With 7 MotoGP races remaining this season, Spain’s Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez still holds a 53-point lead over his nearest rival Valentino Rossi of Yamaha Movistar. This is despite the 2013 & 2014 World Champion finishing fifth in Austria’s Red-Bull ring on August 14 and third at the Czech MotoGP in Brno on August 21. On September 4, Marquez will attempt to consolidate his lead at British MotoGP in Silverstone. The changing weather conditions at Silverstone will be a huge challenge for every rider but the top of the pack like Marquez, Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will do the best to garner as many points as possible. For Marquez, who is chasing his third World Championship title, the Silverstone victory will be crucial. Incidentally, the Spaniard had crashed out at Silverstone last year.
After he crashed out in several races in the 2015 season, Marc Marquez has made steady progress on the championship leaderboard in the current MotoGP season. After his victory at the German GP at Sachsenring, Marquez finished 5th at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on August 14 and 3rd at Brno in the Czech Republic on August 21. But he still collected points and took his tally to 197 in the World Championship standings. Now the Spaniard is 53 points ahead of his nearest rival Italy’s Valentino Rossi. In the next seven races of the season, Marquez has to ensure that he doesn’t crash out in any race and takes the podium in some of those races. The next up for him is the British MotoGP at Silverstone on coming Sunday.
At the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg Austria on August 14, Marquez did creditably to finish fifth because in the practice session a day earlier, the world championship leader had dislocated his left shoulder. Despite heavy bandages, the pain didn’t allow Marquez to match the pace of Ducati duo of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso. The race belonged to Iannone and Dovizioso as they ended Ducati’s six-year win drought. Iannone was first and Dovizioso second. It was also Iannone’s maiden triumph in a MotoGP contest.
Iannone had taken the pole on Saturday and he led from the first minute. However, all through the race, Iannone kept battling with teammate Dovizioso along with Yamaha pair of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. The pace of the two Ducati riders was too great for any other rider to overtake them though Rossi briefly snatched the lead in lap 10. In the end however, Iannone defeated Dovizioso by a second for the 1-2 finish for Ducati. Rossi took the third spot on podium ahead of Jorge Lorenzo while Marquez covered a lot of ground to finish fifth. Ducati’s last MotoGP win was engineered 6 years ago by Australian Casey Stoner, who won three times in the 2010 season as a Ducati rider before moving on to Repsol Honda in 2011.
On August 21, another maiden MotoGP victory was scored by Great Britain’s LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow. In one of the most spectacular MotoGP victories in recent years, Crutchlow sliced through the field in Brno at Czech Republic. In the process, Crutchlow became the first British MotoGP winner in 35 years. Conditions were tricky at Brno and riders appeared confused over the tyre choice. Crutchlow started on hard wet-tyre while majority of riders chose soft rubber. In the early laps, Crutchlow’s decision looked foolhardy as he remained in the midfield, while those with soft tyres cruised merrily past him. After the halfway mark, however, those on Soft tyres found their rubber giving way even as Crutchlow surged past to win ahead of Valentino Rossi. Marquez took the third spot on the podium at Brno. Crutclow had previously taken the podium 9 times but never in the supreme position. Therefore, he was very happy to earn the first-ever MotoGP win of his career. The Brit’s victory was even more creditable because he met with a huge accident during practice earlier on Saturday.
Next Sunday at Silverstone will be crucial for most MotoGP riders. Everybody is worried about the unpredictable weather with practice sessions starting on September 2 and the main race scheduled for September 4. With 6 more races after Silverstone, Marquez leads the World Championship standings by 53 points over closest rival Valentino Rossi of Italy. The margin is comfortable and big enough for Marquez but he cannot afford to the mid-race crash. Last year his race at Silverstone was marked by the crash but Marquez has continued. In 2010, he won the 125cc and in 2014, he emerged as the champion. Therefore, it is the crunch time for Marquez. If he comes out unscathed at Silverstone, he will become unstoppable in his quest for the third MotoGP World Championship title in 2016.