All the hard work from Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Maverick Vinales has eventually paid off as he won the 2016 Octo British MotoGP after dominating the race from start to finish.
Great start to the weekend from Vinales
Vinales was fastest during the first Free Practice session on Friday, and remained near the top of the timesheets throughout the weekend. It rained during Qualifying for the first time this season but it did not stop the young Spaniard from finishing the third quickest meaning he would start from the back of the front row on race day.
It was a damp start to the day of the British GP at Silverstone and the track was still drying out from the showers that poured overnight. Vinales was nowhere to be seen on the timesheets as he only managed to set the sixteenth quickest time during the session.
Second year in the MotoGP for Vinales and Suzuki
The track continued to dry and the temperatures increased slightly for the race. Vinales has ridden the Suzuki GSX-RR since his rookie year in 2015, and he has developed so much as a rider as the bike has evolved. For Vinales normally this season, he has made a quick start to the rounds and shown potential, but come race day he has not necessarily been able to show his true form.
All this changed at Silverstone though and when the lights went out at the start of the race he made a great start. Although he did not lead immediately it was not long until he did. Midway through the first lap he was at the front and he began to pull away. That’s when a red flag happened.
An incident at Becketts involving Pol Espargaro (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) and Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati), who both required medical assistance, meant that the session had to be stopped as ambulances were needed on track. All riders retired to pit lane ready for the race restart procedures… was that Vinales’ only chance?
Vinales made another great start
It wasn’t. The positions were the same as qualifying for the race restart as a single lap had not been completed, but the race was now reduced to 19 laps. Vinales was once again able to make a fantastic start and again was able to pull away. He continued to do so, and as others battled for the remaining podium places behind him he was able to continue to extend his lead.
An amazing and faultless ride led to the Spanish rookie, who will be moving to Movistar Yamaha next season when he replaces Jorge Lorenzo who is moving to Ducati, lading the British GP from start to finish, and going on to win. He claimed the full 25 points and is no fourth in the championship just 21 points behind Lorenzo. Not bad for someone in their second season of MotoGP… and the same goes for the bike.
Emotional first victory for Vinales
Vinales described his victory as “really emotional” as he not only was it his “first in motoGP”, it was also “the first for Suzuki since 2007”. He felt that he “was in a good condition” and that at Silverstone they “had the potential”, but not wanting to jump ahead of himself he said, “Until the race ends you can never know.”
Praising his team he said they “did an absolutely great job”, as he thought they had managed to keep “improving the bike since the last races” and also throughout the weekend.
Vinales felt confidence throughout
Talking about his first opportunity that was spoilt he said, “After the first start I felt really confident and I thought I had a margin to keep head.” As a result of this he claimed that this gave him “the needed confidence to do it again after the second start”.
Vinales said, “My feeling with the machine was perfect.” He spoke of how he “tried to push hard at the beginning” in an attempt to “take advantage” and then from there on he “just controlled the race”. Leading up to the twelfth round of the season he said he felt that they “had the potential and finally we have proved the job we are doing is really in the right direction.”
Aleix Espargaro claims seventh in the final stages
Teammate to Vinales, Aleix Espargaro was returning from injury after damaging his hand the previous round. He qualified to start the race from 11th on the grid and after catching up to Lorenzo throughout the race, he overtook him in the later stages and finished the race in seventh. He claimed nine championship points and is now currently 12th in the standings with 60 points.
Speaking after the race he was relieved that “finally” he was able to “end the race” and they “finished not that far from the leaders”. Despite being happy with his result he said, “We still need to work hard to make further improvements” and he plans to do that by “being patient an working step by step”.
Espargaro delighted for his team and teammate’s success
Aleix spoke of how he was “really happy” for his teammate Vinales and to “see the Suzuki on the top-step of the podium”. He mentioned how he felt it was “incredible” when he discussed the “evolution” that the team “have made in the last 20 months after our comeback to the MotoGP”. He said that the “whole Suzuki family deserves this result”. They plan to “continue fighting to achieve better results also before the end of the season.”