Silverstone Preview

Moto GP 2013

maddix park mx  By Byron Wilson 

The 2013 MotoGP World Championship makes its single stop of the season in Great Britain for Round 12, the Hertz British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez leads the way in points, following a masterful performance in the previous stop at Brno where he clinched his fourth consecutive race win. The rookie front-runner leads HRC teammate Dani Pedrosa by 26 points in the title chase. Silverstone marks the end of a summer triple-header that started in Indianapolis; three races that were completely dominated by Marquez. Will title hopefuls Pedrosa and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo find a way to suppress the rookie, or will Marquez continue his assault on the record books with a fifth-straight win?

Marquez has transitioned seamlessly from his success in the support classes on his rookie MotoGP campaign. And the Spaniard has enjoyed success at the British circuit in the past, winning the 125cc race in 2010 after prevailing in a fierce battle with Pol Espargaro. The following year he made pole position in Moto 2, but crashed early in the proceedings. He bounced back in 2012 to finish third in Moto 2, bumped down from second-place in the final corner by Scott Redding.

“We will see how Silverstone is with MotoGP, in 125cc I enjoyed it a lot but in Moto2 I struggled a little,” explained Marquez in a team press release. “I think a key factor will be the weather there as it can change quite a lot. Last year Lorenzo had a very good race so I am sure he will be strong. But we are coming off four victories in a row, we have good momentum and I feel really comfortable and confident on the bike.”

Lorenzo scored the win at Silverstone in 2012, battling back after falling to fifth-place during the initial laps. The Mallorcan fought his way up the ranks and on Lap 11 moved to the lead ahead of Casey Stoner. In 2011 Lorenzo wasn’t so fortunate, crashing out mid-race but in 2010 he completely owned the round, earning pole position, posting the fastest lap and taking the race win. The Yamaha ace made a stellar start at the previous round in the Czech Republic, but struggled with tire wear and fatigue during the final laps after his race-long battle with the Repsol Honda duo.

Pedrosa took advantage of Lorenzo’s diminished pace at Brno, moving up to second-place just a few laps before the checkers. He’s yet to earn as high a placement at Silverstone, though, with his best result coming in 2012 when he finished third. He missed the British GP completely in 2011 while healing from a broken collarbone and in 2010 he took eighth after a number of crashes during the sessions leading up to the race left him less than 100%. Silverstone is one of three circuits on the current schedule that Pedrosa has never won, the other two being Losail and the Circuit of the Americas. Pedrosa’s physical condition has been an issue of late following his crash at Sachsenring, but his fitness continues to improve and he says he’s “feeling pretty good” ahead of Silverstone.

Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, has waged some memorable battles for fourth-place during the past two rounds, coming from behind in Indianapolis to get past both Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow and Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. He got off to a better start at Brno, but tousled with Bautista once again mid-race before claiming the number four spot outright during the latter stages of competition. The Doctor has made four podiums this year and earned one win at Assen, but he’s a few tenths off the pace of Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Marquez. Rossi’s never been on the podium at Silverstone, missing 2010 with a broken leg, taking sixth in 2011 and ninth in 2012. Silverstone has been unkind to others in his family as well, namely his father Graziano who crashed out of the 250cc race on the last lap in 1979 while in the lead. 

Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow trails Rossi in points in fifth overall and he is still chasing after his first race win in the premier class. He won both races at Silverstone in World Superbike during the 2010 season, which marked his first race victories in that series. He missed the 2011 GP after a crash in qualifying left him with a broken collarbone and in 2012 he crashed again during qualifying and sustained an ankle injury. He wasn’t sure whether he’d be cleared to race last year, but eventually got the ok and lined up 20th on the grid. The British rider gave his home crowd a memorable show once the race was underway, battling his way up from near the back of the pack to finish sixth.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl is sixth in points followed by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso in seventh and Bautista in eighth. These three have been fixtures inside the top-10 this year, but Bradl is the only one to have made the podium yet with his second-place finish at Laguna Seca. None of them have won in the premier-class at Silverstone, but Bautista earned his first GP pole position there in 2012 and Dovi has two second-place finishes (2010 and 2011). Bradl’s high point came in 2011 when he took the top-step in Moto 2, which is also the last time the German rider has been atop the podium.

Dovi’s teammate, Nicky Hayden is ninth overall followed by top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro of Power Electronics Aspar. Crutchlow’s teammate, Bradley Smith, is 11th in the season standings and Michele Pirro, filling in for the injured Ben Spies with Ignite Pramac Racing, is 12th.
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