MotoGP Silverstone Preview: Hold Onto People, They’re Slipping Away

The MotoGP circus has arrived in the UK for this weekend’s 12th round of the 2015 season. Timing couldn’t be better for the premier class of motorcycle racing, its nearing the end of the school’s summer holidays, which as everyone knows, means the weather is set to be an absolute scorcher… oh wait, sorry, scratch that. The forecast is dismal. But anyway, if it isn’t sizzling in the grandstands it certainly should be out on circuit as it’s crunch time for the three main championship contenders, Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, and Marc Marquez. 

Will Lorenzo steam roll this weekend, too?

Photo: YamahaMotoGP
Coming into the race, Lorenzo now ‘leads’ the championship despite being on equal points as team mate Valentino Rossi on account of the higher number of wins this season, while Marquez lags over 50 points behind. Sounds like he’s out of the title race, right? Wrong. Well, not quite. That’s just two DNFs for both Rossi and Lorenzo over the next six races, and Marquez will be right on their tails once more. 
But before we delve into any (probably completely wrong) predictions about what we may see occurring over the Silverstone weekend, it’d be wise to rewind to Brno and Indianapolis…
Race Reports
Indianapolis

Marc Marquez headed into the US GP (quite possibly the last at Indianapolis for a while…) with heaps of pressure on his young but vastly experienced shoulders, not least questioning whether he could retain his faultless record of straight wins in the US since racing in the premier class, but also to clinch the win in an attempt to claw back his bid for the 2015 championship victory. 
However, Jorge Lorenzo was the man to give Marquez a firm run for his money all weekend, all the way until the closing laps of the race in fact, with Marquez edging to victory by half a second ahead of his compatriot. Valentino Rossi meanwhile, having struggled throughout the weekend clinched third and crossed the line a further five seconds behind with Dani Pedrosa hot on his tail. Iannone and Smith had a titanic battle for fifth position with the Italian managing to best the Brit across the finish line.
Results from Indianapolis can be found here.
Brno
Five wins this season… in case you can’t tell…

Photo: YamahaMotoGP
As the riders crossed back to the Europe side of the pond and headed to Brno in the Czech Republic, Jorge Lorenzo emerged as the man to beat of the weekend, clinching pole position on Saturday afternoon in dominant fashion ahead of Marquez and Rossi. The Italian was obviously starting to feel the pressure championship-wise, as it was his equal best qualification of the season. 
Rossi certainly didn’t utilise his higher-than-normal starting position, falling foe to the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso and close friend Andrea Iannone right behind, allowing a holeshotting Lorenzo to clear off out front from the word ‘go’. Marquez initially followed Lorenzo with Bradley Smith chasing. 
As the race progressed, Rossi made his way past both Ducatis ‘for good’, also dispatching Smith in the process, but it was all too late victory-wise for the Doctor as Lorenzo and Marquez had both checked in their luggage online for flights home. Lorenzo took the win by over four seconds from Marquez with Rossi a further six seconds back. Iannone clinched fourth ahead of Pedrosa, team mate Dovizioso and Bradley Smith managed to hold off team mate Pol Espargaro for seventh place. 
It was a disaster day for British riders on the whole however, as both Eugene Laverty and Cal Crutchlow crashed out of the race and Scott Redding continued to struggle on the MarcVDS Honda in twelfth. 
Results from Brno can be found here.
Rider Reactions Post Brno
The man on a roll right now is definitely Lorenzo, with five victories to his name, one could argue that he’s ready to carry the momentum through all the way to Valencia: “I didn’t need to push at the end, so this was not a perfect race, because I could have been a little bit faster. I had a margin, not enough to be comfortable but enough to risk less. I pushed so much at the beginning of the race and I gave my maximum to escape from Marc, who stayed behind me for a lot of laps. I expected the race to be a little bit quicker at the beginning and to be riding 1’55,9, but with a full fuel tank, and also after the Moto2 the track seemed to have a little less grip, it was not possible. Luckily for me after a few laps I started to brake better with less fuel in the tank and enter corners faster than before. I improved my times only by one tenth of a second, but it gave me a 0,6s advantage in one lap and that went up to one second and I was able to get away little by little and win the race.”
Valentino Rossi was surprisingly upbeat despite losing out so badly to his team mate and Marquez at Brno. He’s been consistent this season, but needs to step it up: “This weekend Jorge always rode very fast, but at the same time I had hoped to be closer and that I was able to stay with Marc, because during the practices my pace was not so bad. Unfortunately I wasn’t fast and strong enough and also my rhythm was quite slow. It’s true that I had a bad start and lost time, but that was not the problem, I simply didn’t have a good enough rhythm and that’s a shame. I expected Brno to be difficult, because it had been difficult for the last few years, but I expected a better race, so we have to understand why and try to be stronger at the next races. It’s unbelievable that after eleven races Jorge and I are on the same level of points. It’s difficult, because it looks like Jorge came back very strong after the break and he is in a great shape, but we will have to keep trying.”
Captain America

Photo: Repsol Honda

Marquez, as always, is considering each race in its own right with no further championship outlook. The reigning double World Champion wasn’t overly chuffed with 2nd, not that you can particularly tell from his reaction: “Today Jorge rode a very good race. We knew we were not far off him, but we were not close enough and we tried to stick with him, at least at the beginning of the race. After six or seven laps I began to lose performance and he was able maintain his pace. That’s where the difference was made. We achieved the goal we had for today: to try and open a gap to Valentino and the others from the start so I’m happy about that. When we have difficulties, as we did this weekend, we still have to score points. I think that this second position is good.”

A walking wounded Pedrosa talks us through the battle with the Andreas: Today I did not make a perfect start, but it was not that bad. However, when I entered the first corner Hernandez went very hard up the inside and I had to pick the bike up. I was able to save it but when I leant back over, coming out of the corner, his teammate caught up and also moved me off my line, so I lost positions and a lot of time. My pace was not as good as this morning and I did not have as good a feeling with the bike due to some problems with the front. It was hard for me to recover but eventually I caught up with Dovizioso and Iannone. The Ducatis are hard to overtake – on the straight they are very fast – but I managed to pass Dovi on the final lap. It’s been a difficult weekend, even though today I could work better thanks to the physiotherapist and some medication.”
Ducati difficulties continue, just not as bad as previous years. Andrea Dovizioso was relatively pleased with his performance in Brno: “I am quite satisfied with how the race went today because before the start I didn’t have a great feeling with my GP15 and I was quite some way off the race pace. However we must find out how to improve the front because the bike does not turn the way we would like it to: this is a big handicap because I am not able to push hard, and that is what happened to me today in the race. Next week we will be testing at Misano which will surely also be useful to try and solve these problems ”

Ducati have struggled as the season’s progressed

Photo: Ducati
Iannone was equally as positive: “Today we have to be optimistic about the result because I believe I did the best I could do. It was a race in which I could have fought for the podium and so we really have to find out what happened, seeing as my engine didn’t have as much sprint as it did during the rest of the weekend. I was losing a lot on the straights and so I had to make up time by pushing too hard with the braking. In any case I am pleased to have obtained this result despite the problem, because it means that we have reached an excellent set-up on my GP15. Together with the team we have been able to improve the bike in each session and we have done an incredible job. Finally we are back to being competitive again and this gives us a lot of motivation for the next few races.”

This weekend…
What can we expect this weekend? A three-way dog fight between Lorenzo, Rossi and Marquez? Pedrosa in the mix? Ducatis getting argy-bargy too?! Oh how we wish! But no, we probably won’t. Last year we were treated to one of the races of the decade between Marquez and Lorenzo, maybe we’ll get another clash of the titans? 
It’s hard to see past the championship top three when discussing victory at Silverstone given their previous form at both the circuit and earlier this season; Marquez will be hungry once again, while Lorenzo’s currently riding a tsunami of confidence. If we thought we were any good at predicting races, we’d put our money on a Lorenzo win with Marquez less than a second behind. 
Another clash of the titans?

Photo: Repsol Honda
The factors we’re failing to count in here is just how much Rossi can pull his finger out and fight for this championship again. The Doctor has scuppered a Lorenzo run of form already this season, in Assen, after Lorenzo had clocked four wins on the bounce. Can he do it again? It’ll be a tall order given his results in the past at the British GP. Though arguably this is his first time arriving at Silverstone in a truly ‘competitive’ position. Last year was his first whack on his beloved Yamaha, but this time around he is a real championship contender and multi race winner this season too. Rossi needs to hold on, though, else that coveted 10th World title will slip away. 
The other factor we’re not considering here is the possibility rain. While we never truly trust forecasts this far in advance – as it stands, it’s not looking good. Who knows how the field will be shaken up on the slippery airfield. Don’t bother predicting ANYTHING if it’s due to rain…
Who do YOU think will take victory in Northamptonshire this weekend? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @PaddockChatter.
Tweets Of The Weekend(s)

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