Silverstone win extends Lorenzo’s lead

Jorge Lorenzo digs into the corner at Silverstone

In a day that once again saw three fantastic races across the MotoGP classes at the Hertz British Grand Prix at Silverstone, it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who recorded a hard-fought victory in the premier-class ahead of Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.

The predicted rain stayed away for the MotoGP grid as Yamaha’s Ben Spies took the holeshot ahead of Repsol Honda Team’s Stoner and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s pole-sitter Álvaro Bautista. Spies made a tremendous start leading the early stages from Stoner, Bautista and Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden. Lorenzo lost a place in the first bends, and was soon leading a separated group for fifth place.

With 17 laps remaining Lorenzo started to find his rhythm as he looked to close the gap to the front four, followed by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. Soon after, Stoner made a move past Spies, as the Texan made a mistake, going too hot into a turn.

More overtaking was to follow, as Lorenzo took advantage of a gap left by Hayden to hunt down Bautista. With Stoner having pulled out a small gap at the front, Lorenzo did not want his rival to get away and forced his way past Bautista, relegating the San Carlo rider into fourth. The tussle was not to stop, as Lorenzo stormed past his teammate into second, with Spies being overtaken by Bautista as well a corner later.

With 11 laps left Lorenzo was closing in on the rear wheel of Stoner, starting a thrilling battle for top spot. On the same lap Dovizioso crashed out of his positions, while his teammate Cal Crutchlow fought past LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl into seventh. Heading into lap nine, Lorenzo took Stoner on the final turn, yet the Australian fought straight back in the next turn, as the pair kept the crowd on their toes with some thrilling moves.

A lap further on, the duo of Pedrosa and Bautista started to slowly close the gap on Stoner, who looked to be slowing. With six laps left it turned into a three-way battle for second place, as Lorenzo was opening a gap at the front. The Spaniard suffered a slight scare with four laps left as he was almost thrown from his bike, but he managed to save it and retain the lead, albeit with a reduced gap to the pursuing Stoner. In the latter stages there were thrilling battles further back as Crutchlow battled past Hayden into sixth, and Power Electronics Aspar pair Aleix Espargaró and Randy de Puniet were fairing to fairing until the finish line.

In the end it was Lorenzo who held his nerve to cross the finish line first to take the top step of the podium and extend his championship lead, ahead of Stoner and Pedrosa who complete the rostrum. Stoner stated after the race he felt there was an issue with his rear tire. Fourth went to Álvaro Bautista, ahead of Ben Spies, and Cal Crutchlow, who put in a brave ride with his injury. The top ten were completed Hayden, Bradl, Ducati’s Rossi and Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá. Top CRT spot once again went to Espargaró ahead of his teammate in 11th, while Dovizioso remounted after his crash to finish 19th.

“Today was a very difficult race,” said Lorenzo. “The front guys were very strong and very fast, so it was very hard for me to catch them and stay with them. Little by little, the rear tire drops a bit more. I had good confidence, and I was faster than them, and I started to catch them. When I caught up, I didn’t want to crash, so I waited for my moment and was patient. When I caught Casey (Stoner), we had a wonderful fight. Luckily for us, I had a better pace, and I passed him. Four laps from the end, I made a big mistake and almost crashed! I’m very happy with the result and for the team, who gave me a good bike again.”

“It wasn’t a great race for us today,” groaned Stoner. “We saw the pace the Yamahas had in the early laps, and it was really worrying to me. As early as Lap 3, the bike wasn’t feeling good, especially on the left side. The tire destroyed itself almost immediately. My plan was to try and get to the front and hold them up, but Ben (Spies) was proving difficult to pass. Then he made a small mistake, and I was able to slip through and I tried to hold it from there. We knew we didn’t have a better pace than the other riders, and it wouldn’t be long until they were on us, so I did what I could to stay in front. We were losing so much grip on the edge of the tire that we had no mid-turn corner speed, and we were having to make up for this with the entry and a clean exit, which made things difficult. Today we needed a little more grip, and we would have been able to fight for the win. But looking at the rear tires at the end of the race, there was definitely something wrong with ours.”

“I have mixed feelings after this race,” said Pedrosa. “I’m happy to be on the podium at this circuit, for several reasons. It’s a track where I have always struggled a lot. We had a very tough weekend; it wasn’t easy for us to learn the circuit and set up the bike with these weather conditions. Also I didn’t have one of my best race starts. I was seventh on the first lap, but I managed to remain calm and get faster lap after lap, maintaining my rhythm. I saw that Jorge (Lorenzo) was the man to follow, so I managed to pass Dovizioso, Bautista and Spies and caught Casey (Stoner), who was second. But at this time, Jorge was gone, and I tried twice to pass Casey, but he pulled a little again. And in the last chicane, I tried to overtake him, but I had a flash in my mind and I saw both Repsol Hondas on the ground, so I settled for third place. It’s positive to both be on the podium if we consider that it’s the first race for the team with this new front tire, but for the championship, it is not good. We need to make a step forward to solve the problems we have with the chattering because right now, Jorge is too strong for the Hondas.”

“Today was a bittersweet day,” said Spies. “We made a good start and had a really good pace in the beginning. After four or five laps, we had a big problem with the rear tire and lost all our momentum and pace. It turned into damage control after that. From the start of the season to now, top five is a better result. The potential of the bike was great today, and we could have been fighting for the podium or the win with Jorge.”

“We did the sighting lap with the hard rear tire, but with the sprinkles and dark clouds, we decided to play it safe and switch to the soft on the grid,” said Hayden. “Everybody else had it, too, but we know our bike has been hard on tires here. I got an awesome start, and the beginning of the race was great. I took some chances to hang in as long as I could, and I enjoyed it and learned some things. Then the grip went, which brought on a lot of chatter. I couldn’t accelerate or carry speed on the straightaway, and we started having a little problem with the electronics in one corner, which cost us some time. Crutchlow got me on the last lap, which is frustrating, but I had my smallest gaps to the front this year in terms of race time and best lap. We need to figure out how to make me and the bike less hard on the rear tire, but there were some positives.”

“I went faster during the race than I did in qualifying,” reported Colin Edwards. “I felt that I was just on edge; everything is so rigid and stiff that you can’t relax on this bike. Once the grip went down just a little bit, then it just stops turning. It’s like driving a truck, and it just doesn’t turn anymore. You’ve got to trust the electronics and kind of steer it with the rear. Electronics felt OK today. Obviously, they could be better, but the electronics aren’t going to fix the issues that we are having. They might make them better, but we’ve got to get the bike to turn – that is No. 1 priority. Get the bike to turn and just go straight because when I get it on my knee it just seems to go straight until the speed comes down, and then the bike will turn. But by that time, you are losing bike lengths to the guys in front of you. For Assen, we will be trying something that hopefully will make the difference.”


Riders: Jorge Lorenzo 140, Casey Stoner 115, Dani Pedrosa 101, Cal Crutchlow 66, Andrea Dovizioso 60, Valentino Rossi 58, Alvaro Bautista 58, Stefan Bradl 51, Nicky Hayden 49, Hector Barbera 37, Ben Spies 35, Aleix Espargaro 20, Randy de Puniet 11, Michele Pirro 9, James Ellison 7, Mattia Pasini 6, Karel Abraham 4, Colin Edwards 4, Danilo Petrucci 4, Yonny Hernandez 4, Ivan Silva 1.


Pol Espargaró leads the Moto2 pack at Silverstone

In a thrilling Moto2 race it was Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró who took victory at the Hertz British Grand Prix in Silverstone ahead of Scott Redding and Marc Márquez.

The race was declared dry from the start and it was Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith who got the holeshot along with Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding. They made it a British one-two in the opening two laps as they were tussling for top spot. With 16 laps to go, the following group of Espargaró, Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone and Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez made their move on Smith, who looked to be struggling, and tucked in behind leader Redding.

Meanwhile it was drama early on for JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco, who crashed out and finished his race prematurely. With 14 laps left, a group of seven riders were pulling away from the pack also including Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi and Italtrans Racing Team’s Claudio Corti. Two laps later it appeared as Redding and Espargaró were pulling out a slight advantage at the front, as Iannone and Márquez were involved in an exciting fight for the final podium spot. Yet just one lap later Espargaró pounced on Redding to take the lead, after which Iannone took advantage to slip into second.

Espargaró’s teammate Axel Pons crashed out with 10 laps to go, putting an end to a disappointing weekend for the Spaniard. A lap later Márquez got into Redding’s slipstream to pass the Brit further down into fourth and hunt down the leaders. With Márquez not wanting Espargaró to get away, he overtook Iannone with seven laps left, with Redding also pushing past the Italian. The tussle for second was spicing up between Redding and Márquez as the two swapped positions frequently in the final laps and on the last lap it was an almighty fight to the line with Redding just edging out the Spaniard, much to the delight of the home crowd

Yet in the end it was Espargaró who took the chequered flag for his second win this season, with Redding and Márquez occupying the final podium spots. They were followed by Andrea Iannone, Simone Corsi, Claudio Corti, Bradley Smith, Tom Lüthi, Technomag-CIP’s Dominique Aegerter and Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio.

Movin’ Maverick Viñales

At this weekend’s Moto3 race at the Hertz British Grand Prix at Silverstone it was Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales who took a hard-fought victory in front of Luis Salóm and Sandro Cortese.

In the best conditions seen all weekend the Moto3™ contingent got underway with Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou getting the holeshot in front of JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez. However in true Moto3™ fashion a group at the front soon formed with Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales, RW Racing GP’s Luis Salóm, Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese, Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi and Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati.

Masbou’s teammate Jack Miller was an early crasher on lap one, whilst Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins also crashed out with 16 laps to go. Miller suffered a fractured left collarbone, whilst Rins suffered a fracture to his second metacarpus on his left hand, and a fracture to his second finger on his right hand. The front group was being led in stages by a mix of Viñales, Salóm and Vázquez, while Cortese and Rossi were touching fairings behind.

With 13 laps remaining, IodaRacing Team’s Jonas Folger’s bad luck continued as his race finished early, with British wild card entrant John McPhee from the Racing Steps Foundation KRP crashing out, but managing to remount. With eight laps left, Giulian Pedone suffered a problem, as his race ended prematurely. Two laps later Viñales tried to make a break as the field started to stretch slightly, however Salóm and Cortese were sticking closely to the leader’s tail. It was heartbreak for Mahindra Racing’s local boy Danny Webb, as he was forced to retire in front of his home crowd.

It was a nail-biting last lap as Cortese took Salóm for second, who had been fighting with Viñales. Yet Salóm was battling until the end and put in a tough move to regain second. It was drama for Le Mans race-winner Rossi who lost the front end in the final turns, as he missed out on the scrap to the line. The race ended with Viñales crossing the finish line to take his third victory this season and the championship lead, ahead of Salóm and Cortese, who complete the podium. They finished ahead of Masbou in fourth, followed by Vázquez, Kent, Fenati, Sissis, Khairuddin and Oliveira.

Bautista takes first MotoGP pole

Álvaro Bautista loves his Honda

The MotoGP™ championship was largely spared by the British weather during today’s qualifying practices at the Hertz British Grand Prix, where, in an incident-packed session, it was San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista who recorded his first ever premier-class pole position at Silverstone ahead of Ben Spies and Casey Stoner.

Texan Ben Spies

With rain starting to fall five minutes before the end, no one was able to trump Bautista’s time in the low 2.03’s, which displaced Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies onto second on the grid, who himself ran off track on a few occasions throughout. The front row is completed by this morning’s pace-setter Casey Stoner, who looked to be struggling with chatter on his bike once more in the afternoon session.

Spies’ teammate and championship leader Jorge Lorenzo heads the second row, after a mistake at turn 6 on his hot-lap meant he was unable to place any higher. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa lines up next to him in fifth, after having found a little bit more confidence in the new Bridgestone front tyre. Completing the second row is Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá, who looked full of confidence as he qualified as highest placed Ducati.

Seventh place is occupied by Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who managed to post his fast lap before crashing out at Vale corner in the latter stages. In eighth, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso was unusually low down the order, after having impressed in free practice this morning. The top ten is rounded out by LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, riding with an injured finger after a crash this morning, as well as Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, who had a near carbon-copy crash to Hayden in the same corner at the start of the session. Both Ducati riders walked away unscathed. Best CRT finisher was Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró in 11th.

The Qualifying Practice did not include local rider Cal Crutchlow, as he crashed his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine in the morning practice, injuring his ankle. He underwent medial checks at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, which confirmed he did not incur any fractures, but that it was sprained. Crutchlow is undergoing treatment at the hospital, and will have a final assessment tomorrow morning to see if he is fit to race.

Bautista’s pole position is the first time since the Assen TT race last year that Lorenzo, Stoner or Pedrosa have not started from first. At that race, it was also the San Carlo squad that took top spot with the late Marco Simoncelli.

Pol Espargaró

Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró continued his strong weekend with his first ever Moto2 pole position at the Hertz British Grand Prix at Silverstone ahead of Andrea Iannone and Scott Redding.

The rain held off for the Moto2 contingent in the last qualifying session of the afternoon, with Espargaró taking advantage of conditions to set a fastest time of 2.08’011 ahead of Speed Master’s Iannone. The British crowd had something to cheer about as Marc VDS Racing Team’s Redding completes the front row, despite having a big wobble in the session.

Tech 3 Racing’s local rider Bradley Smith, who has also looked on tremendous form all weekend, was not quite able to make the front row, yet will no doubt be pleased with his starting position in fourth. He heads Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez, who recovered from a big crash this morning, as well as Italtrans Racing Team’s Claudio Corti, who was on pole here in 2010.

Seventh place is occupied by Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi, who almost came off on his final fast-lap, while eighth place went to JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis and Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi complete the top ten.

Qualifying was largely incident free, yet in the final ten minutes, Kiefer Racing’s Max Neukirchner, Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat and Blusens Avintia’s Julián Simón all crashed out. No rider was seriously hurt.

In a qualifying session where strong winds made it tough for the light Moto3 bikes at the Hertz British Grand Prix, it was Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales who snatched pole ahead of Efrén Vázquez and Alexis Masbou.

With dark clouds threatening from the start, most of the Moto3 grid was out on track early on, trying to set a fast time in case rain appeared. It was to however stay dry for all the session, during which Viñales set the fastest time of 2.16’187 to secure his third pole position this season. Behind him was JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, who set his lap early on, ousting Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou into third.

Heading the second row is Red Bull KTM Ajo’s championship leader Sandro Cortese, who encountered a melee of traffic on his final laps, much to his displeasure. He finished ahead of his teammate Danny Kent and RW Racing GP’s Luis Salom. Salóm had initially been classified in fourth, yet his lap time was cancelled due to gaining an advantage in the last turn by running off track.

The third row is headed by Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi, who was another rider struggling for clear track, ahead of AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati. Rounding out the top ten is Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins.

Strong and gusty winds throughout the session made riding tough for the field, particularly in some bends where the front end of the bike became very light. This caused numerous wobbles during qualifying, yet only caught out wildcard entry Frazer Rogers on board his Racing Steps Foundation KPR machine, as he lost the front in turn 5 eight minutes before the end. Rogers was unhurt in the incident.

Stoner sets the pace on first day at Silverstone

Casey Stoner

On a day that saw all three MotoGP™ classes having to cope with some very mixed weather conditions, it was Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner who set the fastest time of the day in the premier-class of the Hertz British Grand Prix at Silverstone ahead of Ben Spies and Álvaro Bautista.

Set in dry conditions towards the end of the afternoon session, a lap in the high 2.04’s was enough to oust Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies into second place, who recovered well from a crash in the wet during the first practice. Another victim of the bad weather this morning was San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who put in a much improved showing this afternoon to finish third on his satellite Honda.

Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden finished fourth fastest, having seemingly recovered from his hand problem last time out in Spain, while fifth place was occupied by LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl, who left it late to put in his impressive lap, finishing just sixth tenths down on Stoner. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso ended the day in sixth, yet will be looking for more pace if he is to replicate his podium from Catalunya.

Seventh spot went to Spies’ championship-leading teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who had a somewhat subdued afternoon session, ahead of Tech 3’s British home favourite Cal Crutchlow in eighth. Stoner’s teammate Dani Pedrosa and Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá complete the top ten. Ducati’s Valentino Rossi, who was fastest in the wet this morning, had a disappointing session finishing as last prototype in 11th, sighting set-up issues as the main problem.

Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet finished as the top CRT rider in 12th, just ahead of Bautista’s teammate Michele Pirro. Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham was declared unfit to race this weekend due to a fracture of the 5th and 3rd metacarpal of the left hand, sustained in a crash in testing in Aragón on Wednesday last week.

It was Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró who topped the Moto2 combined timesheets of the first day at the Hertz British Grand Prix at Silverstone ahead of local riders Scott Redding and Bradley Smith.

The rain stayed away and the track was dry for the afternoon session in the intermediate class, during which all riders set their most competitive times. And it was towards the end of the day that a lap of 2.08’826 was enough for Espargaró to displace Marc VDS Racing Team’s Redding into second place. Completing the top three was Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith, who looked in good form in front of his home crowd, and will no doubt look to repeat his podium at the track from last year.

In fourth, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez was unable to break into the top three, yet was only marginally off Smith. Fifth place went to JiR Moto2’s Frenchman Johann Zarco, who is now becoming somewhat of a regular in the top ten. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis, who was just under a second off the pace, ousted Mapfre Aspar Team’s Toni Elías into seventh.

Italtrans Racing Team’s Claudio Corti set the eighth quickest time, and was followed by Speed Master’s compatriot and last race winner Andrea Iannone. Competing the top ten was Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi, the sole FTR rider in the top ten.

The only crasher in the afternoon session was Interwetten-Paddock’s championship leader Tom Lüthi, who fortunately walked away from the crash unscathed. In the morning however it was a different story, as track conditions were still very wet when practice began. Desguaces La Torre SAG’s Angel Rodriguez was caught out early on with a crash, followed shortly by GP Team Switzerland’s Randy Krummenacher. JiR Moto2’s debutant, 16-year-old Brazilian Eric Granado, also crashed out on his maiden run towards the end of the session, followed by Espargaró’s teammate Axel Pons.

In the Moto3 class at the Hertz British Grand Prix in Silverstone it was Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese who set the quickest time of the opening day ahead of Efrén Vázquez and Romano Fenati.

The Moto3 grid was greeted by sunshine for their afternoon practice session, where championship leader Cortese, fully recovered from his hand injury from Catalunya, set the quickest time of 2.19’063, over three tenths faster than JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Vázquez. Third placed Fenati, on board his Team Italia FMI machine, was back on the pace once more, finishing under a tenth down on the Spaniard.

Fourth spot was occupied by Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins in front of Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales, who will be looking to claw back some points on Cortese this weekend. Cortese’s teammate Danny Kent, who was quickest in the wet in the morning practice, set the sixth fastest time.

Seventh place went to Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi, while eighth was occupied by RW Racing GP’s Luis Salóm. Completing the top ten were Bankia Aspar Team’s Alberto Moncayo and Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou. The whole top-ten were separated by less than 1.5s, promising a close race should conditions stay dry.

Wild card entrant John McPhee of the Racing Steps Foundation KRP was an early crasher in the afternoon, while Ivan Moreno on board his Andalucia JHK Laglisse bike also crashed out. Mahindra Racing’s Marcel Schrotter suffered an oil leak early on in the session, which the team was unable to fix in time to set a competitive lap. In the wet morning session, Caretta Technology’s Alexis Masbou, Mahindra Racing’s Danny Webb, Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati, AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin and San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli all came off their bikes, yet no one was injured in the crashes.

courtesy of MotoGP

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