MOTOGP: Round 5 – Silverstone, Great Britain – 20 June

Pole position seems to suit Jorge Lorenzo: not usually the best of starters, he seemed boosted by starting out in front and was committed to keeping it that way, jumping off the start ahead of Randy de Puniet and even Dani Pedrosa, who usually flies into the lead at the start of races.

Pedrosa did immediately try to apply the pressure, and a few laps in he mounted a successful challenge for the lead. Lorenzo was in no mood to be toyed with, however, and two corners later he muscled his way past Pedrosa to take back the lead. Pedrosa had one more lunge on Lorenzo, but he ended up out-braking himself and running wide, a mistake that not only released Lorenzo but also allowed Andrea Dovizioso and Randy de Puniet through into second and third place.

Pedrosa never recovered from this, and whether suffering from mechanical problem or feeling the effects of his two tumbles in 24 hours, he fell off the pace and became easy prey for a succession of riders to get past him as they shuffled him back to a lowly 8th place.

It couldn’t have been going better for Lorenzo, then: not only was he strolling to a dominant win and maximum points, his main championship rivals were underperforming as well – Pedrosa wasn’t the only one with troubles, as Casey Stoner had suffered a disastrous start which saw him slide back to last position before the first corner. He struggled with early handling and having to recover through the traffic, but by the closing laps he was up with the pack competing over second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth places. Eventually he ran out of time and had to settle for fifth, which was great damage limitation in the circumstances but still a long way off Lorenzo.

For most of the race, the best battle was between the smooth Dovizioso and the on-the-edge de Puniet as they traded second place multiple times. But with four laps to go, the strain showed on de Puniet’s tyres and his handling fell off a cliff, meaning he was overtaken by both Ducatis and the Tech 3 Yamaha of Ben Spies, who was loving the level playing field of MotoGP’s inaugural round at Silverstone which meant that everyone was was starting with zero circuit knowledge, just like Spies.

De Puniet’s late fade pushed Nicky Hayden up to the final podium position, but Spies was determined to make him work for it – and when Hayden made a mistake and drifted wide, Spies grabbed the opportunity to sail past him. It was hard work keeping the position from his compatriot for the remaining corners, but he managed to pull it off and claim third as the chequered flag came out.

With the field depleted by the absences of Valentino Rossi and Hiroshi Aoyama (who crashed in Sunday warm-up and was ordered to miss the race after complaining of back pain), anyone finishing was going to score championship points. Alas even this open goal was too much for Marco Melandri (who crashed at Brooklands trying to pass Spies on the opening lap) and Loris Capirossi (who ran wide trying to follow his Suzuki team mate Alvaro Bautista past Hector Barbera, went into the gravel and then finally had to lay the bike down to avoid running into the tyre wall.

Despite the runaway win for Lorenzo, the race proved an entertaining one thanks to the close battle between the chasing pack, and Casey Stoner’s fightback from dead last. Even without the poor start, Stoner would have struggled to seriously threaten Lorenzo for the lead but his recovery was impressive.

And the new look Silverstone proved a hit as well, the newly redesigned motorbike track clearly affording the riders an unusual amount of viable racing lines which led to lots of overtaking moves and challenges. Even the bumps produced in the tarmac by the Formula 1 cars added to the challenge and the opportunities to capitalise.

But Jorge Lorenzo will be pleased to have encountered no troubles and no dramas in the weak English sunshine, as he inches closer to his dream of succeeding the injured Valentino Rossi as world champion.

Race result

Pos  Rider             Team                 Time/Gap
 1.  Jorge Lorenzo     Yamaha             41m34.083s
 2.  Andrea Dovizioso  Honda                + 6.743s
 3.  Ben Spies         Tech 3 Yamaha        + 7.097s
 4.  Nicky Hayden      Ducati               + 7.314s
 5.  Casey Stoner      Ducati               + 7.494s
 6.  Randy de Puniet   LCR Honda            + 9.055s
 7.  Marco Simoncello  Gresini Honda       + 14.425s
 8.  Dani Pedrosa      Honda               + 15.313s
 9.  Colin Edwards     Tech 3 Yamaha       + 27.954s
10.  Aleix Espargaro   Pramac Ducati       + 42.394s
11.  Hector Barbera    Aspar Ducati        + 43.365s
12.  Alvaro Bautista   Suzuki              + 43.408s
13.  Mika Kallio       Pramac Ducati       + 43.580s

Retirements:

     Loris Capirossi   Suzuki             13 laps
     Marco Melandri    Gresini Honda      0 laps
     Hiroshi Aoyama    Interwetten Honda  -

MotoGP championships

Pos Driver            Points
1   Jorge Lorenzo     115
2   Andrea Dovizioso  78
3   Daniel Pedrosa    73
4   Valentino Rossi   61
5   Nicky Hayden      52
6   Randy de Puniet   46
7   Ben Spies         36
8   Casey Stoner      35
9   Marco Melandri    32
10  Marco Simoncelli  32
11  Colin Edwards     26
12  Hector Barbera    24
13  Aleix Espargaro   22
14  Hiroshi Aoyama    18
15  Mika Kallio       15
16  Loris Capirossi   13
17  Alvaro Bautista   12

Pos Constructor       Points
1   Yamaha            120
2   Honda             97
3   Ducati            65
4   Suzuki            23
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