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Silverstone Race Column by Steve Parrish:

MotoGP

Take a bow Marc Marquez. What a great MotoGP event it was in Silverstone. The weather was perfect for bikers and not too hot to put all of your gear on and get those engines revving. Secondly, I was constantly hearing all this cock about Silverstone being an F1 track and not a bike circuit. There have been so many varying opinions about the track and its longevity to hold race events for bikes. I am going to say this loud and clear: Since I rode the modified circuit in 2011, there is more over taking opportunities than any other circuit. This was proven this weekend. For example, in the Arena, Village section and the Vale… you can be as daring and crazy as you want to be whilst also being aggressively rude like how Marquez was to Lorenzo!! 

Please keep in mind that this is not a knitting competition. This is motorcycle racing. We go to race events to watch competitive racing at its best. We want to see the duelling cat and mouse fighting for positions, the race win and getting the upper hand of one another. In addition, I was constantly reminded by riders, engineers and commentators about the pesky bumps, but again that is really what racing is about, getting your machine, tyres and rider to cope better than the rest. Bumps or no bumps… you either win or end up coming second best. The choice is yours as a rider. There is always a number of challenges to overcome.

I must say that Motorsport has become clinical enough without every track being a billiard table. One that is smooth with constant radius banked corners. Take for example the safety of the sport. If every track on the calendar allowed the bikes to carry more corner speed, then the safety aspect would increase, the speeds slow down and in doing so, you could end up with the nearest spectator vantage point being at least 200 meres away from the track. 

This is something that Motorsport enthusiasts do not want that to happen! Silverstone may not be on the side of a mountain with a sea view but it produces some of the best races of the season. Moan and rant over! I am afraid I did warn you that it was a blip for the phenomenal Marc Marquez, but thankfully Jorge Lorenzo seems to be fully over his horrific start to the season and today, (Sunday) gave Marc a great run for his money. Finally, we can see someone take it to Marc Marquez and put the pressure on the young Spanish champion. Personally, in many ways… Marquez reminds me of a much younger Valentino Rossi in some of his battles with Max Biaggi and Sete Gibenau. For example, Rossi would charge past and then be seen in the gravel or running wide only to have to repeat the exercise again, which he generally did to win! Aggressive riding is seen on the track quite often, though only certain riders are willing to risk it all. Rossi did and now Marquez is finding the limits, exceeding that limit and then dialling things back about 1% to 99.99999%. 

However, we were never sure if it was The Doctor, back then, making the racing more palatable or whether he was genuinely on the limit and the same applies to Marquez. Are we yet seeing the best of him??? In any case he could have the Championship all wrapped up with 4 rounds to go, but it’s very easy to forget he could also tumble off and break a wrist, it happens unfortunately. This is racing. Anything can happen and of course to the top riders of the sport. No one is invincible.

On the other hand, lets turn to Scott Redding. He is on a mission to secure a factory bike for the 2015 season. His top 10 finish at Silverstone surely must have secured that; it just remains to be seen with which team, but it must happen, as he is the real deal! The hardest challenge for Scott is that Gresini are trying to rescue their 2015 season prospects and Marc VDS has been in the picture. It will be interesting to see where he ends up because his potential for the podium is clear. Alternatively, Bradley Smith had his unusual luck it seems with a cracked rim causing the rear tyre to deflate so having to pit for a wheel change. Eventually finishing in 22nd place. He deserves some good luck; the lad was having a great race and was on for one of his best finishes…maybe next time Bradders!

Now… lets turn to Cal Crutchlow. What a disappointing 12th place finish. He must be praying for the season to end and like many fans thinking how on earth is Dovizioso squeezing out some amazing results and to top it all nearly beating Valentino on the bike he (Vale) disliked nearly as much as Cal! I would give Dovizioso, Rider of the Day, just 9 seconds back at the finish, with rumours of new and improved parts coming for Aragon. The Ducati bike is proving to be beneficial for Dovi who is working around the clock to conquer the bike so many have walked away from.

Moto2

We had a great MOTO 2 race with the Marc VDS boys entertaining the large crowd, a stunning performance from Tito Rabat who came through from a mediocre start and beat his team mate Mika Kallio. Tito is all smiles after extending his championship lead. Having been a team manager, I am sure that there were some tense moments in that garage during the latter stages of the race when Tito and Mika Kallio were rubbing paint. They were close and the racing very exciting. Probably the best race of the season so far due to the battles going on from first to fifth. Our own Sam Lowes produced a strong 7th place finish, proving he should be there at the pointy end, a great result and something to keep building on, although we know Sam would have expected more. We are proud of him.

Gino Rea was chipping away gradually moving up the pack finishing in 20th a commendable effort. He did a great job. Then we have the gentlemanly Jeremy McWilliams, who had a run out on the peculiar Brough Superior bike, the bike was clearly not competitive and gave Jezza a thing or two to think about! Being lapped at the end I’m sure Jezza was glad that race was over…I think I’d leave MOTO 2 to the young guns Jeremy!… 

Moto3

The best race of the day was undoubtedly the MOTO 3 loonies, the top 15 all could be seen in the same TV shot at the end of the race! For a moment I thought we were going to end up with another Marquez family domination when Alex, Marc’s younger brother was pipped at the flag by Alex Rins just 0.011second the difference. The mistake of celebrating a lap earlier is in the back of our minds because it was Alex Rins first MOTO 3 win and he celebrated with a big smile. Rookie of the year already… we cannot forget Bastianini, just 16 years old, only 0.072seconds from Alex Rins completing the top three with his stunning ride. He almost had the win and Gresini must be very happy with his performance so far.

Our own Danny Kent had a solid ride to finish in 9th closely followed by John McPhee in 11th. Surprisingly Jack Miller never got to grips with the track, qualifying in 8th and finishing 6th in the race. It seems the KTM factory team have updated the bikes the wrong way therefore at the next race will have to revert back to the older spec. Jack still leads the Championship by 13 points so still all to play for. Efren Vazquez and Romano Fenati did not gain as many points as they needed. Rather, Alex Marquez and Jack Miller took important points to continue their bid for a world title.

All in all, a good weekend racing and only 2 weeks until we do it all again in Italy for the San Marino MOTO GP! We shall see what that race has to offer us with upgrades, contractual negotiations, championships and more on offer. The question is: will this one be a Marquez whitewash with both the brothers holding records there, in Marc’s case the fastest lap (MOTO GP) and Alex (MOTO 3) the circuit record!

See you all for the next roller coaster of emotions, paint swapping, aggressive tyre connections and more at San Marino.

Credit: Repsol Honda MotoGP Team

Credit: Repsol Honda MotoGP Team