by Tracy Hagen
Jorge Lorenzo rode his Yamaha to his fourth win in six races this year at the Silverstone MotoGP and extended his lead in the world championship to 25 points over the reigning world champion, Casey Stoner. Stoner finished second, 3.313 seconds behind after leading six laps on his Honda before being passed by Lorenzo. Stoner’s teammate, Dani Pedrosa, finished a close third after playing catch-up for most the race following a poor start.
As in the last race at Catalunya, Lorenzo had to come from behind to win. The Spaniard made it look easy as the Yamaha had power as good as the Hondas on the front straight. In the corners, Lorenzo was able to pass Stoner by taking the long outside line around the Australian. Arguably the hardest way to pass another rider, and to the one being passed, the only conclusion can be that you were out-ridden.
Polesitter Alvaro Bautista finished fourth on the satellite factory Honda. Bautista rode a strong race and kept in touch with the faster Hondas up until a couple laps to go.
Lorenzo’s teammate, Ben Spies, had his best race of the year with a fifth place finish. However, Spies race will be remembered for his holeshot from the front row to first place and leading the first four laps. Then Spies ran wide in a left turn, allowing Stoner to speed through. From there other riders caught and passed Spies with ease and the Texan eventually finished six seconds behind Bautista.
In stark contrast to Spies’s race, Cal Crutchlow finished sixth after starting dead last due to missing qualifying following a heavy crash in Friday practice and suffering a sprained ankle. The Brit surged the field, passing the factory Ducatis of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden and might have done the same to Spies if given another four or five laps.
Crutchlow’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, was racing with Pedrosa and Bautista for much of the race until his bike suddenly slowed. Dovizioso pitted and rejoined the race, in last.
Hayden’s race followed the trajectory of his compatriot Spies. The Kentuckian managed a strong start and was the fourth bike in a four-bike breakaway. Eventually the chasing four-bike group, headed by Lorenzo, caught Hayden. Hayden’s red Ducati laid out the red carpet for the following bikes by running wide in corner after corner.
Stefan Bradl (Honda) finished eight, alone, after racing with Rossi in the early laps. Rossi finished ninth after charging to catch Hector Barbera on the satellite Ducati.
Aleix Espargaro edged out his Aprilia teammate Randy De Puniet to finish eleventh and top CRT superbike.
With Yamaha’s announcement at Silverstone that Lorenzo will stay with them through 2014, MotoGP might be in the beginning of the Lorenzo era.
Next race: Assen, June 30.