2016 is turning out to be an amazing MotoGP season, where the last six races have seen six different winners. Beginning with the Italian GP on May 22 won by Jorge Lorenzo, Catalunya MotoGP on June 5 was taken by Valentino Rossi; Jack Miller won at the Dutch GP on June 26; Marc Marquez won at Germany on July 17; Andrea Iannone won the Austrian GP on August 14 and Cal Crutchlow took the top podium at Czech Republic on August 21. The sixth different winner was produced by the Octo British MotoGP on September 4, where Maverick Vinales of Suzuki Ecstar took the top podium. Thus in the first 12 races of the season, there have been seven winners so far with Lorenzo and Marquez ending as winners three times and Rossi twice. But at Silverstone on Sunday, Vinales was in the class of his own. He began on the front row and led all the way from the start, before crossing the finish line more than 3 seconds clear of Cal Crutchlow. Valentino Rossi completed the podium ahead of Marc Marquez. It was the second podium finish for the 2013 Moto3 world champion Vinales after le Mans, where the Spaniard took the third place behind Lorenzo and Rossi. Though Marc Marquez lost a few points at Silverstone, he still leads the riders’ standing with 210 points to Rossi’s 160. Lorenzo is third at 146.
Spanish rider Maverick Vinales made history for Suzuki to emerge as only the third rider for his team in 16 years to win the MotoGP. In 2007, Suzuki rider Chris Vermeulen had taken the top podium finish while riding in pouring rain at Le Mans and seven years earlier in 2000, Kenny Roberts Jr had won during the 500cc era, when MotoGP was yet to be christened. But Sunday’s victory for Vinales was so emphatic that he led in all19 laps of the Silverstone circuit and beat the second-placed Brit Cal Crutchlow by almost 3.5 seconds. The race had a dramatic first lap even as Vinales shot forward ahead of pole-winner Crutchlow. Behind them, Avintia Racing’s Loris Baz and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro made contact with each other after a fast approach to Turn 3. Baz was taking an evasive action to avoid a collision with Danilo Petrucci, who had applied the brakes ahead of him and collided with Espargaro. Both Baz and Espargaro along with their bikes were thrown across the grass and later they fell back on the track. The race was immediately red-flagged and later restarted without the two of them. They were taken to the medical center with the unconscious Baz, who regained consciousness in the ambulance. Medical checks on Baz revealed nothing serious except a sprained right ankle.
On restart, three riders on front row; Crutchlow, Rossi and Vinales fought for the lead but Vinales soon left Crutchlow in his wake and pulled away. Behind him, five riders gave a hot chase led by Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, Ducati’s Andrea Iannone and Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa. 2015 champion Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo had a difficult race, despite his stunning record at Silverstone. But Vinales was unruffled by all that was happening on his back. Austrian MotoGP winner Andrea Iannone of Team Ducati crashed out with 6 laps remaining and left Crutchlow, Rossi and Marquez to fight out for podium. With Vinales looking unbeatable at Silverstone, race leaders Marquez and Rossi fought for points, pride and supremacy. They made some incredible moves and finally Marquez broke free from Rossi and closed on Crutchlow. Later Marquez ran deep and dropped back to nullify all the good work. Meanwhile Vinales had built a nearly 5 seconds’ lead over Crutchlow, who did his best to cut it down in the last lap. Regardless, Vinales was the first to reach the finish line with Crutchlow 3.48 second adrift. Rossi took the third place on the podium and cut his championship deficit to Marquez by 3 points. Marquez was fourth ahead of teammate Pedrosa, Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso was sixth; second Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Aleix Espargaro seventh; Movistar Yamaha’s Lorenzo finished eighth; Octo Pramac’s Danilo Petrucci ninth and Aprilia Racing’s Alvaro Bautista completed the top ten.
Next week, the riders head for the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano and including that, only 6 races remain in this MotoGP season. Championship leader Marquez must ensure that he finishes ahead of Rossi and Lorenzo even if he cannot win many of the remaining races. His 50 point lead is a very comfortable margin but if the two-time World Champion is not careful, he could be in trouble.