MotoGP Silverstone race report: Surprising battle to the end

Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo engage in yet another battle at Silverstone that goes down to the final laps

motogp silverstone race report marquez lorenzo

The final results may show that Marc Marquez won his 11th MotoGP race of the season at Silverstone to get back to his winning ways, but the race itself was much closer and hotly contested right to the end. The Repsol Honda rider did manage to pull out the win, but not after a race-long tussle with a revitalized Jorge Lorenzo, the Movistar Yamaha rider rebounding from a disastrous Friday to qualify on the front row yesterday and then making Marquez work very hard to get the win. Valentino Rossi earned his eighth podium of the season at the UK circuit that he admits is not one of his favorites, this coming in his record 246th Grand Prix start.

Lorenzo once again managed to pull off one his usual great starts to take the lead, and this time Marquez didn’t fluff his to stay right on the Yamaha’s tail. Rossi looked to have the pace to hang with the lead duo, but he initially was held up by Ducati’s Andrea Dovisioso until the fourth lap when he finally got by. By that time Lorenzo and Marquez had pulled out more than a second on him, and Rossi eventually fell back into the clutches of Dovisioso and a charging Dani Pedrosa. The battle between the three went right down to the end, with Rossi just holding off Pedrosa and Dovisioso.

Meanwhile up front, it looked like Marquez was playing a waiting game, stalking about a half second behind Lorenzo until seven laps to go when he made his move to take the lead. Once past, he pulled a gap of about half a second on Lorenzo, and although the Majorcan was hanging tough, it looked as if the race was over at that point.

But with five laps to go, Marquez outbraked himself into Stowe corner, gifting the lead back to Lorenzo. Marquez worked back onto the tail of Lorenzo and tried to make a move up the inside of Lorenzo with three laps to go at the Village corner, but Lorenzo shut the door and there was a slight contact between the two. Marquez then quickly made another aggressive move in the following The Loop left-hander, forcing Lorenzo to pick up his bike and lose a half second in the process.

motogp silverstone race report marquez pass lorenzo
After Lorenzo went around the outside of Marquez resulting in some contact in the above photo, Marquez immediately retaliated in the next corner, stuffing up the inside of Lorenzo and forcing him to pick up his bike.

When asked by the MotoGP press conference host if he thought the move by Marquez was unfair, Lorenzo replied, “No, unfair? No, it’s aggressive. Marc is more aggressive than other riders and has the bike that permits him to ride like that. He’s very good under braking, but for the moment our bike, even if we improve braking compared to last year we still cannot make these kind of lines; it’s very difficult to defend the position. Also the rear hard tire this weekend was not the best for us, we improve so much the bike from Friday because it was a complete disaster on Friday.”

Although he once again made it look fairly easy, Marquez said it was anything but. “Honestly today I didn’t expect Jorge to be like that, he was so strong,” confessed Marquez. “From the beginning the rhythm was so high, I did the same rhythm like FP4 but he was pushing a lot in the beginning. I was trying to be careful with the tires but it was difficult because if not he was able to open a gap. On the second part of the race I saw that my rhythm was slightly better but not much. And I tried to overtake him with about seven or six laps left but then I made the mistake. I started to think about last year (when Lorenzo beat him in the last corner) and then I say I will try to open a small gap because in the last laps it was difficult. But in the end it was enough, a great battle, quite tight, but it was nice to come back again (and win) here.”

Lorenzo was satisfied with second knowing he gave it his all in the race. “Knowing how the weekend has been going, this race was much, much better than we expected. I really made a good start and I push 100 percent more than ever. The only thing is that here probably we didn’t have the best package; even though we did a very good job improving little by little and practice by practice, we were unable to have the same comfortable pace as Marc. We were pushing a lot, maybe he was able to relax more than me. I was struggling so much with my physical condition to keep the bike on two wheels and being able to turn those lap times. And finally I lost so much when he touch me, so I tried to catch him again but I was struggling with my physical condition because I push so much at the beginning, and also the rear (tire) was sliding so much, so maybe he has a little advantage in this area. Anyway, the race, finishing just seven-tenths behind when on Friday we were losing 1.3 seconds a lap is much better than we expected for sure.”

Rossi felt good about getting his eighth podium of the season, but The Doctor definitely wants more. “I’m happy with the podium because it’s my first one at Silverstone which in the past is a difficult track for me, I usually struggle a lot. I’m very happy about my pace at the beginning because Jorge was in front and pushing a lot, the lap time was very, very fast and I was able to stay with him for the first few laps. But unfortunately I didn’t make a good start and I lose a bit of time with Dovi and especially with Espargaro. In that moment, especially with Jorge in front and Marc, I lose a second on the straight. I try to catch them but I stressed the rear tire too much and I start to lose a lot of grip, so I had to slow my rhythm a little bit. From that moment I had start a very hard battle with Dani and Dovi to the end. I decided to stay in front because I can have a quite good pace and arrive at another podium, which is OK, but now we need to make another step.”

MotoGP Silverstone race results:

Pos. Rider Country Team Machine
1 Marc Marquez SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda
2 Jorge Lorenzo SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
3 Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha
4 Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda
5 Andrea Dovisioso ITA Ducati Team Ducati
6 Pol Espargaro SPA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
7 Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda
8 Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing Ducati
9 Aleix Espargaro SPA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha
10 Scott Redding GBR GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda
11 Yonny Hernandez COL Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Ducati
12 Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team Ducati
13 Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Honda
14 Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar Honda
15 Alex De Angelis ITA NGM Forward Racing Forward Yamaha
16 Leon Camier GBR Drive M7 Aspar Honda
17 Michael Laverty IRL Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia
18 Danilo Petrucci ITA Octo Ioda Racing Ioda/Aprilia
19 Hector Barbera SPA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki
20 Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing FTR/Kawasaki
21 Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport ART/Aprilia
22 Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha
DNF Alvaro Bautista SPA GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda