The threatened rain stayed away on race day at Silverstone and all three races in the 2012 British Motorcycle Grand Prix delivered superlative racing, as Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo posted a third premier-class win on the trot to extend his lead over defending champion Casey Stoner to 25 points, 140 to 115.
Stoner's works Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa took third after a late charge to consolidate his third place in the standings with 101 points.
Lorenzo's team mate Ben Spies took the hole shot, ahead of Stoner and Honda privateer Álvaro Bautista, who started from pole for the first time in the premier class. Spies made the early running, leading the early stages from Stoner, Bautista and Ducati's Nicky Hayden. Lorenzo lost a place in the couple of corners and found himself leading a big scrap for fifth.
With 17 laps remaining Lorenzo started to find his rhythm and began closing ion the leading four, followed by Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso and Pedrosa. Soon after, Spies ran wide into a corner and Stoner dived through to take the lead.
Then Lorenzo blitzed Hayden and began closing on Bautista, while Stoner began to pull away in front. Lorenzo knew he could not afford to lose contact with the Australian, so he muscled his way past Bautista and Spies in short order, only for Bautista to push Spies down to fifth, one corner later.
With 11 laps left Lorenzo was closing on Stoner to set up a superb battle for the top spot. On the same lap Dovizioso crashed out, while his team mate Cal Crutchlow, riding with a broken left ankle after a crash in practice, fought past Honda privateer Stefan Bradl into seventh.
Heading into lap nine, Lorenzo took Stoner in the final corner, but the Australian fought straight back in the next corner, as Pedrosa and Bautista began to close the gap to the battle for the lead.
With six laps left it turned into a three-way battle for second place, as Lorenzo pulled four-second lead at the front. Four laps from home he almost high-sided the Yamaha but saved it and held on to the lead he Spaniard suffered a slight scare with four laps left as he was almost thrown from his bike, but he managed to save it and retain the lead, albeit with a reduced lead. In the closing stages Crutchlow battled past Hayden into sixth, while ART team mates Aleix Espargaró and Randy de Puniet were fairing to fairing right down to the finish line.
In the end it was Lorenzo who held on to take the top step of the podium and extend his championship lead, ahead of Stoner and Pedrosa. Stoner said after the race he felt there was an issue with his rear tyre.
Fourth went to Bautista, ahead of Spies and Crutchlow, who put in a brave ride. Hayden, Bradl, Ducati lead rider Valentino Rossi and Ducati privateer Héctor Barberá rounded out the top 10 with Espargaró 11th and top CRT rider, 0.3sec ahead of his team mate, and Dovizioso remounted after his crash to finish 19th
Tech 3 Racing’s Bradley Smith got the hole shot along with Kalex rider Scott Redding to make it a British 1-2 for the first two laps. Then Pol Espargaró (Kalex), Speed Up rider Andrea Iannone and Marc Márquez (Suter) made their move on Smith, who looked to be struggling, and tucked in behind Redding.
With 14 laps left, a group of seven riders were pulling away from the pack, including FTR rider Simone Corsi and Claudio Corti, on a Kalex. Two laps later it appeared as Redding and Espargaró were pulling out a slight advantage at the front, as Iannone and Márquez disputed third.
But just one lap later Espargaró pounced on Redding to take the lead, after which Iannone took advantage to slip into second.
A lap later Márquez got into Redding’s slipstream to relegate the Brit to fourth and set off after leaders. He didn't want to let Espargaró get away, and overtook Iannone with seven laps left, followed by Redding.
The battle for second was spicing up between Redding and Márquez as the two swapped positions a number of times the final laps, but Redding was just in front when it mattered, much to the delight of the home crowd Espargaró took the chequered flag for his second win this season, with Redding and Márquez occupying the minor podium spots. Iannone, Corsi, Corti, Smith, Thomas Lüthi (Suter), Dominique Aegerter (Suter) and Redding’s team mate Mika Kallio made up the top 10.
in the best conditions seen all weekend Alexis Masbou got the hole shot in front of Efrén Vázquez' FTR Honda. However, in true Moto3 fashion a train soon formed at the front as Maverick Viñales (FTR Honda), Luis Salóm (Kalex KTM), Works KTM rider Sandro Cortese, Louis Rossi (FTR Honda) and Romano Fenati, on an FTR Honda, jostled for position.
Six laps from home Viñales tried to make a break as the field started to stretch slightly, Salóm and Cortese matched his every move. In a nail-biting last lap Cortese took Salóm, but Salóm striuck back to re-take second.
Le Mans race-winner Rossi lost the front end in the final turns, as the Viñales came home to take his third win of 2012 and the championship lead ahead of Salóm and Cortese, who completed the podium.
The next MotoGP will be the Dutch TT at Assen on Saturday, 30 June.
RESULTS – MOTOGP
1 Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha - 41min16.429
2 Casey Stoner (Australia) Honda +3.313sec
3 Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda +3.599
4 Alvaro Bautista (Spain) Honda +5.196
5 Ben Spies (US) Yamaha +11.531
6 Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Yamaha +15.112
7 Nicky Hayden (US) Ducati +15.527
8 Stefan Bradl (Germany) Honda +22.521
9 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Ducati +36.138
10 Hector Barbera (Spain) Ducati +41.328
11 Aleix Espargaro (Spain) ART +1min03.157
12 Randy de Puniet (France) FTR +1min03.443
13 Michele Pirro (Italy) FTR +1min07.290
14 James Ellison (Britain) ART +1min14.782
15 Yonny Hernandez (Colombia) BQR +1min15.108
16 Colin Edwards (US) Suter +1min29.899
17 Danilo Petrucci (Italy) Ioda +1min40.302
18 Ivan Silva (Spain) BQR +1min52.099
19 Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Yamaha +1 lap
1 Pol Espargaro (Spain) Kalex – 38min29.792
2 Scott Redding (Britain) Kalex +1.462sec
3 Marc Marquez (Spain) Suter +1.521
4 Andrea Iannone (Italy) Speed Up +2.851
5 Simone Corsi (Italy) FTR +3.803
6 Claudio Corti (Italy) Kalex +7.109
7 Bradley Smith (Britain) Tech 3 +7.627
8 Thomas Luthi (Switzerland) Suter +7.669
9 Dominique Aegerter (Switzerland) Suter +15.847
10 Mika Kallio (Finland) Kalex +20.179
1 Maverick Vinales (Spain) FTR Honda – 38min55.210
2 Luis Salom (Spain) Kalex KTM +0.933sec
3 Sandro Cortese (Germany) KTM +1.023
4 Alexis Masbou (France) Honda +8.100
5 Efren Vasquez (Spain) FTR Honda +8.414
6 Danny Kent (Britain) KTM +8.637
7 Romano Fenati (Italy) FTR Honda +8.940
8 Arthur Sissis (Australia) KTM +9.046
9 Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Malaysia) KTM +9.206
10 Miguel Oliveira (Portugal) Suter Honda +15.613