Silverstone, Northamptonshire – Normal service was resumed at the British Motorcycle Grand Prix after a slight blip two weeks earlier in the Czech Republic, as Honda’s defending world champion took his 11th win of the season from pole position, after a race-long battle with Yamaha factory rider Jorge Lorenzo, while the latter’s team mate Valentino Rossi became the most experienced rider in the history of the premier class with a record 246 starts, and celebrated by taking third away from Dani Pesdrosa in the dying stages.
Gauteng teen Brad Binder, however had a rough day at the office, battling home 15th on the Mahindra for a solitary point and hanging on to 11th place in the Moto3 standings.
Lorenzo got a flier off third on the grid to lead the pack into the first corner and put his head down to try for an early break, but couldn’t shake off Marquez who followed close behind, the two never more than half a second apart.
Rossi, starting sixth, tucked in behind Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) and Aleix Espargarò on the Forward Yamaha in fifth. The opening laps saw Rossi and Espargarò going at it hammer and tongs until Rossi dived past into Stow and set off after the Ducati.
With 16 laps left the Doctor snatched third and began reeling in the leaders, only to be blitzed by a hard-charging Pedrosa four laps later. Eight laps from the end, however, Rossi re-took third, but was too far behind to pose a threat to the leaders.
A lap later Marquez made his move at Stow, but ran with five laps left, allowing Lorenzo back in front – but two laps later Marquez put in an aggressive move going into Village.
Lorenzo held on but a near collision in the Loop forced him wide and back into second, coming home just 0.732sec adrift, while Rossi held off Pedrosa by just 0.175s and Dovizioso by 0.544s for the final podium spot.
Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) came out on top of a battle for sixth as he continued to impression his rookie season, while Stefan Bradl (Honda), Andrea Iannone (Ducati), Aleix Espargaro and top British finisher Scott Redding (Honda Gresini) rounded out the top 10.
Championship leader Tito Rabat put in a brilliant ride from fourth on the grid, staying with the front group all the way and making a move on Mika Kallio in the final stages, to take the win by just 0.063s, with Maverick Viñales only 0.14s adrift in third for an all-Kalex podium.
Pole man Johann Zarco (Caterham Suter) came home fourth, 2.571s down, with Thomas Luthi (Suter) and Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) picked up valuable points for fifth and sixth respectively .
Local hero Sam Lowes (Speed Up) and Kalex riders Hafizh Syahrin, Mattia Pasini and Axel Pons completed the top 10.
Dakota Mamola, teenage son of former GP star Randy Mamola, had a difficult maiden Grand Prix; he was forced into the pits by a technical problem but later rejoined for some invaluable race experience.
Also battling was 50-year-old veteran Jeremy McWilliams, out for the first time on the new Taylor Made machine for Brough Superior Racing - despite a broken nose sustained in a crash during Saturday’s practice. He was lapped by the frontrunners with three laps to go but collected crucial data for the team.
Pole man Alex Rins was pushed right to the limit by his Honda team-mate Alex Marquez (Marc’s younger brother!) and by KTM rider Ena Bastianini each of whom led at one stage. Rins eventually took a nailbiting win by just 0.011s from Marquez with Bastianini half a tenth further back – and Mahindra’s Miguel Oliviera who ran with them all the way, was another 0.51s away from a podium in fourth.
KTM riders Jakub Kornfeil, Jack Miller and Niccolo Antonelli finished in that order in less than .2s after a race-long dice, with Husqvarna team-mates Danny Kent and Niklas Ajo rounding out the top 10.