Italian hero Valentino Rossi gave a stunning performance at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone at the weekend, taking a brilliant victory in challenging conditions.
His Spanish team-mate Jorge Lorenzo also rode a brave race and secured fourth place, but there has been a massive swing in the championship chase, with Rossi taking back the advantage.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Rossi mastered the MotoGP field under difficult conditions, taking his first victory at Silverstone to continue his streak of consecutive podiums finishes this season, making it 12.
Lorenzo encountered some difficulties but fought bravely at the British Grand Prix to claim a solid fourth place.
Tension built as rain picked up just as the race was about to start. The race was declared dry, so all riders had to make the agonising choice whether they would start from pit lane on a wet setting or on slicks from the grid.
However, after the warm up lap all riders decided to come into pit lane to swap bikes, making race direction decide to delay the start and reduce the race to 20 laps.
Twenty-five minutes later the MotoGP field lined up on the grid for a second attempt, this time prepared for a wet race. Rossi was the fastest man in similar conditions in the morning warm up and quickly fought his way up the order from his fourth place grid position.
Rossi moved into third position to hunt down Honda’s defending world champion Marc Marquez, passing him with a brilliant move at the start of the second lap.
The nine-time World Champion then set his sights on his teammate and increased his pace. He made the audience cheer when he took over the lead, posting a 2’21.807, the fastest lap of the race thus far. Under pressure from Marquez, he continued to pick up the pace and used his experience to keep his rival at bay until the Spaniard crashed out with eight laps to go, but the race wasn’t won yet.
Rossi kept pushing on as Danilo Petrucci started closing in, towing fellow Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso. Aware of the threat, Rossi managed a gap of more than 1.5s perfectly. With two laps remaining Rossi raised the bar and expanded his margin by nearly one and a half second to take a faultless victory by 3.010s.
Lorenzo also had a strong start from second on the grid. He shot off the line to take the holeshot into first turn and kept the lead when he crossed the line for the first time. He was passed by Rossi and Marquez on the second lap, moving him down to third. Lorenzo did well to remain seated on his bike when he bashed fairings with Pol Espagrarò two laps later, but lost valuable time and was unable to make up the gap that was created between him and the top two.
The Majorcan continued to have a challenging outing as his visor fogged up. Continuing the race with impaired vision, he got involved in a scrap with Petrucci, Dovizioso and Marquez’ Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa for third place.
Lorenzo fell back to sixth, but kept his fighting spirit and with seven laps left he got a second wind. With Marquez crashed out he found himself back in fifth place and fought his way back to fourth position, which he held over the line, 5.726 s off his team-mate.
Rossi’s first place earns him 25 points, while Lorenzo’s fourth fourth placing of the year adds 13 points to his score. These results put Rossi back in the lead of the championship with 236 points, 12 points ahead of Lorenzo in second place with a 224 points total.
“I’m very happy and proud of this victory, it’s a great feeling! I think that the last race on the wet that I won was ten years ago,” said an elated Rossi.
“This morning I woke up feeling good, but my team also did a great job and my bike was fantastic already from the first lap of the warm up. I felt great and got more feeling and positive things from the bike, so I knew I could be competitive in the race. I fought a lot with Marc, which was very difficult.
“I kept trying to break away but he stayed with me. I saw that Marc crashed on the mega screen and I didn’t hear noise of his bike, so I already thought that maybe something had happened. After he crashed I slowed down, because I thought I had enough of an advantage but in reality Danilo wasn’t so far, so I had to recover my concentration and start to push, because if I didn’t he would catch me.
“This is my fourth victory of the season, so I’m very happy and it’s important for the championship. Today I was very fast, I had great confidence with the bike and it’s a fantastic victory at Silverstone, where I never won before, this is the first time!”
The emotions were very different for team-mate Lorenzo.
“At the first start with the slicks the situation was very dangerous, so I was happy when it started raining more so we could start with the rain tyre,” said a disappointed Lorenzo afterwards.
“The feeling in the first three or four laps was good and I was riding well, but the other riders started going faster than me. Valentino and Marquez passed me and I was in third position losing time every lap. They had a better pace than me early on in the race and I couldn’t do anything to follow them. Suddenly, when entering the chicane, I almost had a big crash with Espargarò who made a incomprehensible move and it was a miracle I stayed on the bike.
“I was upset, but luckily I remained on the track and I tried to stay in third position, but Petrucci, Dovizioso and Pedrosa passed me. I was able to move faster and was getting better and passed Dani. In the last laps I arrived at Dovizioso, who made some mistakes, but it started to get colder and raining more. I completely lost my vision, because the visor was foggy and had to slow down and lost a chance at the third place, which was a pity. In the rain I didn’t have the same pace as Valentino and Marquez.”
© Photos courtesy Yamaha
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Rossi celebrates his win at Silverstone, with his chief mechanic, New Zealand’s Brent Stephens, giving a double thumbs-up (far right, in the blue).
Results from Silverstone, round 12 of 18:
1. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 46m 15.617s
2. Danilo Petrucci ITA Octo Pramac Racing (Desmosedici GP14.1) 46m 18.627s
3. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP15) 46m 19.734s
4. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 46m 21.343s
5. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 46m 26.749s
6. Scott Redding GBR Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) 46m 41.084s
7. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 46m 42.334s
8. Andrea Iannone ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP15) 46m 45.010s
9. Aleix Espargaro ESP Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 46m 54.432s
10. Alvaro Bautista ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 46m 57.329s
11. Maverick Viñales ESP Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)* 47m 0.393s
12. Nicky Hayden USA Aspar MotoGP Team (RC213V-RS) 47m 8.106s
13. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14 Open) 47m 26.828s
14. Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14 Open) 47m 30.909s
15. Alex De Angelis RSM E-Motion IodaRacing (ART) 47m 33.480s
16. Loris Baz FRA Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha)* 47m 34.927s
17. Eugene Laverty IRL Aspar MotoGP Team (RC213V-RS)* 47m 35.352s
18. Claudio Corti ITA Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 48m 13.703s
19. Karel Abraham CZE AB Motoracing (RC213V-RS) +1 lap
Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) DNF
Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) DNF
Stefan Bradl GER Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) DNF
Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) DNF
Jack Miller AUS LCR Honda (RC213V-RS)* DNF
Yonny Hernandez COL Octo Pramac Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) DNF
MotoGP championship standings after round 12 of 18:
|17||Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||15|
|20||Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||11|
|24||Mike di Meglio||Ducati||4|
|25||Alex de Angelis||ART||2|