNF
“After this morning’s warm up I had higher expectations for the race; I felt very confident with an improved setup that made me feel good about my GSX-RR. In the race I could sense from the very beginning that the feeling was different, especially in the back. I didn´t have that confidence, as I had issues with the traction, losing time in acceleration. It’s a shame; we have to find out what happened this morning. Then I sustained a crash in the race. I am very sorry for Petrucci. We have already spoken and he understood where I was coming from. So we with continue to work. I’m happy for Alex who had a good race, and a 15 seconds gap from the winner is a positive sign for all of us.”
Now it’s Misano – home turf for many, including Valentino Rossi and new Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso.
ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA 157 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA 148 Repsol Honda Team Honda
ZARCO Johann 5 FRA 109 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA 90 Ducati Team Ducati
CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR 89 LCR Honda Honda
FOLGER Jonas 94 GER 77 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA 75 Octo Pramac Racing Ducati
BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA 58 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati
REDDING Scott 45 GBR 45 Octo Pramac Racing Ducati
ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA 43 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
MILLER Jack 43 AUS 43 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
BAZ Loris 76 FRA 39 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati
IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA 33 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki
ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE 28 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati
RABAT Tito 53 SPA 27 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda
ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA 26 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
BARBERA Hector 8 SPA 23 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati
RINS Alex 42 SPA 19 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki
SMITH Bradley 38 GBR 8 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
PIRRO Michele 51 ITA 7 Ducati Test Team Ducati
KALLIO Mika 36 FIN 6 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM
LOWES Sam 22 GBR 2 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia
GUINTOLI Sylvain 50 FRA 1 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki
Takaaki Nakagami takes his second GP victory to celebrate his move to MotoGP in style
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) took his second ever Moto2 win in the British GP, making a good start from fourth on the grid to chase down Championship leader Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and take over at the front. Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) was also able to charge past his compatriot to take second, with Morbidelli completing the podium in third.
Of the front row it was P2 starter Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who bolted off the line, with the rider from Cervera a margin ahead by the end of Lap 1 – and polesitter Pasini dropping back into the clutches of Nakagami. And Morbidelli, soon on the rear wheel of the Japanese rider, was in P2 by the end of the first lap – soon starting to reel his teammate in.
After steadily catching Marquez, the Championship leader pounced and the two EG 0,0 Marc VDS bikes were locked together at the front. Marquez then hit back, before suddenly sliding out at Turn 14 in a dramatic twist to the race. That left Morbidelli in some free air, but not for long – with Nakagami quick to catch and pass the Italian.
After hitting the front, the Japanese rider was uncatchable, initially disappearing into the distance – but the story had another chapter as Pasini went on a late charge, closing up but not able to quite get close enough. Over the line, Nakagami was seven tenths clear to take his second Moto2 win and celebrate his recently-announced move to the premier class in style, with Pasini taking another podium as his run of good form in 2017 continues. Morbidelli completed the podium, and gained another small margin in his Championship lead.
Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) – another recently-announced addition to the MotoGP grid – took fourth and made a considerable move up from his P9 on the grid, and crucially crossed the line only one place behind key title rival Morbidelli. Top rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) completed the top five and was another to gain big after a more difficult Saturday, ahead of compatriot Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) in sixth.
Stefano Manzi (Sky Racing Team VR46) had an incredible race for his best result yet in the intermediate class, taking seventh and once again showing serious pace at Silverstone to follow on from his performance in Moto3™ at the venue last year. He beat Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) over the line by only 0.061, with second Red Bull KTM rider Brad Binder another few tenths back to take another rookie top ten in P9. Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) completed the top ten as fastest Suter, after also going quickest in FP1 in a solid weekend.
Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) moved slightly back from his grid position to take P11 in the race, ahead of former FIM CEV Repsol rival and Tech 3 Racing rider Xavi Vierge. Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) took 13th, with early pacesetter Alex Marquez able to quickly remount and come home in fourteenth despite his crash. Axel Pons (RW Racing GP) completed the points.
Remy Gardner finished 20th in today’s British GP at Silverstone after a tough 18 lap race saw him leave the 3.6 mile venue pointless after struggling for grip.
Remy Gardner – P20
“The feeling with the bike after the test in Austria is better and I was feeling confident after Free Practice and really felt we could fight for the top ten this weekend. I cannot hide how disappointed I am with today’s result. The first couple of laps went really well and the bike felt good. After 5 laps the rear tyre grip started to drop off and then the front started to suffer too. I couldn’t open the throttle where I wanted so it was a bit of a challenge as the race was long but I did what I could. I’m not happy but I’m hopeful of coming back strong in Misano. Away from riding this weekend it was great to be on stage on Thursday to help 2 Wheels For Life raise heaps of cash and help to save lives.”
Next up is Misano – home turf for Morbidelli and with the gap giving him a little breathing space. But not much, with the Czech GP already having shown how quickly the tide can turn and 29 points separating the two leaders of the Moto2 pack.
Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) came out on top in a clash of the Moto3 titans at Silverstone, with an incredible freight train of frontrunners throughout the race – covering almost the entire field – and the race then Red Flagged on the last lap following an incident on track. Canet’s teammate Enea Bastianini took second and returned to the podium for the first time this season, ahead of another impressive podium finish for Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3).
The rider taken to the Medical Center following the Red Flag incident was Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team), with the team confirming thereafter that he escaped injury.
Polesitter Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) got a good start and led the early stages, with the nature of the Silverstone circuit making sure no one could make a break for it – and almost the whole grid then locked in battle at the front. Switching and changing positions throughout, the lightweight runners redefined the possible in some corners – two or three abreast in a spectacular display of the best of Moto3.
As the last lap dawned, it was Canet across the line first – and that proved critical. An incident further back in the pack on that final lap brought out the Red Flag, meaning positions would ultimately be decided by where the pack crossed the line on Lap 16 of 17. That gave Canet the victory, Bastianini his first podium of the year, and was a cause of frustration for some as their tactics were cut short.
Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Racing Team) took fourth as he stayed well in the fight throughout, just ahead of Championship leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) as the Majorcan increased his advantage once more. Just behind Mir was teammate Livio Loi in sixth – crucially ahead of Mir’s key Championship challenger Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers).
Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) was only 0.024 off compatriot Fenati to cross the line in eighth, with Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3). Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was 11th, with some good points for Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team) in P12.
John McPhee (British Talent Team) had a more difficult end to the race in thirteenth after a second row start, losing the chance to slice through on the final lap, with the points scorers completed by rookies Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia) and Manuel Pagliani (CIP).
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