Jorge Lorenzo took his third successive MotoGP win of 2012 at Silverstone and extended his overall points lead.
Dry, sunny conditions for the 20-lap British GP were a welcome change from the rain MotoGP riders faced earlier in the week at Silverstone. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo earned his third successive MotoGP win after taking the checkers in Round 6. Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner followed over three seconds behind in second-place and Stoner’s teammate Dani Pedrosa took third. Pole position starter Alvaro Bautista of San Carlo Honda Gresini took fourth and Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies rounded out the top five.
“Today was a very difficult race, the front guys were very strong and very fast so it was very hard for me to catch them and stay with them,” Lorenzo explained. “When I caught Casey we had a wonderful fight, luckily for us I had a better pace and I passed him. Four laps from the end I made a big mistake and almost crashed! I’m very happy with the result, and for the team who gave me a good bike again.”
The battle for lead position was intense during the opening laps of the Grand Prix. Spies came out of the start in first and maintained out front through the first four laps with Stoner, Bautista, Lorenzo, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso and Pedrosa in tow. The Texan fell back through the course of the race as Lorenzo and Pedrosa advanced but scored his best finish so far this season in fifth. The five riders remained within seconds of one another, though it was Bautista and the Repsol Honda riders who were able to keep pace for a shot at the podium with Lorenzo in the final laps. Dovi was in position to contend as well, but crashed mid-race and had to pit. He returned once the bike was repaired and finished in 19th.
Stoner held the lead for six laps, but Lorenzo’s ride was nearly faultless. Once the points leader got ahead of Stoner, there was no catching him. A slight wobble through a turn late in the race was the only time Lorenzo allowed Stoner to make up ground, but it was not nearly enough for the Australian rider to contend again for the lead.
“It wasn’t a great race for us today, we saw the pace the Yamaha’s had in the early laps and it was really worrying to me,” said Stoner. “As early as lap three the bike wasn’t feeling good, especially on the left side, the tire destroyed itself almost immediately. My plan was to try and get to the front and hold them up but Ben [Spies] was proving difficult to pass, then he made a small mistake and I was able to slip through and I tried to hold it from there. Today we needed a little more grip and we would have been able to fight for the win but looking at the rear tires at the end of the race, there was definitely something wrong with ours.”
Pedrosa also commented on his finish, the new tires and Lorenzo’s blistering pace: “I tried to overtake him [Stoner] but I had a flash in my mind and I saw both Repsol Honda’s on the ground, so I settled for third place. It’s positive to both be on the podium if we consider that it’s the first race for the team with this new front tire, but for the championship it is not good. We need to make a step forward to solve the problems we have with the chattering because right now, Jorge [Lorenzo] is too strong for the Honda’s.”
Fourth marks the best finish of the year for Bautista, who also earned his first ever MotoGP pole-position earlier in the weekend. “It has been a great weekend and it has confirmed the progress we have made since Catalunya. I am so happy to finish so close to the podium. Maybe I could have attacked for third at the end but it would have been risky and I just wanted to run with them to the end and not make mistakes.”
Cal Crutchlow made up an incredible amount of ground on an injured ankle, starting 20th and finishing in sixth.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow also had a stellar race, considering he was unsure whether he’d be cleared to ride at all after his crash in practice on Saturday. The British rider was deemed fit to start and he worked his way up from last-place to sixth by the checkers. “That’s a weekend I won’t forget in a hurry. Yesterday was a disaster with the crash and I thought I was going to miss my home race again,” said Crutchlow. “It was a very tough race but I just had to try and ignore the pain and let the adrenaline and support of the British crowd get me through. When I got by Bradl I could see Nicky was a long way clear, but I just kept on pushing to see what happened. I’m really happy with my lap times because I was as quick as the guys on the podium, even with a broken ankle. So a little part of me can’t help but think without the crash yesterday that I could have been on the podium in the British Grand Prix.”
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden opened the race well, holding to fourth through the opening laps, but slipped back to finish in seventh ahead of LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl and teammate Valentino Rossi in eighth and ninth respectively.
Aleix Espargaro of Power Electronics Aspar led the way among CRT riders in 11th, followed by teammate Randy de Puniet in 12th. Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison managed to make the top 15, finishing in 14th and American rider Colin Edwards of NGM Mobile Forward Racing finished the day in 16th.
Lorenzo further extended his points lead, now 35 points ahead of Stoner in second. Pedrosa, in third, is the only other rider above 100 points, with Crutchlow the closest in fourth at just 66.
Casey Stoner held the lead for a period, as did Ben Spies, but it was Jorge Lorenzo who came out on top at the finish.
MotoGP Silverstone Results 2012:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
2. Casey Stoner (Honda)
3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
4. Alvarto Bautista (Honda)
5. Ben Spies (Yamaha)
6. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
8. Stefan Bradl (Honda)
9. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
10. Hector Barbera (Ducati)
11. Aleix Espargaro (ART)
12. Randy de Puniet (ART)
13. Michele Pirro (FTR)
14. James Ellison (ART)
15. Yonny Hernandez (BQR)
16. Colin Edwards (Suter)
17. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda)
18. Ivan Silva (BQR)
19. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha)
2012 MotoGP Championship Points:
1. Jorge Lorenzo, 140
2. Casey Stoner, 115
3. Dani Pedrosa, 101
4. Cal Crutchlow, 66
5. Andrea Dovizioso, 60
6. Valentino Rossi, 58
7. Alvaro Bautista, 58
8. Stefan Bradl, 51
9. Nicky Hayden, 49
10. Hector Barbera, 37