Jorge Lorenzo ended his four race victory drought in sensational style with a dramatic win at Silverstone, passing Marc Marquez at the very last corner of the British Grand Prix. The pair ran nose-to-tail throughout a thrilling race but that doesn’t come close to telling the story of a Marquez’s day which was in danger of ending early at one point.
The concerning moment for Repsol Honda came fifteen minutes into morning warm-up as Cal Crutchlow hit the floor for the third time this weekend. The home favourite was ok as he trudged away but his exit was hurried by an alert marshal who saw Marquez’s out of control Honda hurtling towards them. No-one was hit by the motorcycle but Marquez had dislocated his left shoulder in the process of crashing, putting his status for the race in some doubt. However, after treatment which included his shoulder being ‘popped back in’, the championship leader arrived on the grid three hours later to take up his pole position.
Although Marquez, injured shoulder and all, made a reasonable start, he was powerless to prevent a hungry Lorenzo powering past into Copse and it wasn’t just his Yamaha that got off to a flyer. Valentino Rossi made inroads from his sixth place start to claim third ahead of Stefan Bradl, Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow and Alvaro Bautista while Bradley Smith also gained ground, passing the Ducatis of Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden.
While the top two disappeared to have their own private battle at the front, Pedrosa was playing catch-up and he knew it. With Bradl passing Rossi for third at Stowe, the no.46 was Dani’s first target and the Spaniard charged through at Copse on lap two. It took him another two laps to overhaul Bradl but once he did so, Dani was the fastest man on track and dragged himself onto the tail of his teammate by lap six.
Marquez’s attention continued to be on the bike in front and after following for lap after lap, the youngster showed his first sign of impatience on lap thirteen, having a look into Stowe. That effort proved unsuccessful but a late dive into Brooklands on lap eighteen had the desired effect, switching Lorenzo into the role of chaser for the first time all afternoon.
With his grip on the world title looking more and more precarious, Jorge had to strike back and as soon as they arrived into Vale, the reigning champion dived back through into the lead. Marc wasn’t giving in either, showing no signs of the fatigue one might expect given his injury, and as they hit the brakes for Brooklands two corners from home, he sent a last-ditch move up the inside of the Yamaha. It seemed to have worked but the move put him off-line for Luffield and Lorenzo capitalised, barging through the small gap that had been left and outdragging the Honda to the line, winning by 0.081s.
Pedrosa’s challenge petered out in the end, leaving him third, but the fight for fourth would be alive right the way to the finish. With Stefan Bradl slipping to sixth, it was left to Alvaro Bautista to uphold Honda honours against Valentino Rossi but halfway around the final lap, the Italian snatched fourth for the third weekend running.
Bradl finished six seconds clear of a battered and bruised Cal Crutchlow in seventh while Bradley Smith was forced to give best in his battle with the factory Ducatis. A crash for Andrea Dovizioso at Farm promoted him up a place but Nicky Hayden would eventually edge him out of eighth by a tenth of a second. Smith had to make do with ninth in the end with Aleix Espargaro another man to ride through the pain barrier on his way to tenth.