In Bikes, Motor Racing, Motorsports

MotoGP-silverstone-2014-marquez-lorenzoThe english Grand Prix is commonly known as one of the most changeable in the MotoGP calendar. The weather is usually very erratic, so the chances for a flag-to-flag race are given on every race day at the Silverstone circuit. But due to the conditions the whole day, the weather god seems to have a passion for good motorsport.

First to deliver just this was the Moto2 field. Fastest man in qualifying was the french rider Johann Zarco, who proved with a neat start, that his pole position was well-earned. But despite this fact, Mac VDS rider Mika Kallio was leading the field in front of Zarco after just one lap. Kallio dominated the race very quickly, opening a big gap as fast as he could.

Behind him, with a lead of more than one second, the fighting got on. Especially Zarco battled hard with the warm-up’s fastest man, Jonas Folger. The german fought his way up to third position, after leaving Simone Corsi and Esteve „Tito“ Rabat behind him. Unfortunately he was past back after a couple of laps, riding just in 6th position. Considering a start from place 5, a throwback that is bearable and a position to catch up again, but sadly that wasn’t the only mistake the Kalex rider made.

A few laps later, Folger took turn 14 too far inside and lost his front wheel. He fell and took the guiltless Simone Corsi with him. Both riders couldn’t rejoin the race again, but Corsi has apparently injured his hand.

Up front the battling went on, now with Maverick Viñales being involved. The Kalex rider made his way up, leaving the weaken Zarco and Tito Rabat behind him. But Viñales lost this promising position, after taking too much risk in an encounter with Rabat. The last years Moto3 champion had to take outlet zone to prevent a crash that would have taken him and his rival out of the race.

That made Rabat the new second, but still the encounter costed time. The only one benefiting from that was leader Mika Kallio, whose lead had by now increased to 2,5 seconds. What seems uncatchable, made Rabat his task. With four laps to go, the gap between him and his teammate shrank rapidly. Also Zarco and Viñales continued the battle behind the current championship leader, letting him escape.

Rabat is known in the paddock for reaching his highest form within the actual race. He seems to get stronger with every taken lap and he proved this judgment once again. With only two more laps to go, he took the first position from Kallio, who had been leading this Grand Prix from the very beginning.

This fight between teammates got on, with a constantly switch of leadership, until at the beginning of the last lap. Rabat prevailed and prevented every overtake by Kallio and the resurgent Maverick Viñales. Last to complete the Moto3 podium was polesetter Johann Zarco.

The ones to not finish the race were Jonas Folger and Simone Corsi, due to their crash, Xavier Simeon and Lorenzo Baldassarri. Also, Jeremy McWilliams and Dakota Mamola, who just attended the Silverstone Grand Prix, weren’t able to cross the finish line.

Only one to crash out of race in MotoGP was Honda Gresini rider Álvaro Bautista. A disaster for the spaniard, since it’s not yet decided where he’s going to ride next year. A better recommendation left his teammate Scott Redding. The local hero rode a solid race, finishing 10th, two places ahead of fellow countrymen Cal Crutchlow. The Ducati rider struggled with his bike, even at his home Grand Prix. More than a 12th place wasn’t possible.

But from an english perspective, apart from Redding, this race wasn’t the most sucessfull one. Bradley Smith, who started great, lost his 7th place due to technical issues with his Tech3 Yamaha, finishing 22th. But above everything else, the MotoGP fans around the world wanted to see a repetition from last years incredible fight between Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo. The race was one of the most remindable and probably most thrilling races ever in motorcycle history.

The chances were good, after Lorenzo’s good start from third position, which took him to the leadership. Marc Márquez came up right behind him, followed by a more surprising Aleix Espargaró. He and Andrea Dovizioso, who started behind Márquez as second, fought hard for the first laps, but had to give in later, althrough Andrea Dovizioso was able to stay as close to the top as possible.

So after some spectacular fights with Valentino Rossi, Espargaró had to tear off and leave the third place to the Yamaha factory rider. By that time, Rossi’s chance to catch up on Márquez and the still leading Jorge Lorenzo shrunk.

Both were far away, so Rossi had to deal with Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso throughout the remaining laps. The Doctor’s goal was to achieve his first podium ever at the Silverstone circuit, which meant holding everyone behind him.

With Lorenzo still leading over Márquez, his teammate Dani Pedrosa passed Dovizioso and, later on, Rossi. Pedrosa had started from a low 5th place, nothing common for the long time Repsol rider. But after the win in Brno, this wasn’t Pedrosa’s race.

Rossi and Dovizioso overtook him again, but this matter was missed out, due to the developments up front. After a long wait, which seemed to be scheduled, Márquez finally got past Lorenzo. With his second year in the premiere class of motorcycle racing, Márquez seemed to have learned everything. He watched Lorenzo and figured out what would be the best spot to overtake him.

But Jorge Lorenzo slowly comes back to be his last years self. With five laps into the race, he fought Márquez again and again, not putting off. After all, this time took him nowhere. After 17 laps, Márquez blocked the Yamaha rider out with a very hard maneuver. Lorenzo tried to get back on him, but sadly without sucess.

Márquez has won his 11th race this season, a thing that only Valentino Rossi accomplished before him. The italian himself finished third, setting a new world record. With 246 Grands Prix, he’s now the rider with the most race participations. A number that will suit the “greatest rider of all times”.

Something that won’t suit him is the result his Moto3 team had drawn in. Romano Fenati, who is supposed to be title contender, started from a horrendous 22th place. He bravely made his way up thoughout the race, reaching 15h position. Nothing satisfying neither, despite the fact that his teammate Francesco Bagnaia only crossed the finish line as 21th.

So from an italian point of view, all eyes lay on rookie Enea Bastianini. The sixteen year old was supposed to ride the Red Bull Rookies Cup this year, but was taken into the world championship at last minute. An absolutely right decision, considering his fourth place in qualifying.

Polesetter Alex Rins made a good start, but despite the fact that Bastianini left the first corner as the new second, a matter that lost it’s significance. Also Alex Márquez closed up to them, taking the lead from his teammate Rins. The battle got on and on throughout the complete race.

In between championship leader Jack Miller was involved, but somehow lost connection to the leading group. With not even finishing the first lap, Efren Vazquez crashed out of the race, quickly followed by Andrea Migno, who is supposed to replace Arthur Sissis in the Mahindra Racing team. Luckily both riders appeared to be unhurt and haven’t taken any others with them.

In the leading group, things were changing so incredibly fast, the cameras couldn’t capture every single overtake. Miguel Oliveira made his way up, taking the lead in front of Bastianini for a few instants. Also Niccolò Antonelli, Alexis Masbou and Jakub Kornfeil closed up on the front row, making it even more confused.

But with four laps to go, the field was somewhat sorted. The leading group shrunk to Bastianini still up first, followed by Márquez, Rins and Oliveria.
A gap opened between them and the remaining riders, down to KTM rider Romano Fenati.

For the last two lap, nothing was decided up front. Márquez and Rins went past Bastianini, but the rookie did not want to but back. All three provided a phenomenal duel, which Rins left as winner, just 0,011 seconds before his teammate. Third was Enea Bastianini, after a fantastic performance, followed by Miguel Oliveira. Jack Miller finished the race just in 6th position, even letting Jakub Kornfeil pass.

He’s still the championship leader, but his lead shrunk to just 13 points. If Miller is able to open that gap up a little more, will show the Misano Grand Prix in two weeks.

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Riccardo Tafà
Riccardo Tafà
Managing Director for RTR Sports, Riccardo graduated in law at the University of Bologna. He began his career in London in PR, then started working in two and four-wheelers. A brief move to Monaco followed before returning to Italy. There he founded RTR, first a consulting firm and then a sports marketing company which, eventually, he moved back to London.
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