Rain, delays, uncertainty and a decision for a slightly shortened race distance prefaced the 20 laps that then blew the drama out the water: MotoGP™ is back for 2017, and in some style! After stealing the headlines throughout preseason, Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) retains them after his first win for Yamaha – but easy it wasn’t, as the polesitter fought it out with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in an awesome desert duel. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) completed the podium after coming back from P10 on the grid.
A stunning start from Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) from P2 was soon overshadowed as rookie Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech3) slammed into the lead in the first laps, as Viñales found himself falling back into the clutches of his teammate. But despite an incredible display, the fairytale came to an early end for the Frenchman as he slid out of the lead soon after – leaving ‘DesmoDovi’ out front.
Iannone then crashed out of the fight for second – leaving reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Viñales and Rossi chasing the leading Desmosedici. After a classic scuffle between the number 46 and 93, the ‘Doctor’ set off in pursuit of his team-mate.
It wasn’t long, however, before there was some fresh air between lead two and the number 46 – with a duel setting in that saw Viñales’ corner speed pitched against the sheer might of the Ducati. After trading places for a few laps, the Spaniard was then able to hold off the Italian on the penultimate lap – and made it to the line to take his second MotoGP™ win, and his first in Yamaha colours
Marquez crossed the line fourth, just ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa – who took fifth after getting the better of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini). Espargaro’s result was a historic first top six for Aprilia. Impressive performances from Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) and Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) saw the two men come home in P7 and P8, with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) top rookie in P9 – just ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Jonas Folger, who completed the top ten.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) went wide on the first lap after a solid start, down to near the back of the grid after carefully rejoining and then beginning a steady fight back through the field. The ‘Spartan’ crossed the line in P11 by the end of play.
While Scott Redding was the top-placed British rider, Bradley Smith finished just out of the points in 17th place on his KTM debut – with Sam Lowes (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) finishing just one place behind him. Cal Crutchlow had a bit of a nightmare, crashing his LCR Honda twice in the 20 lap race. Danny Kent, after a good start, dropped to 13th in the Moto2™ race.
The Octo British MotoGP™ (24-27 August) is round 12 of the 2017 MotoGP™ series and tickets are on sale at: silverstone.co.uk