British GP, Weekend Preview: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
This weekend sees the MotoGP™ grid descend once again on the Silverstone circuit to fight it out for top honours at the Hertz British Grand Prix, where in the premier-class Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo will be looking to extend his 20 point lead over rival Casey Stoner.
Following a gap of 23 years, this is now the third year back at the circuit, which was the first mainland track to host a British motorcycle Grand Prix in 1949, after it was moved away from the Isle of Man TT circuit on safety grounds.
Repsol Honda Team’s Stoner enjoyed one of his most dominant victories in the wet at the track last year, yet will no doubt face a stern challenge from Lorenzo, who has won the last two races. Lorenzo, who will have the championship firmly in his sights, could also alter the history books with a win or a podium this weekend, by either equalling Stoner’s 42 wins, or securing his 50th premier-class podium.
Sitting third in the championship, Stoner’s teammate Dani Pedrosa should be buoyed by his second place in the last race at Catalunya, yet at the test following the race he voiced his discontent at the new front tyre, which will be used as standard from the British Grad Prix.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who is currently leading the chase for fourth over his teammate Cal Crutchlow, is heading into the Silverstone round after picking up his first Yamaha podium at Catalunya. This was the first podium for a satellite team since Colin Edwards achieved the same on a Tech 3 bike at the British track last year.
Crutchlow will be hoping for a huge reversal in fortunes from his home race last year, where he broke his collarbone in qualifying and subsequently missed the race. Having shown tremendous form this season so far, and having diced with Stoner at Catalunya, the Brit will be looking to challenge for his first ever GP podium in front of home support.
Ducati’s Valentino Rossi maintains that the Desmosedici is improving in the dry, yet would no doubt welcome some wet English weather to help his charge up to the front. He will once again be hotly pursued by San Carlo Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, who looks to be getting ever more comfortable on his satellite Honda. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl will no doubt prove a tough challenger however, as the rookie is also showing continual improvement in his maiden premier-class season.
Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, who struggled with a numb hand in Catalunya, will be hoping for a strong finish at the British track, and will look to fend off any challenges from Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá, who was quick in last week’s official tests.
Currently sitting in 11th in the championship, Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies is once again hoping to get his season on-track, after a costly mistake in Catalunya ended his podium challenge. He was very fast during testing on board his Yamaha, and will no doubt look to put this into practice in the UK. Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham, who is also in need of some solid results, sustained a hand injury during testing, and may be a doubt for the race.
Heading the CRT pack is the Power Electronics Aspar pair of Aleix Espargaró and Randy de Puniet, while behind them Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro will be looking to break their dominance. Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison will aim to put in a good showing in front of his home crowd, while NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards will undoubtedly be looking to rekindle some of his spirit from last year, where he achieved a podium just one week after breaking his collarbone. The CRT field is rounded out by Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci and Avintia Blusens duo Yonny Hernández and Iván Silva.
At this weekend’s Hertz British Grand Prix the Moto2™ class returns once more to continue its ever-thrilling fight for top spot in the intermediate class. After a race in Catalunya that was steeped in action and controversy, the riders will be hoping that racing is the sole agenda at the Silverstone round.
Interwetten-Paddock’s Tom Lüthi heads into the British round two points clear at the top of the table, yet is hotly pursued by Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez, who was involved in the controversial incident with Pol Espargaró last time out. Espargaró’s team, Pons 40 HP Tuenti, has since lodged an appeal with the FIM CDI against the FIM Stewards’ decision to cancel Márquez’s penalty. Their rider, currently joint third in the table, will look to recover from his crash and put in a good showing on board his Kalex machine. Both Márquez and Espargaró crashed out of last year’s race, yet Márquez did start from pole position.
Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone, who won the Catalunya race with a tremendous ride, will no doubt be looking to repeat that feat in the UK, where he has not had the best results in Moto2™, finishing no higher than 12th. He will face a stiff challenge in the shape of local rider Scott Redding on his Marc VDS Racing Team’s Kalex. Redding has had strong results at the track and enjoys racing in front of his home fans, as he proved in Donington in 2008, where he became the youngest Grand Prix winner of all time with a victory in the 125cc class.
His teammate Mika Kallio will be looking to spoil the party however and claw back some points on Redding, while Italtrans Racing Team’s Claudio Corti will aim to rekindle some of the pace he showed at Silverstone in 2010, where he recorded his sole Moto2 pole position. Espargaró’s teammate Esteve Rabat heads to the UK after a solid fourth in Catalunya, whilst JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco will aim to head further up the top ten ranking. Rounding out the top ten is Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith, who will not only look to put in a good showing in front of his home fans, but will undoubtedly be thinking back to last year, where a spectacular ride took him from 28th on the grid to second in the race. That is the Brit’s best Moto2 result to date.
The Moto2 grid also welcomes Brazilian Eric Granado from the JiR Moto2 team. At 16 years and seven days old on race day, he will be the youngest ever rider to start in the intermediate class. In addition, Italian Alessandro Andreozzi of the Andreozzi Reparto Corse team will be entering as a wild card on board his FTR machine.
The Moto3™ grid heads to Silverstone this weekend for the Hertz British Grand Prix, where once again the young riders will be looking to show who is best in the hotly contested class.
The championship is currently a two-horse race at the top between Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese and Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales. Cortese, who battled to second place last time out in Catalunya, currently has an eight point lead over Viñales, who recorded a dominant victory at his home round. While the German has been the more consistent of the two riders this season, Viñales’ winning margin in Spain will no doubt have competitors slightly worried, as he justified his ‘favourite’ tag. Last year, Silverstone was where he recorded his first ever GP pole position in the then 125cc class.
Sitting third in the championship, RW Racing GP’s Luis Salóm will look to get back onto the podium after a disappointing race in Catalunya, whilst Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati will also aim to rediscover his early-season form. Racing Team Germany’s Louis Rossi, who has recorded more points in the last two races than he did all of last season, continues to impress, and will be relishing the next challenge at the British track. Estrella Galicia 0,0’s current Spanish champion Alex Rins, who has had a good season so far, will look to make amends for his DNF last time out, and head further up the order.
AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin will once again be hunting for his first ever podium, yet will have to fend off the challenge from Bankia Aspar Team’s Alberto Moncayo and San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli. Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Miguel Oliveira, fresh from his first podium in Catalunya, will aim to find some consistency and finish at the front, to mount his challenge for more points this season.
The Silverstone round will also see two wildcard entries from Racing Steps Foundation KRP take to the track, in the form of two British riders John McPhee and Fraser Rogers.