A red flag on Lap 1 lead to a 19-lap race on Sunday in the British midlands. For the first time since 2007, a Suzuki won a premier class race, Maverick Vinales ending his day standing on the top step of the podium. He was joined there by Cal Crutchlow, who kept another streak alive, and a desperate Valentino Rossi, who fought Marc Marquez tooth and nail for the final podium spot. Despite this, Marquez leaves Britain leading the season by 50 points, having gotten some angry juju out of his system.

Vinales got out front early in both starts, and led wire to wire in the race that counted. Cool weather, dry track and a friendly layout led to the seventh different winner in the last seven races, a clear sign that Carmelo Ezpeleta’s diabolical scheme to have a 21-bike tie for first in Valencia in 2018 is working. No question that it’s better than the same four guys each time out.

Maverick Vinales became the seventh different winner in as many races. The last time that happened in the premier class was when Alex Criville, Regis Laconi, Tadayuki Okada, Max Biaggi, Norick Abe and Kenny Roberts, Jr., closed out the 1999 season with wins before Garry McCoy won the season opener in 2000.

Plenty went on behind Vinales. An all-day joust for second place evolved featuring Rossi, Crutchlow and Marquez, with Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa in supporting roles. Crutchlow, on the heels of his surprising win in Brno last time out, finished a very competent and aggressive second, thereby keeping the record of no Brit having ever won the British Grand Prix intact for another year at least. If there was any such thing as a moral victory in MotoGP, today’s award would surely go to Crutchlow.

The most entertaining rider of the day was, of course, Marquez, who enjoys competing with Valentino Rossi. The two spent a good part of the day together grinding their teeth before Marquez tried to put an extraterrestrial move on the Italian at Lap 18 and ended up running off (for the second time) and losing two spots. Those two or three laps, with Rossi fighting for his life and Marquez seeing red, were as good as it gets. In the context of the rivalry, it was Rossi and Stoner 2008 Redux, the intensity off the chart. But, Marquez is the future, Rossi the past.

Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi had another entertaining battle, with the veteran getting the advantage. This time.

Rossi’s best efforts today resulted in getting briefly punked by Marquez on Lap 17 and failing to make a meaningful dent in the Catalan’s daunting championship lead. At a track he, Rossi, loves. With Jorge Lorenzo fighting to remain relevant, crossing the line in eighth place. There is no joy in the Movistar Yamaha digs tonight.

Silverstone failed to mark, at the 2/3rds pole, an inflection point for the 2016 season, in either direction. Marquez could have left leading by a number approaching 60 or 70 but failed to close the deal. He could have crashed out, lizard brain in control, and watched his challengers halve his lead. Though he surrendered a podium in today’s race, it didn’t really hurt him. He took on all comers – Crutchlow, Rossi (epic), and Pedrosa, who, finishing fifth, gave us a glimpse into our recent past. The Ducatis should have loved this track, but Iannone lost his marbles, a wounded Andrea Dovizioso could manage only sixth, and the remaining combatants were shut out of the top ten.

Q2 Worth the Price of Admission: Notes

Marc Marquez crashed in a wet qualifying session and started the race fifth on the grid.
  • Marquez got bumped off the front row late by Vinales, crashing immediately, unhurt. Afterwards, he stood in the infield during the last two minutes and watched himself fade from second to fifth on the hellascreen.
  • Crutchlow chose his opening perfectly, laid down the untouchable lap. Could be the “one fast lap” phenomenon practiced by Marco Simoncelli at times and perfected by Randy de Puniet who, by actual tally, finished every race of the 2011 season in a lower spot than where he started.
  • Rossi finds a way to the middle of the first row. Amazing. Lorenzo was there for a moment before falling, suddenly and late, to the nine hole, foiled again.
  • There was a Dani Pedrosa sighting as he, too, occupied the two hole on the grid for an instant before claiming fourth. Not a bad lap for the veteran.
  • Dovizioso hurt again late in practice.
  • Notable – Eugene Laverty, chasing his first career premier class pole at the end of the session, crashes out very late. Excitable young man. Watch out WSBK.
  • Alex Lowes looking great thus far on the Tech 3 Yamaha, subbing in for the wounded Bradley Smith.
Maverick Vinales denied Cal Crutchlow from another win, extending the winless streak for British riders in their home race.

On Saturday night, it looked like Sunday was going to be dry. Excuse me for the déjà vu, of covering my very first MotoGP race in Laguna in 2008 when Rossi put it to Stoner in the Corkscrew and I thought, having watched it on cable TV (knowing nothing about it), that it seemed pretty cool. Vinales denying Crutchlow an important win and applying a facial to the rest of the field felt like deferred gratification rewarded. We knew the 21-year-old Spaniard would start winning races sooner than later. Happy he gave the win to Suzuki; it’s not as touching when it’s the factory Yamaha in Parc Fermé. His Alien card is stamped and waiting.

Sidebar: Jorge Lorenzo leaves Yamaha for Ducati on a pronounced downturn, winless since Mugello. Vinales leaves Suzuki for Yamaha on a definite upturn, great expectations intact. The Great Ducati Jinx continues.

After scoring five podiums in the first six rounds, Jorge Lorenzo has only appeared on the rostrum once in the next six.

Re-Tranching the Premier Class

Tranche One: Marc Marquez

Tranche Two: Rossi, Lorenzo, Vinales, Pedrosa and Dovizioso

Tranche Three: Iannone, Crutchlow, Pol Espargaro, Barbera and Laverty

Tranche Four: Aleix Espargaro, Redding, Petrucci, Miller, and Smith

Tranche Five: Bautista, Bradl, Rabat, Baz, Pirro*, Hernandez and Lowes*

Though Silverstone was a bit of a disappointment, Marc Marquez remains the top dog.

The Big Picture

The above standings constitute The Big Picture. Marquez is in a class by himself this season; the championship is probably over already; we just haven’t heard the echo. I may be being generous with Pedrosa and Dovizioso and mean to Iannone and Crutchlow. Don’t care, it’s my column. Plus it gets a lot of readers off their bums logging into their Disqus accounts. My last line of defense: Scoreboard.

Lorenzo could fall out of Tranche Two if he doesn’t get his act together soon.

Maverick Vinales won his first career MotoGP race, but it likely won’t be his last.

What we learned today in Britain: Vinales has finally arrived. No more excuses, no more feeling sorry. He is a legitimate threat in the right (dry, cool) conditions. Crutchlow, had he not laid waste to the first half of his season, could be in contention for a top four finish this year. I under-tranche him just for sport. Rossi may be showing his age slightly, while Lorenzo looks lost out there, capable of going slowly in both wet and dry conditions. The Dueling Andreas may be part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Dani Pedrosa is still fast. Scott Reading still has plenty to learn. Loris Baz and Pol Espargaro are lucky to have only been injured during their close encounter on the first lap. Seeing riders laid out on the tarmac is a vision I never want to see again.

Loris Baz was knocked out in the first lap crash but regained consciousness as he was being loaded into an ambulance. He was lucky to escape with just a sprained ankle. Pol Espargaro, who was also involved in the crash, was not seriously injured.

Over at Moto2

Tom Luthi, somehow, won the Moto2 tilt; homeboy Sam Lowes got worked and dumped by Johann Zarco, who had 30 naughty seconds added to his time – ride-through equivalent – in addition to having possibly ruined Lowes’ season. The penalty makes things easier for wounded Alex Rins, who now trails Zarco by only 10 points. A great year continues in Moto2.

Johann Zarco was docked a 30-second penalty for taking out rival Sam Lowes.

Looking Ahead

Only one week to Misano, Round 13. This is the venue I want my masters at MO to send me to for next year’s race. Mountains, The Adriatic Riviera, beautiful women, high octane gasoline, and an expense account. It just doesn’t get any better.

Barry Sheene was honored at Silverstone with a parade lap featuring such names as Kenny Roberts, Mick Doohan, Wayne Gardner, Graeme Crosby, Paul Smart, Wil Hartog, Steve Baker and Colin Edwards.
2016 MotoGP Silverstone Results
Pos. Rider Team Time
1 Maverick Vinales Suzuki Ecstar
2 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda +3.480
3 Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha +4.063
4 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda +5.992
5 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda +6.381
6 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Corse +12.303
7 Aleix Espargaro Suzuki Ecstar +16.672
8 Jorge Lorenzo Movistar Yamaha +19.432
9 Danilo Petrucci Octo Pramac Yaknich Ducati +25.618
10 Alvaro Bautista Aprilia Gresini +32.084
11 Yonny Hernandez Aspar Ducati +36.131
12 Eugene Laverty Aspar Ducati +39.130
13 Alex Lowes Monster Yamaha Tech3 +40.143
14 Hector Barbera Avintia Racing +41.356
15 Tito Rabat Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +41.943
16 Jack Miller Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +47.610
17 Scott Redding Octo Pramac Yaknich Ducati +1:56.177
Not Classified
DNF Andrea Iannone Ducati Corse 6 Laps
DNF Stefan Bradl Aprilia Gresini 17 Laps
DNS Loris Baz Avintia Ducati 0 Laps
DNS Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech3 0 Laps
2016 MotoGP Top Ten Standings After 12 Rounds
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1 Marc Marquez Honda 210
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 160
3 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 146
4 Maverick Vinales Suzuki 125
5 Dani Pedrosa Honda 120
6 Andrea Iannone Ducati 96
7 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 89
8 Cal Crutchlow Honda 86
9 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 81
10 Hector Barbera Ducati 78
  • Shlomi

    Not sure that on the first time when Marquez was off track, he should be able to return back right after Rossi. After all he cut the entire section. He should have wait for the second leading group to pass. Marquez is very very lucky, he fell in practice during the last two rounds without injury, and today ran off track very deep twice! He is very lucky this happened over Silverstone and not Laguna Seca…If you go off track that deep over Lagina, you are probably leaving the track via Helicopter directly to Monterey ER.

    • Ozzy Mick

      I THINK the rules allowed Marquez to rejoin the race, as long as he rejoined in the same posi, i.e. no advantage.

      • Bruce Allen

        I think Schlomi wants the rule changed, at least for Marquez. :)

        • Ozzy Mick

          Aha…haha. Is that true Shlomi?

          • Shlomi

            Well watch it again, he pretty much skipped the entire turn. Why he should have the privilege to only loose one spot when all other riders are separated by less than a second, and he has done it twice in one race! He certainly above the rules of MotoGP, including his aggressive moves which involves body and machine contacts. I think he needs another lesson for 2016….

          • spiff

            Rossi has a point not liking the rule. I would say you miss the turn you can’t advance position, and are docked one to two seconds at the flag.

          • Bruce Allen

            I go for that one second idea, too. They’ll never do it. Marquez rules.

          • Gruf Rude

            A penalty would have ruined Rossi’s sublime moment in the corkscrew at Laguna Seca. Generally, off-track excursions end in tears and are more than self-penalizing. Leave the rules as they are and marvel occasionally at ‘extraterrestrial’ saves.

          • Shlomi

            But to make the racing safe they now have football fields as an escape route. I’m ok with small visit to the off track but Marquez just using it more than others.

          • Ian Parkes

            Yeah, I still don’t think he’s choosing to go that way – but the rules are the same for everyone.

  • Gruf Rude

    Bruce, Marquez lost the podium trying to put an ‘extraterrestrial move’ on Crutchlow. He had already dispatched Rossi.

    • Bruce Allen

      My bad. Can’t get anything past you guys.

      • spiff

        Hey Bruce, I have $.02 as well. I think Rossi has better tracks. That said talk to MO. I promise to triple my clicks, and could meet you in Italy next year.

        More than half serious, we could do a half assed meet up in Austin.

        Still want to do Italy, enjoyed the read.

        • Bruce Allen

          Still top Yamaha, still carrying Lorenzo, still slugging it out in the turns. Has more left than most guys ever had. A handful, but in decline, time working against him. MO doesn’t send me places, have to go on my dime. Will do so in the foreseeable future. I”ll let you know.

          • spiff

            I agree with you. I do think it is a cool stat (I might be wrong, dont crucify me), Rossi has 250 starts (a record I believe), and still running up front. Also, I think with no realistic championship in sight, they are now giving Rossi the bike he wants in hopes to get some real world testing for 2017. Lorenz’s time of being the fortunate son is over.

          • Ian Parkes

            Yes, I heard that too…

  • Ozzy Mick

    AWESOME race, even more awesome report, Brucey!
    You are absolutely right about Marquez, to quote “Marquez tried to put an extraterrestrial move…He could have crashed out, lizard brain in control…” Haha. I watched in amazement as the “less mature” version of Marquez resurrected itself. You didn’t mention the close call he had when he touched another bike (Iannone?) at speed and nearly lost it.
    I agree with your tranching – re-assess after a couple more races, but it does seem like the Aliens have gone walkabout.
    Finally, I share your sentiments about the big crash – I was horrified, especially seeing a bike flying thru the air and not knowing where it landed, then seeing the riders lying on the track. The riders coming up from behind them did well to avoid hitting them.
    So I’m now reinvigorated, looking forward to the rest of the season and the next, and to your incisive, opinionated ramblings! Look out for a BRUCE ALLEN banner at Phillip Island.

    • Bruce Allen

      I’ve heard it said that NASCAR fans go to races, in part, hoping to see big piles of sheet metal flying through the air. Those of us who’ve watched drivers/riders die during races will never–never–root for crashes. I love the action in the turns, and a slow, well-deserved lowside is often fun to watch. Over and over. You’re right, the contact between Reading and Marquez early, on reflection, was pretty amazing in that they were on the gas when it happened. Marquez appears to have the latest version of his personal gyroscopic Performance Reflex Enhancer software installed, because I’ve never seen anyone with those reflexes and that balance. He simply can do stuff that others can’t. Not going to win every race. Will win plenty he doesn’t “deserve” to win. Stubborn, mentally tough, the guy is usually going to try to beat you. Wait until the next version of the Honda.

      • Ozzy Mick

        I dunno about the media in the States but over here in Oz, promos for car and bike racing nearly always show the freakin crashes – b*stards!

      • Kos

        Agree. And nobody who has actually raced and crashed a motorcycle roots for crashes. Ever.

    • Bruce Allen

      I record every race and would give your eye teeth for a sign with my name on it at Phillip Island. I could print the frame, and it would go viral within my family. I would also send it to Dennis to include with the story. Go boy!!!

      • Ozzy Mick

        You’re on! But don’t you mean you’ll give YOUR eye teeth? Better still, fly in to Brisbane and join our ride down to PI. It will be fun! The group I’m riding down with includes a gentleman who hires bikes so no problems getting u one :), as long as the Duke finances it.

        • Bruce Allen

          Sounds great, but I did, in fact, mean your teeth. Too attached to my own. :)

      • Starmag

        “go viral within my family”. lol. If that’s not incentive, what is?

  • Old MOron

    “Happy he gave the win to Suzuki; it’s not as touching when it’s the factory Yamaha in Parc Fermé.”

    Agreed. Very good to see Suzuki on the winning step.

    “But, Marquez is the future, Rossi the past.”

    “And the book says, ‘We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us’.”

    • Bruce Allen

      Yes, grasshopper.

    • Bruce Allen

      Your draft of the Misano preview is due in my in-basket by 14:00 Tuesday EDT. 1200 words, punchy, timely, mostly accurate. Remember, you don’t care for Crutchlow and think Marquez is the best thing ever. A little Q2, maybe a nod to Moto2. The Recent History thing. Couple of memorable lines, like the one you shared above from Mr. Evans, blow their minds. Looking forward to your help.

      • Old MOron

        I enjoy our dialogues very much, Bruce. But I just can’t work that fast.
        Speaking of delayed responses, you never did take the bait to my motorcycle artificial intelligence quip: http://disq.us/p/1bedszv

        • Bruce Allen

          Just saw it now for the first time. I’ll settle for the eyeballs.

  • Old MOron

    PS: shout out to DC for finding that fantastic pic of Marquez in the rain.
    Those freaking tires are magical.

  • Vrooom

    Yeah, you’re probably over rating Dovi and under rating Crazy Joe, but like you say, it’s your column. Suzuki gets a win, that’s awesome for a new manufacturer. Rossi needed to do more. The way Lorenzo is riding you might have over rated him too, but I suspect this is temporary.

    • Bruce Allen

      I just slice and dice the standings at this point of the season. It hurts guys who have missed significant time or competed with injuries. Personally, once I get past Tranche Two, I’m done. Crutchlow belongs in Tranche Two now, but I get more mail when I set him down a row.

  • john phyyt

    There is a sort of “quantum” experience going on with Bruce’s tranches. Whereby demotion immediately causes an increase in performance. ( Get it; It is only fixed when measured)
    I kinda thought that Lorenzo and Pedrosa would have already been downgraded L ( 3) P (4). thereby giving them the speed they are currently lacking. It is working for Crutchlow and Vinales ..
    The big question is weather Crutchlow could carry the weight. and (Bruce could handle the humble-pie) of being elevated to the coveted Tranche TWO.

    • Bruce Allen

      It’s the opposite of the Sports Illustrated effect, where landing on the cover causes the ruination of your next game, if not your career. With me, it gets you going. Hey, I’m a positive guy. Old MOron accurately points out that your boy Cal has 71 points over his last five races, including a DNF and a 15th. He’s still win or bin. Perhaps he’s trying too hard, and that’s what makes him peckish when it doesn’t all work out properly. Even when it does, actually.

    • Ian Parkes

      Well done Bruce. Have to admire how you have added another tranche rather than promote Crutchlow to out of tranche three. Masterful.
      I’m just kicking myself for not posting to pick Vinales after Friday practice when Maverick was lapping so smoothly. It was immediately different from the other bikes spinning up and weaving. The Suzuki was silky and Vinales fast laps looked easy.

      • Bruce Allen

        I get more mail when I disrespect CC whom, in fairness, I’ve disrespected for years. Now that he’s FINALLY DOING SOMETHING, I hear from his compatriots quite frequently. He’s 30 years old and not an Alien yet. Two more wins this season and he gets promoted. To Tranche Two.

        • Vrooom

          Pigs may fly.

        • Ian Parkes

          Yeah, that’s the cunning bit. That Crutchlow, eh? Tchuh.

  • Starmag

    Best race of the year so far for me. Great to see underdog Suzuki on the top step. The battles behind Mav, who looked like Lorenzo of yore, were epic. Vinales was cool as a cucumber in his first interview in Parc ferme as race winner. MM not so much with his double off track excursions. He’d better get his enthusiasm back under control if he wants his third crown, he could have stuffed it and hurt himself on either one of those “adventures”.

    • Ozzy Mick

      Absolutely good to see a Suzuki victory. Perhaps there was some paranormal assistance after the Barry Sheene Memorial ride? You know, all those past champions in the ride, not to mention the great man himself, channeling Vinales or vice versa.

      • Starmag

        That’s a great point I’d didn’t think of. Perhaps we could be more sure of a Sheene influence if there were also reports of an usually large number of birds in the stands left with smiles on their faces.

  • http://facebook.com/ East South

    If Crutchlow was given same technical support as the top dogs i’m sure he’d be up there.
    Another thing that’s clear is that Suzuki has a very competitive package perhaps even from the very start of this season, and they just didn’t have the rider confidence to push it to the top.
    If Suzuki had Marquez or Lorenzo to race for them this would have been a different story.

    • spiff

      Crutchlow made a comment that his team was testing some stuff for Honda. That might point to his ability to hang at the top.

    • Old MOron

      Next year Suzuki will have the Maniac Joe. How do you fancy his/their chances?

      • Vrooom

        Crazy Joe is very fast, but reckless. So I predict podiums and dnf’s. Maybe he matures a bit as Marquez has from time to time.

  • JMDonald

    Way too late to the party for me to offer up any good comment. The write up and commentary are world class. I love Moto GP.

  • Ian Parkes

    For spectacle and excitement could this be the best season ever? Seven winners, four manufacturers on the podium, and now a 360 degree camera that lets you see Marquez smash past. I could feel my heart thumping on my ribs time and time again.

    • Old MOron

      Yeah, that 360 cam was pretty cool. I wonder if someone in the control room uses a joystick to control it, or if there is a homing device on Marquez’s bike that the camera follows automatically.

  • Ian Parkes

    I have admired professor Zarco’s low key savoir faire but, after he crashed when clear at Brno and then tried to overtake Sam Lowes on the bricks (failing, taking Sam down and trashing his season for good measure), I think we have another contender for arrogance Top Trumps. He’s French after all. Simone Corsi also goes for gaps that aren’t there, but he’s just mental.

    • Bruce Allen

      I was waiting for the “Country of Origin” slur. And isn’t Corsi the one who wears the hot pink Cancer Awareness leathers that make me throw up in my mouth?

      • Ian Parkes

        If the chapeau fits…

  • Kos

    Great stuff, as always, Bruce. Almost as enjoyable as the race itself.

    “Lorenzo could fall out of Tranche Two if he doesn’t get his act together soon.”

    Until I read that line, I was headed this way with tar and asphalt!

  • TroySiahaan

    Good read, Bruce. From the start I was wishing Maverick would stay at Suzuki and this race only makes me wish that wish even more for next year. However, it’ll be fun seeing Iannone override that GSX-RR in Maverick’s place.

    For once the Moto2 race wasn’t a complete snooze fest. There was some half-decent slicing and dicing going on.

    And once again Moto3 didn’t disappoint. Drafting battles, banzai maneuvers, caution to the wind, and all three manufacturers fighting for the win. Those little bikes, and the pilots who guide them, are consistently fun to watch.

  • Old MOron

    Hey. we get a Misano preview today, right?
    Woo-hoo, bring it on.

  • Patriot159

    Huge congrats to Suzuki and Vinales! Meanwhile, Lorenzo is walking around the paddock muttering to himself; “it’s all in me head, it’s all in me head”.