Jorge Lorenzo may have a dominating lead in the championship, but his second-place at Mugello behind Pedrosa was a reminder that the season is far from over.
This week the MotoGP
paddock will pack up its bags and head to Great Britain for the first Grand Prix motorcycle race at the Silverstone circuit in more than 20 years. After Valentino Rossi’s injury at Mugello, Jorge Lorenzo will be the sole figure representing Fiat Yamaha
. The title favorite will have to contend with Repsol Honda
's Dani Pedrosa, who enters Round 6 fresh off his Mugello win. As we have already seen with Rossi's injury, just one round of racing can change the championship tremendously, so let’s take a look at what’s on tap for this weekend in England.
As a result of Rossi having lived in London for several years the fans there have accepted him as one of their own. Despite missing out on his performance at Silverstone, they will be happy to hear that Rossi is recovering well at his home in Italy and will be back racing soon. In his absence the Fiat Yamaha team will still set up his garage and display his two YZR-M1s for fans to stare at during the weekend.
Having taken two wins and two second-place finishes in just four races, Lorenzo has set a commanding lead in the series. With 25 points separating him from the runner-up in the championship, Lorenzo heads to British soil in hopes of earning his first premier class win there since crashing out at Donington last year.
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa heads to the new Silverstone track fresh off his crushing win over Lorenzo at Mugello.
“After Mugello we arrive at Silverstone, a track that none of us know,” Lorenzo commented. “I will do some laps with the scooter on Thursday; I don't always do this but I think it's very important because so far I've only seen the track on the Play Station and it's changed quite a lot. My aim is once again to get on the podium, but I was disappointed after Mugello and I want to do a better race in England. I am happy with my lead in the standings but I want to keep improving.”
Lorenzo’s hope of a victory stands in direct opposition to Pedrosa, who was able to take his first win of the 2010 season in a stunning start-to-finish win at Mugello. With 14 races to go in the series, Pedrosa has climbed to second in points and is eager to upset the title favorite.
“We arrive at Silverstone in good shape after the victory in Mugello,” said Pedrosa. “We had a very good weekend in Italy and myself and the team need to make the most of it to maintain this momentum.”
Another Honda rider who had a big weekend in Italy was Andrea Dovizioso. Taking his third podium finish of the 2010 season at Mugello, Dovizioso has consistently been a threat in the series with Honda’s presence in the title chase growing. Adding to their recent success is the fact that both Pedrosa and Dovizioso have enjoyed a decent history in Britain, including Pedrosa’s second win of his MotoGP career.
Currently fifth in the Championship, Nicky Hayden and his Ducati
Marlboro team were recently welcomed by thousands of Ducatisti during World Ducati Week and are eager to experience the new layout of the Silverstone track.
Andrea Dovizioso has earned three podium finishes in the 2010 season and has become a formidable opponent.
Hayden's Ducati teammate, Casey Stoner, had previously raced on the circuit in 2000 and 2001 during the British Championship
, but that was on the old layout.
“I like the idea of going to a new track,” remarked Hayden. “It’s exciting and it’s a challenge for the riders and for the team. I have seen a video of the track and obviously the team has the layout, which we have looked at together and talked about what gear ratios we might need, things like that. It looks like a fast track and we have a fast bike so that’s a positive start.”
Randy de Puniet has been enjoying a recent wave of success which began at the season opener in Qatar where he took sixth. The privateer rider was able to do battle in the top-five at Mugello and eventually took a sixth-place result there, making him the top privateer in the championship.
The only MotoGP riders who have competed at Silverstone are Yamaha’s Colin Edwards and Ducati’s Casey Stoner. While the two have experienced the track first-hand in competition it was on a much older layout, and the circuit has been changed since their last visits.
Andrea Iannone edged ahead of the competition at Mugello, taking first-place and moving to fifth in the championship.
In a race that lacked the back and forth lead-swapping characterizing the inagural Moto2 season, Andrea Iannone of Fimmco Speed Up snatched the victory at Mugello. Behind Iannone, however, competition was intense, and one rider who was bogged down in the pack was Gresini Racing’s Toni Elias. Leading the Moto2 Championship series by 19 points, Elias managed to retain his lead despite finishing fifth in the last round at Mugello - his worst result so far this season.
“I’m still a little bit disappointed with fifth place at Mugello,” stated Elias. “It was definitely not an easy weekend for us there and the result was positive considering the fact that we took a point more than Tomizawa. I rode a clever race, but it is still playing on my mind. It is a competitive field and it is easy to drop positions so I hope we can make it the worst result of the season - that would be perfect. We go to Silverstone with the hunger and desire to win again.”
JiR's Simone Corsi has been on an upward trend the last few rounds, taking third-place finishes at Le Mans and Mugello.
Running second in the Moto2 Championship is Technomag-CIP’s Shoya Tomizawa. After taking a victory during the season-opener at Qatar, Tomizawa has suffered recent disappointments during the last two GPs in France and Italy, where he DNF’d and finished sixth respectively.
“I am looking forward to discovering another new track,” said Tomizawa. “Silverstone will be new for everyone. We will all start from zero this weekend, so that will make the three days very interesting. As always, I will work with my crew to get the best-possible set-up, and then I will give my maximum in the race. Mugello showed how tough Moto2 can be – I was only one second behind the rider who finished in second place, but I was sixth!”
Unlike Tomizawa, JiR’s Simone Corsi has been able to make tremendous progress in the last two rounds, taking third-place finishes at Le Mans and Mugello. Currently third overall in the Championship, he heads to Britain just four points behind Tomizawa.