Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi claimed his fourth MotoGP victory of the 2015 season at Silverstone, prevailing in dreary, damp conditions to reclaim the overall points lead in the championship. Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci nearly upset the Doctor in the latter stages, but finished in second-place, taking his first ever GP podium result. Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the podium.
Conditions were questionable at the start, race officials calling for a dry race as the grid set out on the first warm-up laps. Riders tip-toed around the circuit, however, with the dampness on track already making the slick tires an unfavorable choice. Teams prepped wet weather machines and the entire field pulled into the pits for bike swaps, portending, momentarily, a frantic full-field dash from pit lane. Race officials thought better of this and delayed the start, allowing riders the chance to re-grid.
Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, dipped into Turn 1 with the lead once the race was underway trailed by Marquez and Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro. Further back, Petrucci’s teammate, Yonny Hernandez, became the first of a number of riders to succumb to conditions, the Colombian rider crashing in the opening seconds of the race.
Positions swapped like mad just behind Lorenzo during the initial stages. Marquez, Rossi, Espargaro, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, Tech 3’s Bradley Smith and LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow all bumping and pushing for position. As riders settled into the pace of the race, Rossi and Marquez broke away from the fight for fourth, keeping close to Lorenzo at the front.
On the second lap, Rossi got ahead of his teammate for the lead and Marquez followed with a pass of his own on the Mallorcan a few turns later. The next lap saw Rossi and Marquez begin to open some space on Lorenzo while Crutchlow settled into fourth-place followed by Espargaro, Crutchlow’s teammate, Jack Miller, Pedrosa and Petrucci.
Crutchlow got ahead of Lorenzo for third-place but the Yamaha rider was able to answer back a few turns later. Miller, who was putting in one of his most impressive performances yet this season, got a bit too hasty just after Crutchlow had been passed and attempted an aggressive move to get ahead of his teammate. The rookie came in too hot to the inside which left him with nowhere to go on exit as he started to drift wide. Miller went into a slide which took out Crutchlow and both riders went skidding off track. Miller’s race would end right there while Crutchlow was able to make a return. However, the British rider would crash a second time soon after rejoining, ending his race.
Rossi and Marquez continued to stretch a lead on the field, Lorenzo doing his best to keep the two front-runners in sight. Lorenzo was coming under pressure from Pedrosa though while Petrucci and Dovi were both closing in from fifth and sixth.
With 14 laps remaining in the 20 lap contest, Petrucci caught and passed Pedrosa for fourth-place. Dovi followed quickly after with a move past the Repsol Honda rider into fifth. On the next lap Petrucci stuffed Lorenzo with a hard pass up the inside for third and, again, Dovi stayed tied to his countryman’s rear tire with a pass of his own on Lorenzo for fourth. Lorenzo yielded to Pedrosa soon after and paced back in sixth for a period.
Entering the second-half of the race, Rossi continued to lead with Marquez hot on his heels, and the two were more than six seconds ahead of Petrucci in third-place. Marquez never got the chance to attempt a move on Rossi though as with eight laps remaining the Repsol rider fishtailed a bit and got tossed from his bike, crashing out of the race.
The fight behind raged, as Dovi had passed Petrucci, giving him second-place after Marquez went down. Pedrosa and Lorenzo continued to follow closely, and Lorenzo regained ground with a pass by Pedrosa on Lap 13. Petrucci regained position on Dovi and made it stick, and all the while the Ducati riders were closing the gap on Rossi out front.
With five to go Petrucci trailed Rossi by just 2.4 seconds and by the penultimate lap the Ducati rider was within 1.7 seconds of the Doctor. In the end Rossi was able to manage enough of a gap to avoid a late race fight with Petrucci. Dovi lost a bit of ground on Petrucci by the checkers and Lorenzo had broken free of Pedrosa to finish in fourth-place.
Pedrosa claimed fifth followed by Marc VDS’ Scott Redding in sixth. Redding earlier announced that he would leave the Marc VDS team at the end of 2015 for a seat at Octo Pramac Racing in 2016. Redding has struggled with the RC213V since joining the MotoGP class in 2014. His performance at Silverstone this time out is his best finish to-date since moving to the premier class.
Smith finished in seventh followed by Dovi’s teammate, Andrea Iannone, in eighth. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro took ninth trailed by Aprilia’s Alvaro Bautista in 10th. Aspar Honda’s Nicky Hayden finished 12th, giving him the honor of the top-finishing Open class bike for the round.
Rossi came into the round tied mathematically with Lorenzo at the top of the points list, and leaves Silverstone with a 12-point advantage. Marquez is third, but now trails the leader by 77 points. Iannone is fourth followed by Dovi in fifth.
MotoGP Silverstone Results 2015
1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
2. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
4. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
5. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
6. Scott Redding (Honda)
7. Bradley Smith (Yamaha)
8. Andrea Iannone (Ducati)
9. Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki)
10. Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia)
11. Maverick Vinales (Suzuki)
12. Nicky Hayden (Honda)
13. Hector Barbera (Ducati)
14. Mike di Meglio (Ducati)
15. Alex de Angelis (ART)
16. Loris Baz (Forward Yamaha)
17. Eugene Laverty (Honda)
18. Claudio Corti (Forward Yamaha)
19. Karel Abraham (Honda)
MotoGP Championship Points 2015
1. Valentino Rossi, 236
2. Jorge Lorenzo, 224
3. Marc Marquez, 159
4. Andrea Iannone, 150
5. Andrea Dovizioso, 120
6. Bradley Smith, 115
7. Dani Pedrosa, 102
8. Danilo Petrucci, 83
9. Pol Espargaro, 81
10. Cal Crutchlow, 74