Following a three-year hiatus, Suzuki returned to MotoGP in 2015 with its all-new GSX-RR. The goal of the high-revving inline-four was podiums, and the first arrived at Le Mans when the Spaniard Maverick Vinales earned third.Results remained positive for the returning Suzuki, and only got better at the British Grand Prix. Vinales would claim Suzuki’s first win since returning, and also its first victory since a wet Le Mans race in 2007 with Loris Capirossi at the controls of the Suzuki GSV-R.
It was pure domination for Suzuki at Silverstone; after qualifying third on the grid, Vinales quickly got out front. The race was red-flagged due to a crash with Avintia Racing Ducati’s Loris Baz and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espagaro, and shortened to 19 laps. Vinales wasted no time, and got out front to claim a flag-to-flag victory.Vinales, who joins Yamaha in 2017 to ride alongside Valentino Rossi, earned the win – his first ever in MotoGP – by 3.4 seconds ahead of LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, who made history at Brno last time out, becoming the first Brit to win a race since Barry Sheene in 1981. Earning the final front-row start was nine-time World Champion Rossi, who started his 250th premier-class race Sunday.“This victory has been really emotional, my first in MotoGP and also the first for Suzuki since 2007. I felt I was in a good condition and that here we had the potential, but until the race ends you can never know. The team did an absolutely great job, improving the bike since the last races and also in the whole weekend,” Vinales says.“After the first start I felt really confident and I thought I had a margin to keep ahead, and this gave me the needed confidence to do it again after the second start. My feeling with the machine was perfect, I tried to push hard at the beginning to take advantage and then I just controlled the race. After the last races we felt we had the potential and finally we proved that the job we are doing is really in the right direction.”Due to a fourth-place finish, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez now has 210 points – 50 ahead of Rossi and 64 ahead of the reigning MotoGP Champion, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo.Following is the official race recap courtesy of MotoGP:There was Lap 1 drama as the Octo British Grand Prix got underway, with rain threatening the grid and bike swaps practiced in morning Warm Up. With the initial lights out it was Viñales at the front, before an incident between Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha tech 3) brought out the red flag and the two riders went to the medical center.On the restart, the front row of the grid of Crutchlow, Rossi and Viñales fought for the lead, with Crutchlow taking the position early before Viñales got through to pull away.With Viñales away at the front, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) led a five bike train of Rossi, Crutchlow, Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) and Marquez’ teammate Dani Pedrosa in the chase, with reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) having a difficult race as he circulated in P8 despite his stunning record at the British venue. With Rossi then taking over in P2, Viñales was still over two seconds clear and the chase was on.Iannone, after making his way to the front of the chasing group, then lost his Ducati with 6 laps to go and suffered a DNF, leaving Crutchlow in P2 and Rossi and Marquez to duel it out. With the Italian and the Spaniard the two men at the top of the championship – although Marquez 53 points clear – it was a battle royale for points, pride and supremacy as the two fought.With characteristic hard racing and some incredible moves from each, Marquez eventually broke away from his Italian title rival to close on Crutchlow – before running deep and dropping back behind teammate Pedrosa into P5, into another battle that he just won to come home P4.Pedrosa had a calmer ride than his teammate to the top five, but looked to have made an incredible leap forward in the setup of his Repsol Honda as he got back to running in the front group at the British GP.Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) came home P6 in a solid ride despite having twisted his knee in a testing crash ahead of the event, with Aleix Espargaro on the second Team Suzuki Ecstar similarly riding after a recent hand injury to come home P7. Five-time world champion Jorge Lorenzo crossed the line eighth after struggling for grip, with Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) and Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completing the top 10.Home hero Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) was the last to cross the line after a crash, with compatriot and replacement rider Alex Lowes coming home in P13 on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in a solid first MotoGPperformance.The grid now head for Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on the 9-11th September for the next race, with Marquez still 50 points clear at the front – despite Rossi taking a small amount of points back from the Spaniard’s lead in the battle of Britain.Photos by Luciano Bianchetto
2016 Silverstone MotoGP Results:
1. M. VIÑALES TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 39’03.559 2. C. CRUTCHLOW LCR HONDA + 3.480 3. V. ROSSI MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP + 4.063 4. M. MARQUEZ REPSOL HONDA TEAM + 5.992 5. D. PEDROSA REPSOL HONDA TEAM + 6.381 6. A. DOVIZIOSO DUCATI TEAM + 12.303 7. A. ESPARGARÒ TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR + 16.672 8. J. LORENZO MOVISTAR YAMAHA MOTOGP + 19.432 9. D. PETRUCCI OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH + 25.618 10. A. BAUTISTA APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI + 32.084 11. Y. HERNANDEZ PULL & BEAR ASPAR TEAM + 36.131 12. E. LAVERTY PULL & BEAR ASPAR TEAM + 39.130 13. A. LOWES MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 + 40.143 14. H. BARBERA AVINTIA RACING + 41.356 15. T. RABAT ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS + 41.943 16. J. MILLER ESTRELLA GALICIA 0,0 MARC VDS + 47.610 17. S. REDDING OCTO PRAMAC YAKHNICH + 1’56.177 18. A. IANNONE DUCATI TEAM N.C. (6 laps) 19. S. BRADL APRILIA RACING TEAM GRESINI N.C. (17 laps) 20. L. BAZ AVINTIA RACING Not starting 21. P. ESPARGARÒ MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3 Not starting
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.