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MotoGP Round 12 Recap: English Summer Rain Seems To Last For Ages

The rain proved a double-edged sword today - fans were drenched, but the racing was top drawer.

Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

Saturday Qualifying


Danny Kent couldn't take pole for his home grand prix, having to settle for third behind Karel Hanika and polesitter Jorge Navarro. Enea Bastianini could only qualify seventh, behind Efren Vasquez, Isaac Viñales (doing amazing things with the RBA bike after replacing the sacked Niklas Ajo) and Alexis Masbou. Masbou's team mate John McPhee started from 12th, two places ahead of the resurgent Maria Herrera.


Sam Lowes did what Kent couldn't, taking pole on his Speed Up ahead of Alex Rins and Johann Zarco. Tito Rabat started from fourth, joined by Tom Luthi and Takaaki Nakagami on row two. Xavier Simeon struggled in qualifying and could only finish 21st.


Marc Marquez took the GP pole, a quarter of a second faster than Jorge Lorenzo in second. Dani Pedrosa rounded out the front row, with Valentino Rossi starting from fourth - joined on row two by Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith. Scott Redding and Cal Crutchlow started seventh and eighth respectively. Aleix Espargaro and Yonny Hernandez were the two riders to make it through from Q1, starting 10th and 11th respectively.

Sunday Race Day

In a change to the norm, we started with Moto2 on a wet English summer morning.

Prior to the racing, Pramac announced that Scott Redding would be joining the team from 2016 (link in Italian, needs translating).


The Moto2 race was declared wet, but unlike at Indy, there seemed no chance of conditions changing mid-race.

Lowes made a great start from pole, but Rabat powered through to take the lead, Zarco following him in second. Jonas Folger and Rins also made it past Lowes to leave him fifth by turn two. Luthi later took fifth before the end of lap one, leaving the polesitter sixth. Rabat was away though, holding a margin of 1.3 seconds after two laps, losing it about half a lap later with Zarco taking the lead until he ran wide.

This put Rins into the lead until he ran wide too, Rabat taking the lead again. Alex Marquez moved up to fourth, while Rins retook the lead from Rabat. Rins then started to gap the field, with Marquez and Rabat taking chunks out of each other fighting for second, with Zarco then becoming interested in third and a battle with the defending champion. This was within the first four laps.

On lap seven, a few backrunners decided to gamble on the slightly drying track, but nobody at the front was willing to risk it. Rins led from Zarco, Marquez in third ahead of Rabat, with Luthi and Folger chasing them closely behind. Lowes moved back up to seventh after being as low as tenth. Azlan Shah retired after a crash. Zarco slipstreamed Rins into the lead soon after. Rabat went past his team mate Marquez into third, then taking second from Rins. Zarco was away though, three seconds up on Rabat.

With seven laps left, the slick tyres were coming to fruition. Florian Alt, one of the gamblers, set the fastest lap of the race, but the wet tyre was still holding up - except for Tito Rabat's rear. Rins took second with Rabat struggling for grip, as Simone Corsi crashed out. Lowes took sixth from Luthi as the Swiss rider continued to go backwards, Anthony West showing signs of life by taking seventh. Ricky Cardus was also involved, hanging onto the back of that group. Rabat and Marquez both ran wide, allowing the other to take the place, on sequential corners.

It was easy for Zarco, though, managing his tyres and his times to take another win. Rins was comfortable in second, Rabat claiming third ahead of Marquez and Folger. Lowes saved his race, finishing sixth but extremely unhappy with his performance. Good points finishes for West and Cardus, and Marcel Schrotter also taking a few points.

Moto2 Classification
# Rider Team Time Pts
1 Johann Zarco Ajo 42:53.674 25
2 Alex Rins Paginas Amarillas HP40 +3.360 20
3 Tito Rabat Estrella Galicia Marc VDS +5.527 16
4 Alex Marquez Estrella Galicia Marc VDS +6.489 13
5 Jonas Folger AGR +8.228 11
6 Sam Lowes Speed Up +28.261 10
7 Anthony West QMMF +33.902 9
8 Sandro Cortese Dynavolt Intact +33.939 8
9 Thomas Luthi Derendinger +34.889 7
10 Ricard Cardus JPMoto Malaysia +35.084 6
11 Marcel Schrotter Tech 3 +38.814 5
12 Randy Krummenacher JIR +39.190 4
13 Dominique Aegerter Technomag +47.780 3
14 Takaaki Nakagami IDEMITSU +57.103 2
15 Axel Pons AGR +1:00.071 1

Tito Rabat's Post-Race Tyre - pic from @MotoGP

Tito Rabat's Post-Race Tyre - pic from @MotoGP


The race seemed to be starting dry, with a little bit of rain on one section of the track not enough to warrant wet tyres. That said, with the flag-to-flag status of GP, and having two bikes to be able to have a wet and a dry setup, it's less of an issue. The rain fell somewhat harder on the sighting lap, though. The dry line the Moto2 field seemed to create disappeared in the space of ten minutes.

Early drama in the pits, as Jorge Lorenzo's backup bike had dry tyres on it. Everyone came in to get on the other bike, and the mass chaos created forced the start to be aborted.

On the restart, Lorenzo made a great start to take the lead. Pol moved up to third ahead of Rossi, Smith and Pedrosa trading fifth. Yonny Hernandez crashed at turn one. Marquez was overtaken by Pol and Rossi, the Doctor taking second briefly before Marquez snuck underneath both of them to reclaim second. Jack Miller had a great first lap, up to eighth and battling with Crutchlow for seventh. Rossi took second at the start of lap two, with both he and Marquez trying to keep tabs on Lorenzo. Both LCRs went past Smith, pushing the Tech 3 man down to eighth. Redding's good qualifying was quickly lost, down to 14th from 7th.

Rossi took the lead late on lap two, receiving a huge response from the crowd. Marquez followed him through into second, pushing Lorenzo down to third. Crutchlow and Miller traded fifth, with Pedrosa down to seventh. The LCRs were relentless, Crutchlow ahead of Lorenzo at one point before Miller went in too hard and cleared his team mate out. Crutchlow managed to get back on the track, but Miller had to retire.

At the front, Rossi and Marquez had gapped the field, with the Spaniard keeping the old master honest. Pol went off-track, dropping down to ninth. Somehow, Danilo Petrucci found himself fifth, ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Smith. Crutchlow, having swapped bikes in the pits, dropped his bike again. Lorenzo was riding slowly, holding up those behind him - mostly Dani Pedrosa.

A couple of laps later, Pedrosa seemed to have lost his momentum, with Petrucci and Dovizioso going past him and onto Lorenzo. Petrucci was riding very well, good value for fourth, although he nearly lost it as he ran too hot into Maggots and nearly wiped Lorenzo out. He cleanly took third later on though, with Dovizioso also going past Lorenzo, forcing the co-championship leader down to fifth, which became sixth when Pedrosa went past. Pol and Smith exchanged seventh, with Aleix Espargaro looking keen in ninth. Redding sat tenth, ahead of Andrea Iannone. Both Aprilias were in the points, Nicky Hayden in 13th being sandwiched by Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl.

At half way, Marquez was on Rossi, looking eager and ready to pounce. Dovi was keeping Petrucci honest, while Hayden took 12th just before Dovi took third. Maverick Viñales was a lowly 15th, after losing out while trying to avoid Hernandez's crash at turn one.

Suddenly, drama! Marquez lost the back end going into turn one, dropping the bike and leaving the race.

That was Vale clear, 6.5 seconds ahead of Dovizioso and Petrucci. Bradl also crashed out from a points position.

Petrucci wasn't done though. He made a great move inside Dovi to take second, Dovi running wide while trying to take the place back. Pedrosa was also looking quick, and the whole group was catching Rossi. Pol became another victim of Maggots, dropping from sixth. Smith took that place, with Redding and Iannone behind him. At the front, Petrucci had close the gap to Rossi, now just 2.4 seconds behind him. Redding went past Smith for sixth.

With four laps left, the gap was down to 1.8. Petrucci was riding out of his skin, keeping Dovi at bay and closing on the GOAT. Lorenzo took fourth from Pedrosa, trying to limit the damage to his title bid. Petrucci had left Dovi in his trail with two laps left. Karel Abraham crashed out, increasing the pain in his already injured foot. Petrucci looked to have settled for second, with Rossi managing to sneak an extra second's advantage.

In truth, the Doctor was his old self. Always a master in the rain, he took the flag and a big race win. Petrucci rounded off a truly great race with second ahead of the factory Ducati of Dovi in third. Lorenzo was fourth ahead of Pedrosa, with Redding leading Smith in sixth. Bautista took advantage of the fallers with a superb 10th, Hayden looking like his old self in 12th, and Mike Di Meglio and Alex De Angelis picking up the last two points positions with good rides in 14th and 15th. Great race.

MotoGP Classification
# Rider Team Time Pts
1 Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha 46:15.617 25
2 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati +3.010 20
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati +4.117 16
4 Jorge Lorenzo Movistar Yamaha +5.726 13
5 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda +11.132 11
6 Scott Redding Estrella Galicia Marc VDS +25.467 10
7 Bradley Smith Tech 3 Yamaha +26.717 9
8 Andrea Iannone Ducati +29.393 8
9 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki Ecstar +38.815 7
10 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia Gresini +41.712 6
11 Maverick Viñales Suzuki Ecstar +44.776 5
12 Nicky Hayden Aspar Honda +52.489 4
13 Hector Barbera Avintia Ducati +1:11.211 3
14 Mike Di Meglio Avintia Ducati +1:15.292 2
15 Alex De Angelis E-motion Ioda Racing +1:17.863 1


The rain continued to fall for Moto3, looking worse than the conditions for GP. This is going to be tasty.

A great start from Navarro and Viñales, but Karel Hanika took the lead briefly before both Navarro and Hanika crashed at Maggots, leaving the previously-sacked Isaac Viñales in the lead ahead of Kent. Romano Fenati took third before losing it to Jakub Kornfeil, with Maria Herrera making a great start in sixth, losing it to Jorge Martin halfway round, Martin then taking fourth from Fenati. Brad Binder took seventh from Masbou, with Enea Bastianini in ninth before Martin fell victim to Maggots. Binder became another victim a lap later.

At the front, Viñales looked strong, with Kent in tow. Kornfeil was a comfortable third, with Herrera and Fenati trading fourth. Fabio Quartararo sat seventh, with Andrea Locatelli, Francesco Bagnaia and Niccolo Antonelli behind. Bastianini was down in 11th, ahead of Darryn Binder, John McPhee, Juanfran Guevara and Vasquez sat in 15th.

Another drama with a leader falling, Viñales dropping from first again at Maggots. This set Kent away at the front. Fenati managed to gap Herrera and settle into third, with Locatelli closing up to Herrera and Antonelli moving past Quartararo and Bagnaia. Herrera sadly lost the bike with twelve laps left after a strong early showing.

Bikes were falling all over. Hanika crashed for a second time, Martin had another off. Ana Carrasco retired with 10 laps left, still suffering from her rotator cuff surgery. At the front, though, Kent was well away. Locatelli and Antonelli were keeping each other entertained in the battle for fourth. McPhee followed Bastianini through to ninth. Fenati lost the front end at half distance at turn 7, managing to get the bike going again. Brad Binder crashed again.

Stefano Manzi crashed out after taking ninth from McPhee, with Livio Loi catching Bastianini. Antonelli had managed to gap Locatelli but was soon being chased down by Bagnaia. Martin had his third crash of the afternoon, putting Zulfahmi Khairuddin into the points. Kent was 10 seconds ahead of Kornfeil, who was slowly being caught by Antonellli and Bagnaia, the two exchanging third, albeit in a very clean manner. Kent very very nearly lost the bike with three to go, just managing to stay on. To be honest, it was the most dramatic part of his race thus far.

The real battle was between Bagnaia and Antonelli for third, with Bagnaia taking the place with two laps left, but the racewinner in Brno took the place back at Stowe, and Bagnaia crashing out shortly afterwards. Bastianini then threw his title challenge up the road, dropping from sixth.

In the end, it all looked too easy for Kent, taking the flag at his home grand prix, breaking another record in becoming the first British lightweight class winner at Silverstone. Kornfeil got a great second place, with Antonelli coming home third after his battle with Bagnaia. Quartararo took advantage of the fallers to come fourth, with another superb wet showing from Loi to take fifth, McPhee following to take a strong sixth place. The two wildcard riders, Luke Hedger and Taz Taylor both completed the race, finishing 18th and 19th.

Moto3 Classification
# Rider Team Time Pts
1 Danny Kent Leopard Honda 44:13.623 25
2 Jakub Kornfeil Drive M7 SIC +8.492 20
3 Niccolo Antonelli Ongetta-Rivacold +13.189 16
4 Fabio Quartararo Estrella Galicia +50.018 13
5 Livio Loi RW Racing +51.755 11
6 John McPhee Saxoprint RTG +53.726 10
7 Juanfran Guevara Mapfre Mahindra +1:01.086 9
8 Lorenzo Dalla Porta Husqvarna +1:06.158 8
9 Efren Vasquez Leopard Honda +1:08.634 7
10 Tatsuki Suzuki CIP +1:13.589 6
11 Alexis Masbou Saxoprint RTG +1:18.961 5
12 Romano Fenati Sky VR46 KTM +1:27.462 4
13 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM +1:31.210 3
14 Zulfahmi Khairuddin Drive M7 SIC +1:37.523 2
15 Andrea Migno Sky VR46 KTM +1:38.004 1



That win, coupled with Bastianini's tumble, couldn't have come at a better time for Kent, as he extends his lead to a whopping 70 points. That's two wins and a second ahead of Bastianini now, and stops the Italian's momentum dead in its tracks. Antonelli's third sees him close up to the top five, now just four points behind Oliveira.

Moto3 Championship Top 5
# Rider Team Ov. Pts Pts Today
1 Danny Kent Leopard Honda 224 25
2 Enea Bastianini Gresini Honda 154 0
3 Romano Fenati Sky VR46 KTM 126 4
4 Efren Vasquez Leopard Honda 116 7
5 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM 114 3


Zarco extends his lead to a whopping 85 points. There's surely no stopping him now, especially as the other's don't seem to have an answer for him. Rins retakes second from Rabat, while Lowes holds fourth by himself now, three points ahead of Luthi.

Moto2 Championship Top 5
# Rider Team Ov. Pts Pts Today
1 Johann Zarco Ajo 249 25
2 Alex Rins Paginas Amarillas HP40 164 20
3 Tito Rabat Estrella Galicia Marc VDS 161 16
4 Sam Lowes
Speed Up
128 10
5 Thomas Luthi Derendinger 125 7


Advantage Rossi. He now holds a twelve point lead with six races remaining. It could have been worse for Lorenzo, but after suffering from a foggy helmet, he's lucky he managed 13 points. Dovi leapfrogs Smith back into fifth after his return to form.

MotoGP Championship Top 5
# Rider Team Ov. Pts Pts Today
1 Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha 236 25
2 Jorge Lorenzo Movistar Yamaha 224 13
3 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda 159 0
4 Andrea Iannone Ducati 150 8
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 120 16

Ride Of The Day

Danny Kent had a mature, sensible, quality ride to take Moto3, I've run out of superlatives for Johann Zarco, and Valentino did as Valentino does. How could this go to any other guy today though?

Next Time Out

Misano calls, with the San Marino grand prix bound to be an emotional affair. That's in two weeks' time.