Maverick Vinales and Suzuki smash Silverstone MotoGP
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.
MotoGP Race Results
- Maverick Viñales (SPA) SUZUKI 39’03.559
- Cal Crutchlow (GBR) HONDA +3.480
- Valentino Rossi (ITA) YAMAHA +4.063
Championship shake up as Lüthi strikes in Silverstone
Zarco and Lowes collide in the final laps as Swiss veteran comes back in style
Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) has taken the win in the intermediate class at the British GP, as the Swiss rider came back from having sat out the Czech GP to get straight back to the top. In the battle behind over the last few incredible laps of the race, Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) beat Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in a last lap duel after Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport) and polesitter Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) collided. Reigning champion and points leader Zarco was subsequently given a 30-second time penalty for the incident, which put him outside the points finishes.
Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) had the best the launch off the line, as the man lining up in P3 got the jump on home polesitter Sam Lowes to lead the pack into Turn 1, as a lead group of Folger, Lowes, Zarco, Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) and the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS duo of Alex Marquez and Franco Morbidelli fought it out behind. The Brit had a safe lead in the initial laps, before a crash for Marquez saw the 2014 Moto3 champion slide out of podium contention and the pack shuffled. With Folger then dropping back, it was Luthi who charged to the front, leading the pack with a safe advantage and crossing the line clear of his nearest challengers as the battle raged behind.
Luthi returned to Silverstone following a heavy crash in the qualifying session for the Czech GP, as the Swiss rider lost control of his machine in the last third of the session. The crash knocked the former 125 world champion out and he suffered concussion from the incident; heading to hospital to be kept under observation and playing no further role in the race weekend. Riding only six days later at the British GP, Luthi had a steady weekend before finding incredible pace in the race to take the win.
Franco Morbidelli had seemed outpaced by his teammate in the last race in the Moto2™ world championship, but came back in style in Silverstone to take an impressive podium finish and equal his best ever result in the category. In with the frontrunners for much of the race, Morbidelli took Nakagami in the final stages to hold onto P2 and impress once again, as the Italian-Brazilian continues to make good inroads in the intermediate category. Assen winner Takaaki Nakagami had a great race in the UK to take another podium at the track, following his impressive P2 in the British GP in 2013 behind Scott Redding. The Japanese rider stayed in the mix throughout the race and made some good attempts on Morbidelli for P2, before crossing the line to complete the podium and get another good haul of points.
Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) made good on his early promise to take P4, ahead of early leader Folger. Lorenzo Baldassari (Forward Racing) came home in P6 – ahead of an absolutely stunning result from title contender Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40).
Rins began the Moto2 race in Silverstone from P19 after breaking his collarbone in a training crash in the week before the event, and the gap at the top of the table looked set to grow once again. However, steadily making his way through the pack, the Spaniard was knocking on the door to the top ten by half race distance, with an incredible ride through the pain as he hangs onto his championship aspirations ahead of his move up to MotoGP with Team Suzuki Ecstar in 2017. Staying on the bike and making it into P10 with lap times almost matching those at the front, the former FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 championship winner proved his mettle as he crossed the line in P7 after the drama ahead on track. With neither of his closest rivals Zarco or Lowes scoring, an incredible turnaround now sees the Spaniard only ten points down on defending champion Zarco in the title fight.
Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) had a solid ride into P8 and stayed away from drama, with compatriot Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) coming home in P9. Axel Pons (AGR Team) completed the top ten, with Lowes and Zarco classified in P21 and P22 respectively.
Moto2 Race Results
- Thomas Lüthi (SWI) KALEX 38’49.473
- Franco Morbidelli (ITA) KALEX +0.856
- Takaaki Nakagami (JPN) KALEX + 1.179
Brad Binder wins the Moto3 battle of Britain
South African emerges from the maelstrom as Navarro gets pushed out
Despite spots of rain punctuating morning Warm Up for the MotoGP grid, Moto3 got out on a dry track as the weather held off – grey skies and cool temperatures, but dry asphalt for the first showdown of the day. Francesco Bagnaia (PULL&BEAR Aspar Mahindra) got a good start from his first ever pole position, with P2 on the grid Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3) dueling with his compatriot for the lead as the lights went out.
The large lead group headed away from the pack and was soon joined by the early superstar of the race, as Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) sliced through the field from P18 on the grid to hit the lead after only a handful of laps. Navarro, who won in the Catalan GP and has since had a more difficult run of races after breaking his leg in a training accident, was seven tenths clear in FP3 before the rain hit qualifying, and showed his pace in the incredible comeback. Another incredible ride back from lower on the grid came from Mahindra Racing rider Stefano Manzi as the Italian moved up from far back on the grid to join the lead group. With Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) in P11 the last man in the incredible train at the front, the group dueled it out with riders heading for apexes four or five wide – and no one able to escape.
The last few laps saw the chaos truly break free in a classic Moto3 battle, before a move from Manzi took Navarro out, with Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) unable to avoid the crashing Spaniard. Navarro remained down for a few moments as he recovered from the impact.
As the last lap dawned, it was a Red Bull KTM Ajo 1-2 with Binder leading rookie teammate Bo Bendsneyder ahead of polesitter Bagnaia, with the key mover on the last lap proving the Italian as he pushed his way past into P2 to take another podium on the Mahindra machine. With the lack of points score after Navarro’s fall, Binder increased his championship lead by another big chunk of points with his stunningly-judged win. The South African put the pedal to the metal on the last lap to break away from his teammate just behind, getting a gap that proved just enough for him to cross the line ahead and leave the chaos in the dust.
After taking their first win in Assen earlier in the year and announcing his move to Moto2 next season, Bagnaia is on good form as the paddock heads for his home round and Mahindra’s 100th race in the world championship. The Italian’s calm and well-executed move on Bendsneyder was another good example of his growing experience, like his pole lap in the difficult conditions of Saturday afternoon.
Bendsneyder, in turn, took his first podium with a stunning performance to come home P3, despite losing out on the final lap to Bagnaia. Dueling in the front group throughout the race in the Dutchman’s most impressive performance to date, the rookie and former Red Bull Rookie had some incredible moves throughout, staying calm and crossing the line for the first Dutch podium since Assen in 1994.
As the lead three broke away from the chaos behind, Manzi shook off compatriot Bulega to come home in an impressive P4, despite the incident with Navarro, and Bulega completed the top five. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) put in another impressive rookie ride to P6, heading more experienced compatriots Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) and ‘Diggia”s teammate Bastianini. Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was the lead Spaniard in P9, ahead of fellow rookie and 2015 FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 rival Joan Mir (Leopard Racing). Mir was subsequently demoted a position for exceeding track limits, promoting Jorge Martin (PULL&BEAR Aspar Mahindra) into the top ten. Later, Antonelli was then disqualified for a technical infringement and those behind moved one place up the order.
The next race sees Moto3 lead the charge at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, after the ‘Beast’ Enea Bastianini took the win – his first – in 2015, with Binder now a staggering 86 points clear at the head of the table.
Moto3 Race Results
- Brad Binder (RSA) KTM . 38’39.142
- Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) MAHINDRA + 0.183
- Bo Bendsneyder (NED) KTM +0.336