Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi celebrated the milestone of his 250th MotoGP start with a hard-fought third place at the Silverstone Circuit. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a tough outing at the British Grand Prix but made his experience count to hold eighth place over the line.Valentino Rossi, who has been participating in the MotoGP class since its introduction in 2002, kicked off his 250th MotoGP class Grand Prix start in style. He stormed from second on the grid to grab the holeshot before tucking in behind Maverick Viñales, but his assertive start to the race was short-lived when the race was red flagged.
The opening lap to the shortened restarted race, which began at 15:54 local time, saw Rossi hold second place behind Cal Crutchlow into the first corner, but he had to let Viñales and Marc Marquez pass before the end of the first lap. With fifteen laps to go he saw the latter pull a gap on Crutchlow in third place and decided it was time to charge for the front. Within one lap the nine times World Champion passed the local rider and Marquez and focused on closing the margin of 2.4s to the race leader, but his rivals continued to threaten him from behind.
Eight laps on the Doctor came under pressure from Andrea Iannone as his rear tyre started to slide. What followed was a flurry of activity as Crutchlow and Marquez joined the fight for second place. Two laps later Rossi found himself in fifth place when he and Marquez briefly touched fairings. The Italian was quick to respond and close passes followed as they fought a heated battle, while Iannone crashed out of the race.
Rossi was unable to fend off Marquez and rode a smart end to the race, saving his tyres to seize the opportunity and take over third place when Marquez went wide. He held this podium position over the line as he rapidly approached Crutchlow in a last-lap sprint to the chequered flag, but he came just 0.583s short and wrapped up the day in third place.
Starting from ninth on the grid Lorenzo had a flying start off the line, taking seventh place into the first corner. He put his head down trying to close the gap to the front until the race was aborted due to a race incident in turn two.
He resumed his attack seamlessly during the shortened 19-lap race. Perfectly duplicating his start, he tried to progress from seventh place after the first corner, but saw Andrea Iannone put an aggressive pass on him before the end of the first lap. Lorenzo tried to follow and soon overtook Scott Redding to reclaim seventh place.
He continued his chase to the front, closing up on Dani Pedrosa and upped his pace, but lost time as he got engaged in a battle with Andrea Dovizioso for seventh place. Unable to match the pace of the Italian due to a vibrating rear tyre, he then got into battle with Aleix Espargaró, who he had to let pass. Despite the challenges, Lorenzo continued to keep his head down and later gained a position as Iannone retired from the race, to finish the race in eighth position, 19.432s from first.
The results see Rossi hold second place in the championship standings, now on 160 points, with a margin of 50 points to the championship leader. Lorenzo remains in third position, now on 146 points
VALENTINO ROSSI; “For the championship these are just three points but I’m very happy because it was a hard battle. I fought for the entire race and never gave up. Unfortunately, after eight or nine laps, I started to slide a lot on the rear, so it was very difficult to control the bike, but at the end it was very funny with Marc and Crutchlow and I’m very happy with this podium. It was a great race and a great battle, a double battle because at the beginning of the race and also at the end it was great. I enjoyed it a lot and I’m so happy with this podium, because I knew I had to fight from the first corner to the last to arrive in front. On the dry we weren’t so strong. We knew we would struggle with the tyres in the second half of the race and in fact it was like this. It was a great battle with Marquez and also with Crutchlow and Iannone. I tried to the maximum and arrived on the podium. It’s not very important for the points in the championship but very important for me and for the team. I have some black on me from Marquez’s tyres, because we touched two or three times. The battle was good but hard, fair and I enjoyed it a lot. When you try at the end to fight for the podium, between Marquez and me, it’s always difficult, but it was a very good battle and I want to see it on television.”
(Credit: Yamaha Factory Racing)