British GP: Honda race report

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) rode a superbly aggressive race to take a brilliant second-place finish in today's British Grand Prix, his best dry-race result in the premier-class. The Italian -- who won last year's rain-hit British GP at...

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) rode a superbly aggressive race to take a brilliant second-place finish in today's British Grand Prix, his best dry-race result in the premier-class. The Italian -- who won last year's rain-hit British GP at Donington Park -- headed a frantic four-way contest for the runner-up spot while Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) ran away out front to increase his World Championship points lead. Today's event was the first British motorcycle Grand Prix at Silverstone since 1986, the high-speed track enjoyed by all the riders despite its bumpy surface.

Dovizioso wasn't the only Honda rider in the thick of it; Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) fought back and forth with his fellow RC212V rider, eventually slipping to the rear of the group to finish sixth, just behind Casey Stoner (Ducati) who had fought back from a woeful start.

Italian Grand Prix winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) rode bravely to eighth place despite grip issues and considerable discomfort from the two tumbles he suffered during qualifying and morning warm-up.

The first lap was hectic with Spain's two biggest MotoGP stars stealing the show: Lorenzo led into the first corner, Pedrosa moved ahead at Stowe, Lorenzo was back in front at Vale, Pedrosa took the lead again at Abbey, then Lorenzo retook first place into the very next corner, Farm. After that excitement, Lorenzo wasn't headed again.

Pedrosa soon discovered that he was lacking grip -- his RC212V pushing the front and spinning the rear -- so he wasn't able to maintain his first lap aggression and he was gradually pushed back down the order by de Puniet, Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden (Ducati). This was the battle for second place, joined later in the race by rookie Ben Spies (Yamaha). Dovizioso finally began to make second place safe in the second half of the race when he worked extra hard to eke a small advantage over his pursuers, aware that the fast, open nature of Silverstone allows riders to close gaps and make passes more easily than at many other tracks.

Dovizioso was never completely secure, the former 125 World Champion finally crossing the line just three tenths of a second ahead of Spies, who passed Hayden with six corners to go to score his maiden MotoGP podium. Dovi's fourth podium from the first five races moves him into second place in the World Championship points standings.

Privateer de Puniet had qualified a brilliant second and although he missed out on a podium result he was happy to continue his record of strong top-six finishes. De Puniet chose the softer front tyre option and perhaps that hindered him in the final laps, because today's track temperature was warmer than the last two days.

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V), who was also hurting from a heavy fall yesterday morning, got the better of Pedrosa in the last third of the race to finish seventh, his best MotoGP result so far. Super Sic even ran at the rear of the group fighting for second place, until he had to ease his pace slightly in the last few laps.

Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) crashed out at the Brooklands left-hander on the very first lap. Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) didn't take the start after a nasty highside in morning warm-up left him with heavy bruising to his back. He was examined in the circuit medical centre and then taken to hospital in Oxford for a CT scan.

Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing, Suter) won his first Grand Prix victory at Silverstone this afternoon, winning a thrilling four-man contest in the Moto2 race. The Frenchman beat Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki) by just five hundredths of a second, with Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team, Suter) a few metres behind. The top four were covered by less than two tenths of a second.

Once again, the Honda-powered Moto2 series retained its reputation for unpredictability with the three winners of the first four races not even in contention for a podium finish here. Losail winner Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter) finished sixth, Jerez and Le Mans victor Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) tenth -- after making up four places in the last three laps -- and Mugello winner Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up) 12th.

Most of the race was dominated by Cluzel, team-mate Claudio Corti (Forward Racing, Suter) and Simon. The trio had a two second gap on the rest of the pack until Luthi caught them at two-thirds distance, with local hero Redding right behind him. Luthi's charge had taken him from 17th to fourth in ten laps.

The last six laps were edge-of-the-seat entertainment, with Luthi working hard to pick off the three men in front of him. The former 125 World Champion finally hit the front on lap 16 of 18 and opened up a small lead while Corti tumbled out at Vale corner with one lap to go. On the final lap Cluzel ate into Luthi's advantage, so that when the Swiss rider almost lost the rear into Vale, Cluzel pounced and took the lead.

Cluzel, who had crashed out of the two previous races, was delighted with his first GP victory, which moves him into seventh in the Moto2 points chase. Elias retains first place in the championship, 15 points ahead of Tomizawa, with Luthi a further seven points behind.

Today's five-way second group battle was won by Alex Debon (Aeroport de Castello-Ajo, FTR) who crossed the line a fraction ahead of Tomizawa, Mike Di Meglio (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter) and Xavier Simeon (Holiday Gym G22, Moriwaki). The group -- which was covered by half a second at the flag -- lost one rider on the last lap when Yonny Hernandez (Blusens-STX, BQR) crashed out.

Marcel Schrotter (Interwetten Honda 125 Team) finished just two places and a few seconds outside the points in the 125 race, which was won by Marc Marquez (Derbi)


Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V):

"I'm really happy with second in the race, and we also have second in the championship now so this reflects our strong start to the season. In the middle of the race I saw many riders were closing in behind me and so I tried to push at 100 per cent to get a gap and try to avoid a fight on last lap. Corners 13 and 14 towards the end of the lap are really slow and you can see clearly the riders that are behind, and also here it would be easy to be overtaken there on the last lap if they were too close, so it was important to get a gap, which I managed to do. I'm so pleased with the season so far and I'd like to say thank you to Honda and to the team for the work they are doing. We still need to improve so that we can battle for race wins, but we are one step closer today and it's a good result for us at the start of a busy period of races. Next stop is Assen and we must move forward again so that we have a chance of winning there."

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V):

"It was a good race and I had fun but, like in Mugello, I finished behind the leading group. It's a pity but I feel satisfied anyway. I took a very good start from the front row and I could rely on my machine as we lapped consistently fast for the whole weekend. With four laps to go the front started to move too much because we raced on front soft tyre [which was the right choice] but probably today's ground temperature was a bit higher compared to the rest of the weekend. We had a great race weekend and I am a big fan of this new circuit. The guys gave me an incredible machine here and we can be pleased about this result as we battled for the podium. In my opinion we moved a step forward in this week end and will do our best to keep the sixth position in the world classification."

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V):

"We have definitely taken another important step forward here. I got a good start and stuck with the group fighting for the podium for the majority of the race. I was able to run with Spies and close the gap right down but they were able to keep their pace to the end of the race whereas I struggled at the end as my tyres went off. It was nice to have them in my sights until two laps from the end though and I feel like I have really improved. I had fun today -- hopefully next time it can be even closer to the front."

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V):

"Well, eighth is obviously a disappointing result because we were looking quite strong here yesterday and I was confident. However, we were lacking some grip from the beginning of the race and we couldn't replicate the pace we were able to achieve in practice. The rear was spinning and sliding quite a lot and the front was pushing which meant that, even though I was pushing really hard, I wasn't able to maintain my pace. It was frustrating because I could see the riders in front and I could stay with them but it was impossible to fight for position. The one positive thing from the weekend is that even though I had two crashes I wasn't injured and I didn't feel pain during the race today. This means we can quickly put this weekend behind us and move on to the next races - the first one being Assen next weekend."

Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V):

"I made a really good start but then made a mistake on the exit of a corner on cold tyres. I was behind Spies and felt I was faster than him so I attacked two or three times but couldn't get through. Then I tried a pass on the inside but I hit a bump, lost the front and there was no way I could save it. I'm disappointed because I wasn't even pushing that hard, I was just waiting for Spies to give me a chance to pass him. It's a shame!"


Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing, Suter):

"I'm very happy with this win, especially after my mistakes at the last two races where I was fast but crashed out. Here I decided to stay on the bike and work for the race. I tried to be clever, rather than worry out being absolute fastest. You don't need to be in front all the time, but when you are, you can push, but being first isn't everything, it's important to get points. I felt so good on the bike in the race, so I have to thank my team because we made some changes in warm-up and they didn't feel so good. They worked hard this morning and in the race I was able to push hard."

Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki):

"Things got a bit tight at the first corner -- two riders in front of me touched, so I had to go wide and that lost me some positions. I worked hard to get back to the front. I was lucky the front group stayed together because once I had got clear of the other riders I had a clear track in front of me, so I was able to put in some good lap times and catch the group. The bike was good, so I could fight. When I was in front on the last lap I didn't know if the others were close enough to use my slipstream, so I pushed hard to stay ahead. In the end I pushed too hard and had a big moment at Vale. Cluzel got past me and after that there was no chance for me to get past again."

Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter):

"I'm happy with this podium, especially because we had a bad weekend at Mugello. This weekend we have been up front all the time. In the race I got a good start and was able to get into the lead after a few laps and push hard. But it was impossible to break away from Cluzel and Corti. In the final part I was waiting for the last lap. I had a plan to get back into first place but there was no chance. Anyway, I'm happy with this podium and the points. The good thing is that after the problems we had at Mugello that the bike felt really nice here."


Marcel Schrotter (Interwetten Honda 125 Team):

"I would say the race was not too bad. It is a pity that I missed out on the points. I had a good start and I could make up some places. Then I almost crashed into another rider, as it was getting critically tight in the chicane. I was lucky that I didn't crash. Then there was building up a gap in front of me and I tried to close it. Unfortunately I could not do it and at the end I missed out on the points."

-source: honda racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Ben Spies , Randy de Puniet , Marco Melandri , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Marco Simoncelli , Toni Elias , Alex Debon , Thomas Luthi , Xavier Simeon , Claudio Corti , Casey Stoner , Julian Simon , Hiroshi Aoyama , Scott Redding , Shoya Tomizawa , Jules Cluzel , Dani Pedrosa , Yonny Hernandez , Andrea Iannone , Marcel Schrötter
Teams Forward Racing , CIP , Marc VDS Racing