Jorge Lorenzo grabbed victory at the historic Silverstone, but not before some phenomenal racing with the injured Marc Marquez. This will definitely count as one of the best races in modern MotoGP history!
By Chitra Subramanyam
I want to make a special request before I start waxing eloquent on the brilliant race at Silverstone. It’s a shout-out to Marc Marquez’s doctor – Could you please pass me those painkillers you have been handing out to Marquez? I think I could do with some.
Do you blame me? That 20-year-old rookie was on something – Red Bull maybe? Or was it pure determination and doggedness? Or was it something extra-terrestrial? I know, you will probably say I have been watching too many reruns of Smallville. But hey, cut me some slack, will ya?
I mean that the kid is brilliant. The pre-event press conference was properly morose. Dani Pedrosa shrugged. Jorge Lorenzo shrugged. Valentino Rossi was amused. And Marc Marquez was grinning. So would you, if you have two of the three most talented riders in MotoGP today, trying to keep up with you during the race… or Qualifying… or practice sessions.
Then came the Sunday warm-up practice and one of the most horrendous crashes this season. Cal Crutchlow (oh Cal!) crashed and rolled on to the kitty litter and then sat up, even as his Tech 3 motorcycle lay on its side, broken and battered. The marshals ran up to help him. And just as a bunch of them tried to wheel out Crutchlow’s bike, one of them looked up. Incoming! They ran, pushing Crutchlow ahead of them, even as Marquez’s bike came hurtling toward them. NASTY. Marquez ended up with a dislocated shoulder, which was popped back in place. And of course, he was fit to race.
And if you thought the race would be easy peasy, then you were dead wrong. Jorge Lorenzo took off like a bullet at race start. Marquez though was right on his tail. He chased him. He did not let up – not for a moment, not when Valentino Rossi was at 3rd (yes, Vale did make it to 3rd in the beginning, but we’ll come to that later) and certainly not when Dani Pedrosa was trying to get past. He kept up the momentum and intensified the pressure. Step by step, until the end.
That’s when things got super-exciting. As you can see I am running out of adjectives. Don’t sigh. I was screaming proper by this time – enough for my throat to hurt, and for me to finish an entire bottle of water in a long gulp, post-race. So, instead of me going on, I am going to let Jorge Lorenzo do the talking.
The world champion said in a team release, “This was one of the best races I’ve ever had. I’m really happy and really pleased. It’s a very important win. I pushed from the beginning to try and open a gap, even more than in recent races, but it was impossible. Marc never gives up, even if he’s a little bit injured after the warm up. He overtook me three laps from the end, so I studied him a little for one lap, and I saw he was struggling in some braking, so I overtook him on the corner where he crashed. I pushed in the last lap to the maximum, I opened up a little gap, but I made a mistake in braking and almost crashed. When he overtook me three corners from the end, I thought it was over again and second place, but then he opened a little gap in the last corner, so I thought ‘now or never’ and I tried, and got it. To be honest, I’m not thinking about the championship, I’m thinking just to enjoy this victory, which was very special to get then focus on Misano!”
Caught your breath yet? I haven’t. Despite the disappointment of seeing Cal Crutchlow stuck at 7th place. And Valentino Rossi at 4th. I know everyone’s eager to crown Vale, the king of 4th, but hey, I think he is biding his time. Just you wait, naysayers, the Doctor will be back. But till then, I am going to watch Vale give us some fantastic battles. So, even as the front row drama took place, right behind, Vale was doing what he does the best: Give the other riders a bit of grief. So yes, he was stuck way down at 6th with Cal for company. Then, he niggled Stefan Bradl, pushing him and then settling down to attack Alvaro Bautista who was riding pretty at 4th place. By the way, did you notice that little baby cartoon on Bautista’s helmet? What’s that about? The battle began with 3 laps to go. We were all too busy watching Lorenzo and Marquez play footsie, so all I had was the time chart for company. You have to admit, it’s fascinating, watching Vale cut down distance and time in a steady fashion. He keeps at it, until BOOM, Vale makes his move. The two exchanged places again, and again, until the finish line. But Vale was determined and he took 4th place. Post-race, he said in a team release that the first half was tough, the second, easier. “We will continue to work hard, we never give up and are not so far now. We have constant pace and we are nearly there, but we need to go a bit faster, we still have to work to improve our pace.”
There are still six races to go. So, it will happen. But where does the season go? We are nearly at the end of this most-brilliant season. Next up is San Marino, in Italy, one of my most favourite countries in the world. I can’t wait. But to be honest, I am looking forward to this two-week break. There is only so much excitement this poor blogger can take!