First, apologies to all for lack of communications from Silverstone. It’s always busy at a home race but I also managed to pour a bottle of water into my laptop on Friday, which made my weekend a little tricky.
You will be glad to hear, however, that the sun shone and lots of people had a very nice time. Silverstone looked and felt for the first time like it really enjoyed hosting MotoGP, and was rewarded with a truly great race. Five riders looked in with a chance of winning for most of the race as Vinales, Marquez, Crutchlow and Doviziosi pursued early leader Valentino Rossi. The question was, would the Yamahas make the distance give their proclivity for chewing up rear tyres on hot surfaces? And as Vinales had a soft rear tyre and Rossi a hard, the prospect was intriguing. As has become usual, we really didn’t know what was going to happen. Valentino, who had looked fast all weekend and started from the middle of the front row, led for 17 laps. He had a lead of over a second at the end of the third lap but from then on was gradually hinted down. All the participants later said they were saving their tyres but proceedings were interrupted at three-quarters distance by that rarest of events, a factory Honda breaking its engine. Happens as regularly as clockwork about once every ten years. That put Marquez out of the race and off the top of the championship. It also detached Vinales from Rossi and Dovizioso, and although Maverick was able to use his well-preserved soft rear to overhaul Rossi, he didn’t have time to get Dovizioso. It was very close at the end but as we have come to expect Andrea Dovizioso played his cards perfectly. As Gigi Dall’Igna said, “… he did not make one mistake.” Gigi also pointed out that Jorge Lorenzo was only three seconds back, and all this on a track that Ducati do not consider one of their favorites. Dovizioso now leads the championship by nine points from Marquez with Vinales only four points further back.
So what did we learn?
That Yamaha’s Misano test may have found a chassis that doesn’t kill the rear tyre, although Valentino wasn’t as happy as Maverick.
Alex Rins had another very solid weekend. He out qualified his teammate and was in front of Andrea Iannone when the he crashed.
Dani Pedrosa suffered again–he just can’t get on with Silverstone’s bumps.
Jorge Lorenzo, in fifth, is almost not far off another podium.
Next up it’s Misano, the track in Valentino’s back garden. Yamaha tested there after Austria and one of the few things we do know this year is that a team that has tested recently at any given track has an advantage. We haven’t seen a Yamaha victory since Valentino won at Assen. Time for another one?