Gordon Hatch, MotoGP Correspondent
Championship leader claims victory ahead of rivals Stoner and Pedrosa
Jorge Lorenzo notched up his third victory of this year’s MotoGP Championship at the Hertz British Grand Prix at Silverstone today and was followed across the line by Repsol Honda riders Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa. Lorenzo was not to be caught after taking the lead with Stoner and Pedrosa looking on helplessly as the Yamaha Factory Racing rider crossed the line to claim yet another win in the premier class.
Lorenzo was a force to be reckoned with during today’s race that saw his teammate Ben Spies grabbing the holeshot going into turn one being closely followed by the Repsol Honda riders and pole position man Alvaro Bautista on his San Carlo Honda Gresini machine, who in turn was followed by Ducati Racing’s Nicky Hayden. Spies held his advantage for nearly half of the 20 laps however but then ran wide and lost the lead to the factory Honda men with Lorenzo following in close pursuit.
I’m very happy with the result, and for the team who gave me a good bike again.
The fight for first position began in earnest when Stoner and Pedrosa hit the front with Lorenzo close behind after overtaking Bautista who was also looking strong from the start. Further down the field Monster Yamaha Tech rider Andrea Dovizioso was jostling for a podium finish early on but after a number of laps Dovizioso encountered difficultly that forced him to the back of the field. Pramac Racing rider Hector Barbera was in the top ten while LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and Ducati Racing’s Valentino Rossi were next along.
Stoner began his customary attempt to stretch out a lead from the moment he took the lead from Spies but with what looked to be chatter affecting his RC213V the reigning MotoGP World Champion was not able to move away from his followers. Making moves all on his own was the injured Cal Crutchlow who had to start from the back of the grid but determined to do well in front of his home fans, the British rider made a super-human effort to progress up to 11th place within the first lap and then set his sights on a top ten finish despite having a broken left ankle.
The battle of the CRT machines continued on from the free practice and qualifying sessions with the Power Electronics Aspar machines of Aleix Espargaro and Randy De Puniet battling with each other from early on. They were followed by San Carlo Honda Gresini CRT rider Michele Pirro, Paul Bird Motorsports team’s James Ellison, Yonny Hernandez on the Avintia Blusens machine, Colin Edwards (NGM Forward Racing), Danilo Petrucci and the Came IodaRacing Project team and Ivan Silva on the second of the Avintia Blusens machines.
Meanwhile, the two front men were close together with Stoner unable to breakaway from Lorenzo, who began probing for a way through into the lead. That opportunity came going into the last ten laps and Lorenzo wasted no time in passing Stoner who didn’t give up easily. A number of passes then ensued from both riders but Lorenzo appeared to have the better bike and held onto his lead with Stoner then beginning to fall into the clutches of Pedrosa and Bautista. Spies was holding his own in 5th with Hayden still in 6th place but a rapidly- improving Crutchlow was hunting him down after passing Rossi, Barbera and Bradl within a short space of time.
The positions at the rear of the field failed to change bar the swapping of 11th and 12th positions between De Puniet and Espargaro with all eyes now on the battle for third place between the Repsol Honda riders and Bautista. Rossi made a late charge to pass Barbera to secure 9th position while Bradl held onto 8th and Hayden in 7th after Crutchlow managed to move past the American. The first CRT rider home was Espargaro who bettered teammate De Puniet for 11th. The fight for second ended with Stoner holding on with Pedrosa close behind and Bautista claiming his best ever MotoGP finish in 4th.
Lorenzo was delighted with his third win this year but it wasn’t without its difficulties. “Today was a very difficult race, 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 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,” Lorenzo said.
Stoner wasn’t happy with his bikes performance and revealed that he ran into tire issues early on. He said, “It wasn't a great race for us today, we saw the pace the Yamaha's had in the early laps and it was really worrying to me. As early as lap three 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 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 tyres at the end of the race, there was definitely something wrong with ours,” Stoner added.
Pedrosa was happy to finish in third and for completing a double podium for his Repsol Honda team saying, “ I have mixed feelings after this race. 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 was the man to follow, so I managed to pass Dovizioso, Bautista and Spies and caught Casey, 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 h ad a flash in my mind and I saw both Repsol Honda's 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 Honda's,” added the Spaniard.
Lorenzo now leads the championship by 25 points and now moves to Assen, Holland for round 7 on 30th June.