A Brit hasn’t won the British GP since it came to England in 1977. Silverstone again was the stage for the 2016 Octo British GP and everyone was willing the four ‘British’ contenders in the MotoGP field to do well; as well as the other three in the Moto2 and the Moto3.
Overwhelming support for the British riders at Silverstone
The support for the riders was overwhelming for Cal Cruthclow (LCR Honda), Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati), Eugene Laverty (Pull & Bear Aspar MotoGP) and Alex Lowes who was standing in for injured Bradley Smith on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha.
Alex’s twin brother Sam was the one to watch in the Moto2 class as he claimed pole position ahead of his Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 during an extremely wet session. Leopard Racing Team rider Danny Kent qualified in 12th which meant he would start from the back of the fourth row. In the Moto3 class, John McPhee (Peugeot MC Saxoprint) was set to start from 17th on the grid after winning his first ever Moto3 race during the previous round at the Automotodrom Brno.
Crutchlow the favourite Brit to win
Straight after winning the 11th round of the MotoGP, his first ever win that broke a 35 year drought, Cal Crutchlow headed to Silverstone in the hope of remaining the top Brit by doing what he could to win the MotoGP.
He qualified on pole position after a wet session, his time was over a second quicker than anyone else, and the LCR Honda rider then went on to battle with the front runners before securing second in the race. He is now the top independent team rider in the class.
Race red flagged
The race was red-flagged during the first lap when an incident between Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) left them needing medical attention.
Unfortunately for Irishman Eugene Laverty, he had made a fantastic start, stuffing it up the inside of Movistar Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi just before the flag went out. When the race restarted it was like he had changed bikes unfortunately. Despite his efforts he could only manage 12th in the race taking three championship points.
Laverty on form before the race stopped
Speaking about the race before the flag, Laverty spoke of how “the clutch felt really good off the line” and so he found himself in “fifth into turn one” and then he was able to get “past Pedrosa for fourth and Cal for third”. He thought to himself “this is going pretty good” when he passed Rossi, but then he said, “A corner later the red flag came out unfortunately so I had to do it all again.”
When the race restarted he said “the clutch didn’t feel the same” and then he “got hit by a few guys including Iannone in the first few corners”. At one point he said he “got locked together with Lorenzo”. All of this “sent me backwards” Laverty mentioned and if that wasn’t enough he spoke of how “Bradl collided with me when he crashed”.
Near miss for Laverty when Bradl crashed out
Laverty was thankful that he “didn’t go down too” however he noticed that it “damaged the rear of the bike” and he said “That was it for my race.” Trying to repair his bike on track he said, “I had to stick my hand in there and pull the rear mud guard out”, something he said “isn’t nice” as he was worried “with the chain and everything else in there spinning around!”
The Irishman admitted, ”It was tough after that” but in front of his home fans he “kept going and picked up four championship points”.
Alex Lowes makes his MotoGP debut at Silverstone
Behind Laverty in 13th place finished Alex Lowes. Recently the British racing twin competed in the Suzuka 8 hour endurance event and won with Yamaha. As a reward he was given the opportunity to try the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha on track. Smith then took part in an event but then became involved in an incident; he was hit from behind and the footpeg on the bike that hit him connected with the back of his leg and he now has ligament damage on his knee which has ruled him out for the time being.
So, as a result, in time for his home MotoGP at Silverstone, Alex Lowes was given the opportunity to compete as a wildcard at Silverstone making his MotoGP debut before his twin brother who is set to join Aprilia Racing Team Gresini next season (awkward). Their father was extremely proud of his sons as he watched from the paddock.
Crash at the start of the weekend for Alex
Alex crashed during the Free Practice on Day one at turn 12 that caught out other riders such as Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez. At one point he was eighth quickest on the track, but qualified to start his debut MotoGP at home in 16th place. A great performance on race day in cool yet dry conditions saw him finish the race in the points; he collected three championship points after finishing in 13th place.
Alex Lowes learnt a lot from his MotoGP experience
Overall Alex was “pleased with how the weekend has ended” and he felt that he “learnt a lot” in his “first MotoGP experience” which he thought was “amazing”. He noted that the “ever changing weather conditions made things a bit trickier at this event” which meant it was “even more of a challenge” for him, however he felt “any condition would have been tough” with it being his “debut on the YZR-M1”.
Speaking about the race he mentioned that it was the first time that he had “ran with a full fuel load” and also that it was the first time he “completed more than six laps in a row”. As a result he said “the learning curve was step and it was tough”. He found that he “locked the front whilst braking a few times” which he said made him “lost a bit of confidence”. So in turn, he “tried to understand the changing behaviour of the bike regarding the fuel and tyre life.”
Alex Lowes finished 20 seconds behind champion Lorenzo
Lowes also claimed he “watched the guys” around him and through this he also “learnt a lot”. At the end of the race he “finished 40 seconds back from the leader” and noted that he only finished “20 seconds behind Lorenzo” in his first MotoGP race which he described as “positive”. However, he admitted his main objective was “to reach the flag” and the fact he managed to “claim(ed) a few points” in the meantime just added to his triumph.
Criticising himself he felt that he “could have ridden better” but then felt he may have been “a bit negative” on himself. He reassured himself saying, “I didn’t know what to expect here so I shouldn’t be harsh for not understanding everything immediately.” But then he said, “I am a racer!”
Alex Lowes to replace Smith at Misano for the next round also
Alex was going to use the next few days to “digest what has happened” so that he can “be stronger in San Marino” as the Italian GP at Misano is set to take place just a week after his debut at Silverstone and he will again be riding for Tech 3 Yamaha. He said, “I have to give a special thanks to the whole Tech 3 team who did a great job this weekend and I am thankful for the chance.”
Disappointing result for determined Redding
Now a lot of attention surrounded British Ducati rider Redding who was hoping to be the top Brit after the British round at Silverstone. He was in the top 10 all weekend; a great performance in FP3 where he finished sixth fastest, meant he was able to qualify seventh on the grid despite the weather.
Unfortunately for Redding though, he crashed out from ninth position on lap three (two since the restart) when he entered the chicane at Vale. The back end of his Desmosedici came round on him and he spun out at the slow right handed corner. Everyone passed him as he picked the bike up and got it going again by himself as the Marshals had a fair distance to run to him. He re-joined in the race and could do nothing more than keep going.
Vinales wins his first ever MotoGP
The crowds cheered him on as he passed them every lap to try and encourage him as he must have felt so demotivated in front of his home fans. He completed the race in last position (17th) almost two leaders behind race winner Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Maverick Vinales (who collected his debut win).
Redding said, “It is a pity” has he knew he “started very well in the first race”. However, he felt that “in the second race something had changed” and that he experienced “less feeling”. Talking about his racing incident he said, “I crashed without any warning from the bike”, something he said “can happen” and he was “sorry it happened here” at Silverstone in front of his home fans.
But he said, “Never give up!” He talked about how he “continued till the end even though it was not easy.” He was very grateful to the fans saying, “Thanks to my fans who have supported me lap by lap.”
Sam Lowes on pole for the Moto2 at Silverstone
For Moto2 rider Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Racing) he looked strong throughout the weekend, was the fastest man in the majority of the sessions that were prohibited by rain and qualified on pole position ahead of the race. He led the race by the end of the first lap but then came under attack by those behind him.
On lap eight Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) passed him bringing Ajo Motorsport rider Johann Zarco with him. When he attempted to retaliate and reclaim second from Zarco, he lost third position to Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS). If Lowes was going to win it wasn’t going to be easy.
Lowes robbed of podium and championship points by Zarco
Lowes battled throughout doing what he could to get to the front. Both he and Zarco almost came together until lap 15 when the two actually did and were taken out of the race. Towards the end of the lap Zarco had the inside line on the left-handed corner when they came together. It looked as if they were connected in some way as they rode into the run-off area together. Sam was cranked over for the turn but Zarco remained upright; Zarco was able to re-join but Sam had to get restarted and joined way down the field.
Despite doing all he could Sam had to settle for 21st whereas Zarco crossed the line in seventh. However, Zarco was penalised for the incident and after a 30second penalty was added to his race time it meant he finished in 22nd behind Lowes and out of the points.
Lowes feels Zarco deserved penalty
Sam confirmed he “had some problems early in the race” but later on felt it was “easy to recover”. In the final stages he was “feeling really comfortable” and so with three laps remaining he passed Zarco and “was already thinking about catching Luthi” as he thought he may have had “something in his pocket”. However, he said, “Zarco made a move on the inside, pushing me off track with a stupid manoeuvre.” He felt it was Zarco’s mistake and that he “deserved to be penalized”.
Relieved it does not have any more effect on the championship he talked about how Silverstone was “a special day” for him and how he “wanted to win” but Zarco made that impossible. He “worked hard all weekend” and found himself to be “fast on both wet and dry” and then was in a “good position to win” on race-day. Disappointed he, “really wanted to get the win” in his home race and found it “difficult to accept the situation”. He was apologetic to his team and hopes to return “stronger” in Misano.
Kent the highest placed Brit in the points at Silverstone
The top Brit in the Moto2 class turned out to be Kent who finished up in 15th collecting the last remaining championship point. Despite this he said, “This is not the way we wanted to finish our home GP.” He said “of course we wanted a good result” but described the British round as a “typical English weekend with the weather.”
He blamed the weather saying, “It didn’t help us, especially in practice with only five laps at the start.” Like all of the riders he “needed more track time”. During the race he found he was “losing a lot on acceleration and then top speed so it made the job harder.” He benefited from the incident between Zarco and Lowes and ended up in the points as a result of it and turned his attention saying they, “Just need to work hard for Misano.”
McPhee hoped for a repeat of Moto2 winning success at home
Straight after winning his first ever Moto3 race at Brno, Scottish rider McPhee was hoping to continue his success in front of his home fans at Silverstone. He was unable to make it work though and finished 17th as the top Peugeot rider. He was “disappointed” as he felt he had “much more potential for the race”. He found that starting from 17th on the grid made it “difficult” for him to “move forward”. .
He found that during the race that “the front feeling wasn’t so good” and that during the early stages he experienced “big moments where (he) almost crashed sometimes”. He discovered it “took a while to lap with a decent pace” and although “in the end (he) felt really strong” he had ended up “fighting in a big group and it wasn’t possible to break away.”
He stated that they “learned our lessons from this” in what he described as an “up and down weekend here in Silverstone”. However, “most important” he said they “had some really strong sessions” and they hope to see the rewards from Misano next round.