Lorenzo pips Marquez in Silverstone nail-biter
A cracker of a race sees the reigning world champion fend off an unbelievable run from the rookie to finally win a race after months
What drama. What turnarounds. What a race!
Today's race at Silverstone has got to be the race of the season so far. There's been so much that has happened over the weekend - crashes, new lap records being set in qualifying, Marquez's bike nearly taking out Crutchlow and a few race marshals in warm-up, and all it needed was an exciting race to wind up an entertaining eleventh round of the MotoGP. And it wasn't exciting, it was EXCITINGGGGG.
Marquez had been cleared to race after suffering a shoulder dislocation when he crashed earlier in the morning. The shoulder was slotted back into place, and Marquez showed no hesitation rolling off the start line. Jorge Lorenzo had been riding like a man possessed this weekend, however, and his bike nearly made contact with Marquez's before he eased past the rookie and led the pack at the end of Lap 1.
Further back, Valentino Rossi had a great start, taking third briefly before Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista, on their soft compound tyre-shod machines went past him. Pedrosa had dropped down to sixth, but he wasn't to stay there for too long, fighting his way up the field steadily to find Marquez and Lorenzo in his sights after a few laps. It did seem daunting to catch up with the two at the front, with two and a half seconds separating the two Hondas.
Pedrosa turned up the wick, recording the fastest ever lap in a race at Silverstone in the process to reduce the gap to less than half a second. With Marquez's shoulder bound to give in at some point, Dani coolly bided his time, waiting for the inevitable to happen.
Unfortunately for Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Marquez were out to re-define the term "inevitable". Marquez had many a look on Lorenzo's inside all throughout the race, but it wasn't until the final two laps when he actually went for it and overtook Lorenzo, only for the Yamaha to get past him again. But with a lap still to go, Lorenzo knew it was far from over.
Last lap. Pedrosa resigned to being a spectator. Barely anything separating #93 from #99. Marquez went under Lorenzo at Brooklands, and it seemed done and dusted. But Lorenzo was having none of it, nudging past the Honda on the second-to-last corner to take the victory by 81 thousandths of a second - the closest finish of the season.
Fourth place was finally gobbled up by Rossi after a riveting last lap battle with Bautista, Bradl finished sixth ahead of Crutchlow, capping off a bitterly disappointing home race for the Tech 3 rider. Nicky Hayden pipped Bradley Smith in the fight for eigth, which was held by his team-mate Dovizioso before he fell off his bike on the penultimate lap. Aleix Espargaro bounced back from his neck and finger injuries to finish the top CRT rider in tenth.
Marquez's efforts were heroic, as were Lorenzo's. The champion fought for it like his title depended on it, which it did, actually. It's on to San Marino in a couple of weeks time, with Marquez leading the championship by 30 points. Lorenzo will fancy his chances of slimming the current championship leader's lead further still, but Marquez's shoulder may be quite alright by then, in which case we would witness yet another absorbing contest.
But Silverstone was just something else. Top class stuff.
1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Marc Marquez
3. Dani Pedrosa
4. Valentino Rossi
5. Alvaro Bautista
6. Stefan Bradl
7. Cal Crutchlow
8. Nicky Hayden
9. Bradley Smith
10. Aleix Espargaro
11. Andrea Iannone
12. Michele Pirro
13. Hector Barbera
14. Colin Edwards
15. Danilo Petrucci
16. Randy De Puniet
17. Claudio Corti
18. Hiroshi Aoyama
19. Michael Laverty
20. Yonny Hernandez
21. Bryan Staring