Rossi Marks 250th MotoGP Start with Third Place in Scintillating Silverstone Race
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi celebrated the milestone of his 250th MotoGP start with a hard-fought third place at the Silverstone Circuit. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a tough outing at the British Grand Prix but made his experience count to hold eighth place over the line.
Valentino Rossi, who has been participating in the MotoGP class since its introduction in 2002, kicked off his 250th MotoGP class Grand Prix start in style. He stormed from second on the grid to grab the holeshot before tucking in behind Maverick Viñales, but his assertive start to the race was short-lived when the race was red flagged.
The opening lap to the shortened restarted race, which began at 15:54 local time, saw Rossi hold second place behind Cal Crutchlow into the first corner, but he had to let Viñales and Marc Marquez pass before the end of the first lap. With fifteen laps to go he saw the latter pull a gap on Crutchlow in third place and decided it was time to charge for the front. Within one lap the nine times World Champion passed the local rider and Marquez and focused on closing the margin of 2.4s to the race leader, but his rivals continued to threaten him from behind.
Eight laps on the Doctor came under pressure from Andrea Iannone as his rear tyre started to slide. What followed was a flurry of activity as Crutchlow and Marquez joined the fight for second place. Two laps later Rossi found himself in fifth place when he and Marquez briefly touched fairings. The Italian was quick to respond and close passes followed as they fought a heated battle, while Iannone crashed out of the race.
Rossi was unable to fend off Marquez and rode a smart end to the race, saving his tyres to seize the opportunity and take over third place when Marquez went wide. He held this podium position over the line as he rapidly approached Crutchlow in a last-lap sprint to the chequered flag, but he came just 0.583s short and wrapped up the day in third place.
Starting from ninth on the grid Lorenzo had a flying start off the line, taking seventh place into the first corner. He put his head down trying to close the gap to the front until the race was aborted due to a race incident in turn two.
He resumed his attack seamlessly during the shortened 19-lap race. Perfectly duplicating his start, he tried to progress from seventh place after the first corner, but saw Andrea Iannone put an aggressive pass on him before the end of the first lap. Lorenzo tried to follow and soon overtook Scott Redding to reclaim seventh place.
He continued his chase to the front, closing up on Dani Pedrosa and upped his pace, but lost time as he got engaged in a battle with Andrea Dovizioso for seventh place. Unable to match the pace of the Italian due to a vibrating rear tyre, he then got into battle with Aleix Espargaró, who he had to let pass. Despite the challenges, Lorenzo continued to keep his head down and later gained a position as Iannone retired from the race, to finish the race in eighth position, 19.432s from first.
The results see Rossi hold second place in the championship standings, now on 160 points, with a margin of 50 points to the championship leader. Lorenzo remains in third position, now on 146 points.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP will now travel to San Marino for the round at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli that will take place next week.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"Today has been a gamble race. We started the race with tyre choice and set-ups that we couldn't try before due to the wet FP4 and warm-up. Some of our decisions paid off and some didn't. We had a red flag situation after one lap and then we had a second start with the quick starting procedure. The race has been a very close battle, with some hot action between Vale, Marc, Iannone and Crutchlow, that we all enjoyed a lot. After a good start, Vale managed the degradation of the rear tyre very well until the end and he scored another important podium that gives him a good motivation for his upcoming home race. Jorge had a difficult race and suffered from big vibrations and a lack of grip from the rear throughout since the beginning. He handled the situation as well as he could to end the race in eighth place. Now we will have four days off before the next FP1 in Misano, the team's second home race of the season."
3rd / +4.063s / 19 laps, Championship: 2nd 160 points
"For the championship these are just three points but I'm very happy because it was a hard battle. I fought for the entire race and never gave up. Unfortunately, after eight or nine laps, I started to slide a lot on the rear, so it was very difficult to control the bike, but at the end it was very funny with Marc and Crutchlow and I'm very happy with this podium. It was a great race and a great battle, a double battle because at the beginning of the race and also at the end it was great. I enjoyed it a lot and I'm so happy with this podium, because I knew I had to fight from the first corner to the last to arrive in front. On the dry we weren't so strong. We knew we would struggle with the tyres in the second half of the race and in fact it was like this. It was a great battle with Marquez and also with Crutchlow and Iannone. I tried to the maximum and arrived on the podium. It's not very important for the points in the championship but very important for me and for the team. I have some black on me from Marquez's tyres, because we touched two or three times. The battle was good but hard, fair and I enjoyed it a lot. When you try at the end to fight for the podium, between Marquez and me, it's always difficult, but it was a very good battle and I want to see it on television."
8th / +19.432s / 19 laps, Championship: 3rd 146 points
"It's been a difficult weekend, because we couldn't find a good set-up that made me comfortable with the bike. We tried a different setting in the race that we couldn't test in the warm-up, so we gambled a bit on the setting and it didn't work. I could see the second group there in front of me but I couldn't catch them. All of a sudden I felt the bike was vibrating a lot, so I had to close the throttle and relieve the pace and I couldn't keep up the pace I had at the start of the race."
Lowes impresses by seizing points on MotoGP debut at Silverstone
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team stand-in rider Alex Lowes strongly clinched a point scoring finish in his inaugural MotoGP appearance at his home Grand Prix at the high speed Silverstone circuit. Lowes kicked off his day with a run to 3rd in the mixed conditions in the morning warm up, which filled the 25-year-old with confidence ahead of the 20-lap sprint. When the lights went out, the Briton charged forward, however, the race was stopped shortly afterwards due to an incident involving his teammate and another rider. At the restart, he leapt off the line as he completed the opening lap in 17th, and just two laps later, he moved up to 14th. Later on, he slipped back one position but remained fully focused as he looked to continue gathering as much experience as possible. Then with five laps left to run, he claimed 13th as he battled with Eugene Laverty in the final moments of the GP. After a last lap dash, the Tech3 rider eventually met the chequered flag in 13th which marks a superb close to his first MotoGP race.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Pol Espargaro suffered bad luck at the British Grand Prix after being involved in a collision at turn one on the opening lap. The Spaniard leapt forward from the fifth row of the grid and after the short run down to the first turn, Loris Baz hit him and the incident caused the race to be red flagged. Espargaro was taken to the medical centre to be checked but was later deemed ok. The 25-year-old will seek to make amends at the next race in San Marino in just a few days time.
13th / +40.143s / 19 laps, Championship: 23rd, 3 points
"Overall I have to be pleased with how the weekend has ended and I really learnt a lot in my first MotoGP experience, which I thought was amazing. The ever changing weather conditions made things a bit trickier at this event, and this was even more of a challenge for me because any condition would have been tough as it was my debut on the YZR-M1. With regards to the race itself, it was the first time that I ran with a full fuel load and also the first time that I completed more than six laps in a row. Therefore, of course, the learning curve was steep and it was tough. In the first few laps, I locked the front whilst braking a few times which made me lose a bit of confidence, but after that, I tried to understand the changing behaviour of the bike regarding the fuel and tyre life. I also watched the guys around me and I learnt a lot. In the end, I finished 40 seconds back from the leader and 20 from Lorenzo in my first GP race, which is positive, but the main objective was to reach the flag and I also claimed a few points. I feel that I could have ridden better, but maybe I am being a bit too negative on myself. Plus, I didn't know what to expect here so I shouldn't be harsh for not understanding everything immediately. However, I am a racer! Now I have a few days to digest what has happened so that I can be stronger in San Marino. I have to give a special thanks to the whole Tech3 team who did a great job this weekend and I am thankful for the chance."
DNC, Championship: 9th / 81 points
"I can't say a lot about today because it was over before it really got going for me. In the first lap, I felt a strong impact from behind me at the first corner. I started to roll on the floor and then both my bike and Loris' bike hit me. On one hand, I have to say that this incident was really bad luck, but then again, to be completely honest, the past few races have not gone exactly to plan. On the other hand, I have to be pleased that nothing worse happened. I must admit that I am feeling a lot of pain all over, and especially in my right tibia but this is not something that I am overly worried about and I am sure that with some relaxation and massages, I will be fine. I'm always a bit nervous when I start from quite far back on the grid because it's dangerous and the accident today confirmed this. However, I missed the entrance to QP2 by one tenth and I paid a high price in qualifying when it rained which cost me even more in the race today. Having said that, I have to be happy that I am more or less ok after that hard crash and even though we have another GP in the next few days, I will be a lot better in Misano where I am confident that my luck will change and things will be a lot better."