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MotoGP: 2010 Silverstone Results
Lorenzo dominates in Britain, but the Yanks come through
One of the unique aspects of MotoGP racing is that while one rider can run away from the field, the ensuing battle for second and third places can be riveting, heart-stopping and awe-inspiring. On Sunday, the bright and shiny newly-refurbished Silverstone circuit hosted a memorable British Grand Prix won easily by Fiat Yamaha’s alpha male Jorge Lorenzo. But Repsol Honda sophomore Andrea Dovizioso had to feel great about finishing second, and American rookie Ben Spies, now headlining the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, put on a last-lap exhibition of skill and stones to secure his first premier class podium.
It was déjà vu all over again today as American Nicky Hayden, riding the factory Ducati, was relegated to bridesmaid status, finishing fourth for the fourth time this year and once again missing out on his first 2010 podium by fractions of a second. Hayden was sitting in third position today, half a lap from the finish line, when Spies, who had started the day in the seven hole, blew by him, this only moments after Hayden himself had gone through on Randy de Puniet. LCR Honda’s de Puniet, who had qualified in the front row and spent all day in the top three (he’d finished third at Donington in his best result of 2009) couldn’t hold off the two Americans in the final lap. I’m not even going to mention how, for the fifth time in five races this season, de Puniet failed to finish higher than he qualified.
Spies, having been anointed Rookie of the Year before the season ever started, showed today that he indeed has something the other rookies lack. Although he is a stranger to a number of the circuits in the MotoGP universe, he now sits in seventh place in the championship standings, in front of the likes of veterans Casey Stoner, Marco Melandri and teammate Colin Edwards. He heads into Assen next week to a track with which he’s very familiar, and can be expected to push his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha to another top five finish. Had Spies not bailed out at Jerez and crashed at Le Mans, he could be in the thick of the Top Four conversation. The future’s so bright he needs those Oakley shades.
Elsewhere on the Grid
The rider with perhaps the most puzzling race today was Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner. After his worst ever MotoGP qualifying run in sixth, Stoner started the race looking like he was stuck in the mud and finished Lap 1 in 12th position. (He could easily have been farther behind if it weren’t for Rossi’s absence, Hiroshi Aoyama having been unable to go after injuring his back in practice, and Marco Melandri having already gone low-side on his San Carlo Honda earlier in the lap.) By Lap 5 Stoner had moved up to eighth place; on Lap 14 he stole two more spots, to sixth. On Lap 18 he, too, passed de Puniet into fifth place and was suddenly breathing down the necks of Spies and Hayden.
The two Ducati riders and Spies proceeded to slug it out over the last lap and a half with Spies, somehow, prevailing against the double-team. A normal start to today’s race would have landed Stoner on the podium, an encouraging sign going forward for 2010’s underachieving Australian.
Marco Simoncelli took another step forward in his rookie season, starting ninth, finishing seventh, and remaining in the top ten for the season. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, fresh off his dominating performance at Mugello, started well today and even led briefly, but once again faded, ending up in eighth place after starting in the front row. No telling how he’ll do in his season-long do-si-do with teammate Dovizioso next week at Assen, as both crashed out last year, but it is his turn. The rest of the field finished pretty much where they started, with the exception of Loris Capirossi, who crashed out again today and has a grand total of 13 points to show for his season thus far.
The 2010 Championship, After Five Rounds
Clearly, it’s Lorenzo’s title to lose this year. Today marked his first pole, his third win, and his fifth podium of the season. He’s racing better now with Rossi watching on TV, as all he needs to do in each race is compete – no more losing focus grinding his teeth over Vale. Going forward, Repsol Honda figures to have at least one rider on the podium in each race, although there’s no telling which one. I expect Ducati Marlboro to place a rider on the podium at Assen, especially if Stoner can get his start straightened out; Hayden is WAY overdue for a podium this season. Ben Spies and Randy de Puniet round out the upper division of the premier class. For now.
|MotoGP Championship Standings After 5 Rounds|
|1||Jorge Lorenzo||Fiat Yamaha||115|
|2||Andrea Dovizioso||Repsol Honda||78|
|3||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||73|
|4||Valentino Rossi||Fiat Yamaha||61|
|5||Nicky Hayden||Ducati Marlboro||52|
|6||Randy De Puniet||LCR Honda||46|
|7||Ben Spies||Tech 3 Yamaha||36|
|8||Casey Stoner||Ducati Marlboro||35|
|9||Marco Melandri||San Carlo Gresini Honda||32|
|10||Marco Simoncelli||San Carlo Gresini Honda||32|
|11||Colin Edwards||Tech 3 Yamaha||26|
|12||Hector Barbera||Aspar Ducati||24|
|13||Aleix Espargaro||Pramac Ducati||22|
|14||Hiroshi Aoyama||Interwetten Honda||18|
|15||Mika Kallio||Pramac Ducati||15|
|16||Loris Capirossi||Rizla Suzuki||13|
|17||Alvaro Bautista||Rizla Suzuki||12|
For Dorna and FIM, there is reason to be concerned about the attrition in the big bikes. They started the season with 17 riders, one fewer than their previously stated minimum. Losing Rossi took them down to 16. Hiroshi Aoyama’s rough high-side on Saturday, in which he injured a vertebra, may take them down to 15 for Assen, unless his team comes up with a designated driver in, like, no time at all. Discounting the Rizla Suzuki pair of Loris Capirossi and Alvaro Bautista, each of whom is a threat to finish last (if at all) every round, and you’re left with 13 competitive entries each week. And at that, you’re applying the term “competitive” to the Pramac Racing team of Espargaro and Kallio, stretching the meaning of the word to the breaking point. Too bad the rule changes in place for the 2012 season can’t be put into effect for next year.
Moto2 Puts On Another Great Show
The hypercompetitive 40 bike Moto2 division continued its remarkable inaugural season in England as Frenchman Jules Cluzel won his first championship race ever, eking out a .057 second victory over Thomas Luthi, with Spaniard Julian Simon filling out the podium. Cluzel passed Luthi on the race’s last lap for the win, while both Luthi and Simon enjoyed their second podiums of the season. Meanwhile, my boy Alex de Angelis crashed out in practice again on Saturday and was unable to start today, leaving him mired in 24th position with five points for the year.
While the premier class sees its standings shuffled each week due to the paucity of riders, Moto2 standings are relatively unaffected by the variety of names on the podium; it’s not just the usual suspects week in and week out. If you want to try to make sense of that last sentence, compare the top ten finishers in today’s race with the top ten riders in the overall 2010 championship series.
|Moto2 Silverstone Results|
|7||Mike Di Meglio||Suter|
|Moto2 Championship Standings After 5 Rounds|
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