In a season of twists and turns, MotoGP continued to intrigue at the last round at Silverstone. Ducati factory rider Andrea Dovizioso claimed his fourth victory of the season and with it reclaimed the lead in the championship, a position he last held after the Dutch round five races ago.
The win at Silverstone made it 100 MotoGP wins by Italian riders since the introduction of the class in 2002. Spain, however, remains at the head of that particular battle with 119 wins to date.
Dovizioso has now won more races than any other rider in 2017. His nearest rival Marc Marquez, with three wins, retired at Silverstone with a blown engine, slipping to second in the championship. Marquez is nine points behind Dovizioso, and only four ahead of third-placed Maverick Vinales, who finished second at the British round.
The podium at Silverstone was completed by Vinales’ team mate Valentino Rossi, who remains fourth in the championship, 13 points behind Vinales and nine ahead of Dani Pedrosa in fifth. Johann Zarco remains the top non-factory rider, in sixth place.
The demise of Marquez’s Honda engine at Silverstone was a rarity, it was the first the young Spaniard had experienced since coming to MotoGP in 2013. It was also the first time that a factory Honda engine had failed since Phillip Island in 2007.
Heading to the San Marino round this weekend, Dovizioso can become only the second Italian rider to win two premier class races on home soil in one season, a feat so far only achieved by Rossi. Should he win at San Marino he would become only the sixth rider in MotoGP history to win three or more successive races.
Preparations for the San Marino race have been overshadowed by the news that Rossi has suffered a broken leg in a training accident and will miss his home round, effectively putting on hold any aspirations he had to take his 10th world championship. Rossi will not be replaced for this weekend's race.
Of the 10 races held at the Misano circuit since its return to the calendar in 2007, six have been won by Yamaha, the most recent by Rossi in 2014. Ducati has one victory, but that came back in 2007 with Casey Stoner, and since then it has achieved only two podium finishes.
Honda has taken victory in the past two years, with Marquez in 2015 and last year with Pedrosa.
1. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 183 points
2. Marc Marquez (Honda) 174
3. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 170
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 157
5. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 148
6. Johann Zarco (Yamaha) 109
Franco Morbidelli’s third-place finish last time out at Silverstone, his eighth podium of the year, saw him stretch his lead at the head of the Moto2 championship to 29 points with six rounds remaining.
His nearest rival Thomas Luthi could only manage fourth, with third-placed Alec Marquez finishing a lowly 14th. Luthi’s fourth place meant it was only the third time this season the Swiss rider has failed to finish on the podium.
The win was taken by Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami, his second career win in the class. Nakagami is scheduled to make his 100th start in the class at this weekend's Misano round, becoming only the seventh rider to reach this milestone since the introduction of the class in 2010.
Of the current Moto2 grid, only Nakagami, Luthi and Lorenzo Baldassarri have finished on the podium at Misano.
1. Franco Morbidelli (Kalex) 223 points
2. Thomas Luthi (Kalex) 194
3. Alex Marquez (Kalex) 155
4. Miguel Oliveira (KTM) 141
5. Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) 111
6. Mattia Pasini (Kalex) 104
Aron Canet’s win at Silverstone, his third of the season, saw him gain 15 points on series leader Joan Mir, who came home in fifth place.
It was the Spaniard's third win of the season, and career, and ended a run of three straight wins by Mir, who remains the only rider on the grid to have scored points in every race so far this season.
The two Spaniards are now separated by 64 points, with Italian rider Romano Fenati two points adrift of Canet in third.
1. Joan Mir ( Honda) 226 points
2. Aron Canet (Honda) 162
3. Romano Fenati (Honda) 160
4. Jorge Martin (Honda) 121
5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) 101
6. John McPhee (Honda) 96
British Superbike Championship preview
This weekend's triple header at Silverstone is the last round of the regular season of the 2017 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship. For the first time since the introduction of the showdown format, no riders have cemented their place in the end-of-season shoot-out.
With a maximum of 75 points up for grabs over the weekend's three races (25 points for a win), the six showdown places can be claimed by any of the current top nine riders.
The last round at Cadwell was eventful, with both of the current top two of Byrne and Haslam only finishing one race each. It was James Ellison and Peter Hickman who took full advantage of Byrne's and Haslam's misfortune. Ellison claimed 31 points including a win in race two, while Hickman amassed 29 points, taking third and second respectively in the two races.
Those points cemented Hickman's third place in the championship and increased his gap to fourth place to 15 points. While Ellison brought himself into contention for a showdown place, it looks unlikely that the Cumbrian will make the top six as he has a 42-point gap to bridge to current sixth-place man Luke Mossey.
The team-mate of Haslam, Mossey dropped from fourth to sixth by virtue of sitting out the Cadwell round due to injury, but is hoping to be fit for this weekend's showdown decider and secure a place in the end-of-season shoot-out for the second year in succession.
Going on current form, it looks like the top four in the standings should qualify for the showdown, leaving Josh Brookes, Luke Mossey, Jake Dixon and Christian Iddon to fight it out for the remaining two places.
British Superbike Championship standings
1. Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) 219 points
2. Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 209
3. Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW) 193
4. Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) 178
5. Josh Brookes (Anvil Hire Tag Yamaha) 167
6. Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) 161
7. Jake Dixon (RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki) 156
8. Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) 153
9. James Ellison (McAms Yamaha) 119