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#BritishGP Teaser: Silverstone to welcome Sheene’s successor
Silverstone Circuit is the jewel in the crown of British motorsport. The former Northamptonshire airfield wasn’t tailor made for racing, but that’s undoubtedly how it seems now as time has seen the turnaround from domestic treasure to world-class circuit. The 5.9km layout is one of the fastest of the year, and it’s one of the most famous venues on the calendar. History is literally found around every corner at Silverstone, and yet the track today is one of the most spectacular and modern motorsport venues in the world.
The man who has conquered Silverstone is undoubtedly Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). The ‘Spartan’ has made the track ‘Lorenzo’s Land’ on three occasions and although he doesn’t hold the lap or the pole record, his track record at the circuit since his first win in 2010 is impressive. In 2010 as the paddock visited the venue for the first time, Lorenzo took pole, the fastest lap and the victory by over six seconds. A year later the Mallorcan reigning champion crashed out in a wet race taken by Casey Stoner, before 2012 saw Lorenzo back on top once again, with another big margin. The 2013 British GP proved the upturn in fortunes needed after Lorenzo’s collarbone-breaking adventures in Assen and Sachsenring that year, with qualifying one of the best duels for pole position in recent years between Lorenzo and Repsol Honda’s then-rookie Marquez. The lap record got left behind as the two kept dropping the laptimes, with Sunday set up to be an incredible showdown – and it didn’t disappoint, as the two dueled over the final laps and Lorenzo took the win in the final corner in the most spectacular race MotoGP™ has yet staged at Silverstone. 2014 was a similar duel but in reverse, as Marquez got the upper hand. Lorenzo will be wanting to add another win to his record tally at the track in 2016, and Marquez is sure to be the first candidate in his way.
After the Czech GP, Marquez’ championship lead has grown once again. Whilst those around him continue to suffer with either bad decisions or bad luck, the Repsol Honda rider just keeps getting it right and now stands 53 points clear at the top of the table. Although Lorenzo’s record makes him the favourite going into Silverstone, Marquez’ track record at the circuit also makes for incredible reading. He is the holder of the lap record, a 2'00.234, and is the only one on the current grid who has stopped Lorenzo in dry conditions at the circuit. A second place by a whisker as a rookie in 2013 was followed by a cleverly-overcome duel with the same rider in 2014, before 2015 saw the wet prove Marquez’ biggest rival on the day. The two races the points leader has completed at the track in MotoGP™ are enough for everyone on the grid to know exactly what Marquez will be heading to the UK to do: win.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took second place from Lorenzo in the title fight in the Czech Republic, and the Italian veteran has stated his goal for the rest of the season as simply keep winning and keep himself in the fight. Rossi is the most recent winner at Silverstone after a spectacular race in the wet in 2015, but the rider from Tavullia had previously had a more difficult time at the British track, missing the podium in 2013 before getting his first at the track in 2014 after battling with Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa. 2015 saw him win in the wet as Marquez crashed out and Lorenzo came home P4, but the 9-time champion will be hoping for more if the British GP proves to be dry.
Pedrosa, who holds the race lap record at the track, is having a difficult season as he searches for the right direction after the pre-season changes left him on the back foot. After taking the grandstand seat for the Lorenzo-Marquez 2013 Silverstone duel to lock out the podium, Pedrosa then struggled to emulate the success in 2014 as the rider from Sabadell suffered from a then-unannounced long term problem with arm pump. Slowly getting back up to speed after career-saving surgery earlier in the season, 2015 saw Pedrosa cross the line fifth in the rain. After another test day in Brno, the 3-time world champion will be hoping to start making inroads again at the front as he looks for his first win of the season – having won a race in every single year of his premier class career.
Ducati Team duo Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso will be on the charge in Silverstone. After tyre problems in Brno left the two men going from fighting for the victory to suffering with the fronts, Dovizioso was forced to retire as Iannone saw himself plummet more than seven places in as many laps. Memories of Austria and their historic 1-2 remain fresh however, with the Desmosedici the most recent MotoGP™ winner in the dry – and another fast track on the horizon in the British GP.
After Cal Crutchlow’s (LCR Honda) first British win in 35 years in Brno, home spirits will be high ahead of Silverstone as the Brit returns home a winner for the first time in his MotoGP™ career. Although Cal has a difficult record at the track, confidence will now be high after his first GP win and that could prove a big difference in front of the home crowd. Compatriot Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) will also be eager to race in front of the home fans, after a stunning ride in the early parts of the Czech GP before a tyre problem forced him down through the order. Redding, who took a Moto2™ podium at the track in 2012 before going one better a year later to take a commanding win, also had a fantastic race in 2015 in the wet as he proved the top home finisher – just behind the incredible pedigree of Lorenzo and Pedrosa. Redding seems to thrive on the home pressure, and will be pushing his Ducati to the limit around the three-and-a-half mile track.
Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will sadly not be out for home glory, with a leg injury suffered during a practice session for the Oschersleben 8H endurance race ruling him out for his home GP. PATA Yamaha Official WorldSBK rider Alex Lowes will replace Smith for Silverstone and Misano - having recently tested the Tech 3 machine at the post-Brno test as a reward for his part in Yamaha's 2016 win in the Suzuka 8H.
There are 7 races to go and Marquez is 53 points clear. For the next round, all that remains to be seen is who the next in line is to take the challenge to the 2013 and 2014 world champion – Lorenzo? The weather? Or something else entirely?
The #BritishGP sees FP1 begin at 9:00 local time (GMT+1) on Friday 2nd September as Moto3™ head out on track, with the lights going out for the MotoGP™ race at 15:30 on Sunday 4th September.
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