Valentino Rossi mastered wet-weather conditions at Silverstone to win the British MotoGP, as Marc Marquez crashed out and Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo could only finish fourth.
Rossi entered the weekend tied at the top of the standings with Lorenzo on 211 points, but victory has extended his advantage to 12 points.
Following Marquez’s crash, at Copse on lap 12, he wrote-off his chances of winning another MotoGP title.
The star of the race was Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci, who rose from 18th to second to beat the works bike of Andrea Dovizioso.
Aborted first start
The race was declared dry at its scheduled start time, despite spots of rain falling on the grid, so the riders all started on slicks. But by Maggotts on the warm-up lap, and with one having gone straight on at Copse, there were gestures from riders unhappy with the situation.
Amazingly, Lorenzo’s spare bike appeared to be setup on dry settings, causing a major panic in the pitlane as his mechanics rushed to change it. The entire grid entered the pitlane at the end of the warm-up lap, and organisers sensibly cancelled the start procedure as chaotic scenes were unfolding.
Had one rider gone to the grid, however, IRTA would have been forced to start the race.
Story of the race
The second attempt to start, after a 25-minute delay, was declared a wet race. All riders took the soft tyre front and rear, and steady drizzle was falling as the lights went out.
Poleman Marquez was beaten into Copse by Lorenzo, with Rossi holding fourth as Pol Espargaro jumped from fifth to third. Yonny Hernandez, the star of Q1, crashed out at the first corner.
Espargaro briefly grabbed second at Stowe on lap one, with Rossi passing Marquez into Abbey moments later.
Rossi and Marquez passed Espargaro at Village, with Marquez repassing Rossi but the pair swapped places at Copse again at the start of lap two.
Rossi took the lead at Village, with Marquez also following him past Lorenzo at Aintree. Lorenzo clearly looked like he wasn’t enjoying the tricky conditions as much as his title rivals, and appeared to suffer with a fogged-up visor.
Local hero Cal Crutchlow passed Lorenzo for third, but just after the erstwhile points leader had repassed him at Club, Crutchlow’s LCR teammate Jack Miller, who had previously starred to surge up from 16th on the grid, took them both out. Crutchlow later suffered another tumble on his second bike after a pitstop, while Miller was out on the spot.
As Rossi and Marquez pulled a clear gap up front, Lorenzo was closed on by the slow-starting Dani Pedrosa, Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso. Pedrosa then fell backwards to sixth, as Petrucci set his sights on Lorenzo.
Petrucci muscled his way past Lorenzo into third at Village, with Dovizioso doing likewise for fourth at The Loop. Pedrosa also got past Lorenzo for fifth.
Pol Espargaro suffered an off at Village, dropping to ninth behind Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Bradley Smith and brother Aleix. Pol repassed them both by half distance for seventh.
The rain intensified at half distance, and Marquez tumbled heavily at Copse as he was right on Rossi’s tail with eight laps remaining, walking away shrugging at what had caused his bike to throw him to terra firma while off-throttle.
Dovizioso lunged ahead of Petrucci at The Loop on lap 11, which was now for second. Pedrosa was promoted to fourth, ahead of Lorenzo and Pol Espargaro.
Lorenzo passed Pedrosa for fourth at Copse, as Dovizioso and Petrucci duelled ahead of them.
Petrucci passed Dovizioso at Village, and Dovi ran wide at Brooklands as he attempted to fight back.
Rossi appeared to back off after Marquez’s exit, his 6s lead evaporating as the laps ticked down. But Petrucci had nothing for him in the closing stages, and he won his fourth race of the season.
Behind the delighted Petrucci and Dovizioso, Lorenzo finished a disappointed fourth ahead of Pedrosa.
Pol Espargaro suffered a big crash at Maggotts, but amazingly sprang back to his feet after a somersault. Stefan Bradl also had a big one, hitting the deck hard at Brooklands.
Scott Redding, whose Pramac Ducati contract for 2016 was confirmed before the start of the race, surged to sixth in the final stages of the race.
|14||Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||47m30.909||1m15.292|
|15||Alex de Angelis||ART/Aprilia||47m33.480||1m17.863|