BritishGP: “Every Race Can Change Everything”
Dovizioso has been saying it all year, and Silverstone was a reminder it’s true.
It’s true that every race of 2017 so far has told a different story, but it’s also true that there have been some consistent protagonists. Marc Marquez is one, with consistency that Yamaha have been dreaming of, and Silverstone was a great reminder that it’s not just pace, tyres and the weather that can affect the championship - it’s also the bikes.
- MotoGP - Silverstone - 2017 -
The machinery in MotoGP is incredibly reliable. That confidence that the riders have – and the viewers all have – mean it’s easy to forget how big an effect it can have on the outcome of the season. So when an engine blows for the reigning Champion, it’s that sudden jolt to the memory that every kilometer counts.
With another 25 points in the bag – becoming the first rider to win four races this year – Dovizioso has now taken back the championship lead from Marquez. But the number 93 is only nine points back, and is still ahead of the man we expected to be the leader, Maverick Viñales. Rossi is only just behind him, and in a slight twist of fate for the Repsol Honda Team, it was Marquez’ loss that has proved Dani Pedrosa’s gain. The number 26 is still very much in contention despite a tough weekend, losing no real ground to the score at the top of the standings as the man in the lead switched once again.
- Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS - MotoGP - Silverstone - 2017 -
No rider has won the premier class crown with more than three DNFs since 1998, so if Marquez is to bounce back and do just that, he’ll prove once again just how deserving he is of his trophies. But in 2017, 3 DNFs hasn’t dented his title chances in the way it once may have done, because the title contenders aren’t where they are by way of the old methods of winning, winning and winning.
Marquez is still second despite his three DNFs because he’s been consistently on the pace – and making that a point of focus more than simply gunning for glory. That’s similar to Pedrosa, although the older Repsol Honda rider only has one win so far, as he’s now been on the podium in seven of the last ten races. His seventh at Silverstone tells of his form this year by how surprising it is.
- Andrea Dovizioso #04 - Ducati Corse - MotoGP - Silverstone - 2017 -
So what of the others? Dovizioso has been the true king of consistency. Some dips in the record exist, of course, but he’s stayed on the bike and the bike has treated him well. DesmoDovi has only one DNF so far – and that wasn’t even his fault, he was collected by another rider. So that may start the Jaws music a little for those who don’t believe he could go all the way – the Ducati works, the team figure out the tyres better than anyone, and the rider is in the form of his life. And the championship leader hasn’t had to risk or sacrifice any of his sensibility and consistency as a rider.
That said, there may be more Jaws music a little further down the standings after both Yamahas got on the podium. That shouldn’t be a surprise, but a surprise it was to some extent because the temperatures were hotter, the sun was out and the two blue machines didn’t suddenly fall off the pace mid-race as the tyres dropped. That makes a good case for believing the hype from both riders following their test at Misano, where they worked almost solely on electronics to sort out that issue.
- Maverick Viñales #25 - Andrea Dovizioso #04 - Valentino Rossi #46 - MotoGP - Silverstone - 2017 -
And next is Misano, meaning they have data. But so do their competitors, who didn’t use their test days simply to work on an issue. The grid is prepared for the next race and there are two men who will be particularly keen to get going on the Adriatic: Pedrosa and Lorenzo. Pedrosa because he was unmatchably dominant last season, and Lorenzo because it’s a venue where his record glitters like few others. That was true of Silverstone and the number 99 was fifth, but he was also only three and a half seconds off the win. By lap, that works out as 0.175 seconds. Pretty close, right?
Six races to go and 35 points over the top five mean it’s still closer than ever. And now we’re reminded, when we do the maths based on where they finish, that they may not finish at all – and through no fault of their own.
It looks like we’re going all the way to Valencia.
- Valentino Rossi #46 - Movistar Yamaha - MotoGP - Silverstone - 2017 -
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