Silverstone beckons Marquez, Rossi, Lorenzo & Dovi
As the dust settles after the incredible duel in Austria, the stage is most definitely set for Silverstone. The venue that first hosted a showdown between then-reigning Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and then-rookie challenger Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in 2013, it could be another stunner at the GoPro British Grand Prix – with both men having incredible records at the track.
That track is one of the longest on the calendar; an expansive ribbon of tarmac snaking its way over the former airfield and providing one of the challenges of the year. Flat, legendary and fast, Silverstone isn’t for the faint of heart – and that’s without considering the Great British weather. It could be sunny, but it’s hardly Philadelphia.
That’s something that could play into the hands of some on the grid. After the duel that Lorenzo won in 2013 for his third premier class victory there, the 2014 re-run saw Marquez strike back – before the rain hit in 2015. Then it was Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) who took the top step – and Marquez crashed out. It’s a tough time for Yamaha of late and now their longest run without a win since the nineties, but Rossi tamed the rain to perfection three years ago. And the following season? Now-teammate Maverick Viñales took his first ever premier class win – so the circuit has some good memories for both, from both winning and subsequent podiums.
In the great British summer of 2017 though, it was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) who pitched it to perfection. And of all those who know they have pace at Silverstone, he’s the one who is looking to hit back quick – having won in style in Brno and then been unable to get in the fight in the latter stages in Austria, left to come home third. Also often a master of tricky conditions, ‘DesmoDovi’ will be aiming squarely for the front.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) is another to watch, and the first of three lions racing on home turf. Crutchlow was on pole and a podium finisher in 2016, and took fourth last season from another front row start. Having already won a race this season, Crutchlow should be a serious threat at the front – and is another who can master difficult conditions.
There’s a lot at stake, too, with only two points separating the fight for top Independent Team rider in the standings. It’s Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) who’s currently ahead on 105, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) on 104 and Crutchlow on 103. Probability says that will change once again in the British GP.
Team Suzuki Ecstar, meanwhile, want to get back near the front after a spate of podiums earlier in the season – and Silverstone was the scene of their first win since 2007 when they were on top in 2016. That may have been with a different rider, but Alex Rins is a former winner at the venue too, in Moto3.
Scott Redding (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) is another former winner and one with a stunning record on home soil, and he’ll want to try and get in the fight with fellow Brit Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). KTM, after a run of bad luck, are also looking for a bit more in the UK. Will Pol Espargaro be back from injury? He hopes so, but if the 2013 Moto2 World Champion can’t ride, someone has to – KTM have to field a replacement.
That’s the cast for another stunning showdown at Silverstone. Will it be Lorenzo vs Marquez? MotoGP vs the rain? Dovizioso back on top? Tune in to find out, but don’t be late – the schedule is different for the GoPro British Grand Prix and the lights go out on Sunday at 13:00 local time (GMT +1).
- Marc Marquez (SPA) HONDA 201 points
- Valentino Rossi (ITA) YAMAHA 142
- Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) DUCATI 130
- Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI 129
- Maverick Viñales (SPA) YAMAHA 113
Moto2: Bagnaia and Oliveira ready for a battle of Britain
The Red Bull Ring gave us another Moto2 race to remember, and this time it was Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) who took the points lead by taking the win. ‘Pecco’ just held off key rival Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and the gap at the top remains tiny: just three points going into the GoPro British Grand Prix. If the two have another duel, that could easily switch back – and both can take big positives from their current form.
For Oliveira, he may have lost the lead but the qualifying struggles that earlier plagued the Portuguese rider at some rounds now seem to be behind him. For Bagnaia, his earlier struggles with fitness after some falls are likewise a thing of the past – so it’s gloves off and game on.
Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46), meanwhile, is likewise on form. Alongside MotoGP points leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), he’s one of only two riders across all classes to have taken a podium in the last three races – and should be underestimated at his rivals’ own risk.
Then there’s Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who has pace at Silverstone, Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) was on the podium last season, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP 40), Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Fabio Quartararo (+Ego – Speed Up Racing) – the list of names who are all sure to be in the mix can go on and on.
Another name to watch could be Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors). The Brit has a great record at Silverstone and will want to add to it. There hasn’t been a rostrum finish for the former WorldSSP Champion in 2018 so far, but the British GP is certainly a likely venue for Lowes to be back #OnIt. Compatriot Danny Kent (+Ego – Speed Up Racing) will also be looking to boost his form at home, and won at the venue in the lightweight class in 2015.
- Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) KALEX 189 points
- Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM 186
- Alex Marquez (SPA) KALEX 113
- Brad Binder (RSA) KTM 111
- Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) KALEX 106
Moto3: Bezzecchi aiming for a Great British take off
Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) pulled the pin to perfection in the Austrian GP, taking his second win of the season in style and giving himself the perfect platform from which to launch a serious assault on the standings. But some of the headlines were stolen by the two men who shared the podium with him: Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) after his ride through the field after a bad start, and Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) after his ride through the pain barrier in a superhuman performance.
Only the weekend after breaking his wrist in a crash at Brno, Martin’s ride was nothing short of a stunner. Staying with Bezzecchi and the lead group throughout – and fighting for the lead – the Spaniard dug deep to try and minimise the damage to his Championship charge, pulling that off perfectly with the podium. Just mugged at the end by a late-charging Bastianini, his P3 nevertheless means he’s only 12 points off the top. With another two weeks to recover, that seems a job well done…but will the behemoth of Silverstone prove a much bigger challenge?
It was an expensive weekend in the title fight for his teammate Fabio Di Giannantonio as he took P11, and for Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Aron Canet just ahead of him. Both really took some damage to their Championship bids at the Red Bull Ring, but Canet also remains on the hunt for his first win of the season. At Silverstone, it will be a year since he last stood on the top step. Will returning to the venue play in his favour?
Bastianini also has a good record at Silverstone, John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) will be pushing hard at his home race after an awesome ride from the back in Austria and the likes of Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) could be a dark horse for the podium. Silverstone is a vast, wide and expansive track for Moto3 machinery – who will tame it best? Can Bezzecchi break away at the front and stamp some authority on the Championship? Or will Martin once again reel him in?
- Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) KTM 158 points
- Jorge Martin (SPA) HONDA 146
- Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA) HONDA 121
- Aron Canet (SPA) HONDA 118
- Enea Bastianini (ITA) HONDA 117