News 28 Aug 2017

Dovizioso claims MotoGP points lead in dramatic British grand prix

Mechanical failure sees Marquez bow out of Silverstone.

Source: Supplied.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) became the first man to win four races this season at the British grand prix, 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. 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, 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 5.9-kilometre 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. Crutchlow, not quite able to get close enough to make his move, took fourth.

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).

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. Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team), after a more difficult qualifying day, completed the top 10.

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was hugely impressive once again for KTM, taking P11 after also getting straight through to Q2. 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 15.

Australia’s Jack Miller (Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) was just shy of a point-paying position, finishing the grand prix in 16th.

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 one – 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, as Aussie Remy Gardener (Tech 3 Racing) was 20th for the day.

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 glag, 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.

The next round of the MotoGP World Championship is scheduled for 10 September at Misano in Italy.