MotoGP: British GP Gives Vital Confidence Boosters

06/17/2012 @ 6:40 am, by Jensen Beeler7 COMMENTS

With Sunday’s race having perhaps some of the best weather yet at Silverstone, the British GP started with concern, after Cal Crutchlow missed qualifying after a hard crash in FP3. Getting cleared to ride Sunday morning, the Honey Badger was relegated to the back of the grid for the start, dashing any hopes of a podium finish.

Still, the man from Man delighted British fans with his resolve to go racing, with further spectacle coming in the form of Alvaro Bautista’s first MotoGP pole-positiion start, putting his black San Carlo Gresini Honda in front of the factory machines of Ben Spies, Casey Stoner, and Jorge Lorenzo. With the British GP showing the first signs of Spies’ renewed confidence, MotoGP fans had all the makings of a good race as the sun shined through the cloud cover. To see how it all finished out, click on past the jump.

Getting the jump off the line, Ben Spies lead the grid through the first turns, as he took control of the race ahead of Stoner, Bautista, Hayden, and Lorenzo. Leading the first four laps, it looked like Spies was going to runaway with the British GP, but the reigning-World Champion Casey Stoner caught up to the American with 16 laps to go. Capitalizing as Spies entered a corner too hot and ran wide at the apex, Stoner had no further contest from Spies who tried to hang onto the Honda’s pace, despite the Yamaha’s tires fading lap-by-lap.

Putting his own gap on the field, the only man that could respond to Stoner was Jorge Lorenzo. Moving up through the field at a rapid pace, Lorenzo found himself coming from fifth to second in just six laps. With Stoner enjoying a margin to Lorenzo, and Lorenzo gapping with a comfortable buffer the five-way battle for third , the Spaniard went to work on catching the Australian in front of him. Watching Stoner fade, Lorenzo passed the factory Honda rider, and never looked back as he finished over three seconds ahead of Stoner. Casey’s fate would be less certain however, as Dani Pedrosa soon caught his teammate, and put pressure on him all the way to the line, though could not close the deal on the soon-to-be-retired racer.

As that rounded out the podium, other notable races came from Nicky Hayden, who looked to be in the hunt for a podium until a mistake cost him several places, and found himself out of touch with the front-runners as he too had trouble with his tires lasting on the British course. Putting in a fantastic showing for the satellite Honda team, Alvaro Bautista held his own at the British GP, and finished fourth for the day. However, the ride of the day certainly has to go to Cal Crutchlow, who managed to make a sixth-place finish out of his last place start. Crutchlow may now have landed on a podium this weekend, but you would be hard-pressed to find a British fan who wasn’t proud of their pseudo-countryman.

Perhaps the most disappointing ride of the day came from Andrea Dovizioso, who crashed on the tenth lap while sitting in a very confident fourth place. While Yamaha’s day was surely made with Lorenzo’s victory (and now one full-race lead in the MotoGP Championship), Dovi’s crash today, Cal’s crash in FP3 yesterday, and Ben’s fifth place finish after leading the first quarter of the race all combine to make it a bittersweet weekend.

The good news for Spies is that he seems to have his fortunes heading once again in the right direction — the only question is whether the American can salvage his season rapidly enough to save his factory Yamaha seat for next year. Only time can tell, but MotoGP comes to The Cathedral on Saturday, June 30th.

Race Results from the British GP at Silverstone, Great Britain:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike Time
1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 41’16.429
2 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda +3.313
3 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +3.599
4 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda +5.196
5 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha +11.531
6 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +15.112
7 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati +15.527
8 Stefan BRADL GER LCR Honda MotoGP Honda +22.521
9 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati +36.138
10 Hector BARBERA SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati +41.328
11 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Power Electronics Aspar ART +1’03.157
12 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Power Electronics Aspar ART +1’03.443
13 Michele PIRRO ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR +1’07.290
14 James ELLISON GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART +1’14.782
15 Yonny HERNANDEZ COL Avintia Blusens BQR +1’15.108
16 Colin EDWARDS USA NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter +1’29.899
17 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Came IodaRacing Project Ioda +1’40.302
18 Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR +1’52.099
19 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 1 Lap
Not Classified
54 Mattia PASINI ITA Speed Master ART 6 Laps

Source: MotoGP

  • Jonathan

    What a race! The exchange between Lorenzo on the unflappable Yamaha and Stoner (who’s rear tyre was already shot on one side at least) was real cover-your-eyes stuff. For the first time I’m warming to the Aussie – the new tyres don’t flatter his “push… push… PUSH” style at all and the lap times (where no-one seems to be able to put in consistently fast laps) seems to back this up. He’s a purist who is dismayed by the misconception that hamstringing the fast guys is progress, but I digress…

    I’m made up for Alvaro – the Gods may have blessed him with pole (the weather over here is proof that the Gods do play dice), but he didn’t fold under pressure. A lot of talented riders lose ther edge when thay have a spell at the stinky end of the grid, but he kept his head. He admitted after the race that he was a little cautious in the closing stages, but the guys in front of him were “just doing enough” too, so no point stuffing it into the gravel. His “I’m so happy…” is always great to hear when the others are cursing chatter / tyres / what they had for breakfast, etc. A charming guy and I miss seeing him on the Suzook, especially as it was just beginning to show promise at the end of last season. Perhaps if Dorna stop pulling rule changes out of a hat…

    So, Crutchlow. The Honey Badger is the hardest guy on the planet. Suffering a freak crash in practice ( being hit by a 40mph crosswind while pushing to the limit is fairly freakish), he convinces the medical centre that he’s fit to race and starts from the back of the grid. Having lost 50% of his weekend’s setup time and feeling the expectation of a nation that’s not seen a Brit podium since the Earth cooled he passes all of the CRT’s within a couple of laps (which speaks volumes for the diesels), but instead of fading when the pain of a bust up ankle overwhelm thes start line adrenaline he just gets faster and puts an awesome pass on Hayden in the closing stages of the race to bag 6th. It’s a credit to his spirit, his evolving racecraft and the Tech 3 team.

    Hayden and Spies: Damn, what happened there?

    Rossi: Ditto.

    The CRTs: Who?

    Note to Dorna: The fuel limit serves no-one and makes racing more expensive. Spec tyres that fall off after a few quick laps kills the spectacle that fans (remember them?) are paying to watch. People pay to see the mavericks, the guys that push. If the racing is only close because no-one dare go fast then that’s not racing – it’s a procession. Give the guys the tools to do the job. You will never close the gap between the factories and the privateers, but flattering the no-hopers may just make the beancounters at Honda and Yamaha ask “Why are we sinking millions into Motogp when the guys on cement mixers are being given a three lap head start?” The CRT thing doesn’t provide any incentive for engine builders either. €15,000 to” claim” another team’s motor? Hmmm, how much are a set of Carillo rods again? Perhaps it would be better if the factories did bail – then racing wouldn’t be a showroom for rider aids that push up prices for everyone.

    The lines between Superbike and Motogp are blurring. Motogp has to be the pinnacle of the sport, otherwise it is irrelevent. Maybe it’s just a reflection of how far roadbike tech has come since I tankslapped around on a GSXR75F in the mis ’80’s, but I’m getting a sense of deja-vu in club motocross – everyone has to buy horribly expensive four stroke bikes that only win because of bent rules. Quit with the rules and let the fastest guy (or gal) with the best solution win.

  • DareN

    Jensen – hire this guy! What a piece of writing!!! (see above).

  • s2upid

    booooom amazing analysis @Jonathan

  • Steve Lang

    Nicely done/said Jonathan, I could not agree more.

  • Jensen, what’s this about Crutchlow and the pseudo-countrymen? The lad’s from Coventry. That makes him as British as bangers and mash! The fact that he happens to live on the Isle of Man these days doesn’t make him Manx.

    The guy is my new hero. Funny as hell, fast as hell, tough as hell.

  • Jonathan

    Thanks guys – right now I’m blushing all the way down to my (motocross) boots!

    I wish I could sound more positive about the future of Motogp, but in the short term I think that what is required is stability in the rules – a constant drip feed of compromises helps no-one. I guess that as fans we’ll have to muddle through this rough patch and hope that the good imes will roll once more. I hope that the factories and major sponsors can be patient too.

  • Grant Madden

    If the factories had spent as much money on developing a direct injection system to clean up 2strokes as they have creating mega powerful 4strokes the world would be a better place.It would create a new “war within a war” in motogp.The weight and specific power outputs of the 2 strokes would make the big heavy.complex 4 strokes weep n shame
    Oh woe is me,I miss the cackle and sound of the 2 strokes.Technically the 2 stroke is a more efficient motor giving power on every stroke of the piston.Who decided to give up on that?You know that diesels were inefficient untill the development ot fuel injection.Surely the 2 stroke is in the same basket.Look around now and see all the diesels on the roads now and they are smelly ,dirty(dusty) engines but they,re everywhere.why not the 2strokes(Diesels are effectively 2 strokes)running on petrol?
    That sucks big time!Grrr