Forty years on from the first ever UK mainland Grand Prix, Silverstone will this weekend host the event for the eighth consecutive year. And it was Siverstone that held that first mainland event in 1977 after the event was moved from the Isle of Man TT circuit.
The recently departed Angel Nieto along with Kork Ballington share the record for most Grand Prix wins at the circuit with six. In the intervening years the event moved to Donnington Park, a circuit much preferred by many race fans, though the riders favour of Silverstone, an ultra-fast former airfield.
The circuit is almost 6km in length with 28 corners. Since MotoGPs return to the Northamptonshire circuit only one rider, Jorge Lorenzo, has claimed victory on more than one occasion. Lorenzo’s most recent of three victories at the circuit came in 2013. The three years following this has seen three different race winners, with last years race being won by then factory Suzuki rider Maverick Vinales.
The Spaniard and team mate Valentino Rossi come to the UK on the back of some disappointing results recently where their Yamaha’s have struggled for rear grip. Recent results have seen Vinales drop from second to third in the championship standings behind Adrea Dovizioso who took a spectacular win at the last round in Austria after a fierce battle with championship leader Marc Marquez.
With the win in Austria Dovizioso became only the ninth rider in the MotoGP era to win three or more races in one season. Though finishing second Marquez extended his lead in the championship. Marquez will be aiming to make it six consecutive podium finishes on Sunday, something he has not achieved since 2104. And with just 35 points covering the top five places, 2017 continues to be the closest title race since the present points system was introduced in 1993.
Prior to 2017 the smallest points gap between first and fifth was 68 points in 2000, and 2006. Dani Pedrosa's third place finish in Austria means the diminutive Spaniard has now stood on the podium in seven of the last nine races, his previous seven podium finishes were spread over 22 races. Pedrosa is now only two points behind Rossi, who currently lies in fourth place. Sixth place in the championship is taken by Johann Zarco on the Tech 3 Yamaha.
Zarco continues to not only be the highest-placed satellite rider, but also highest-placed rookie. Thanks to his fifth place finish in Austria he now has a 22 point lead over the second placed rookie, team mate Jonas Folgar. In Austria Zarco was, for the third time this season the highest placed Yamaha rider.
Should he start the race Sunday Valentino Rossi will become the first rider in history to start in 300 premier class Grand Prix.
1. Marc Marquez (Honda) 174 points
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 158
3. Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 150
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 141
5. Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 139
6. Johann Zarco (Yamaha) 99
Franco Morbidelli extended his championship lead in Austria by virtue of winning his seventh race of the eleven so far this season. The last rider to achieve this in the intermediate class was Jorge Lorenzo in 2007. At last years Silverstone race Morbidelli finished second which equalled his best ever race finish at the time. Team mate to Morbidelli, and younger brother to Marc, Alex Marquez goes to Silverstone on the back of a second place finish in Austria, his fifth podium of the season.
Marquez currently sits comfortably in third place, 24 points adrift of second placed Thomas Luthi and 23 ahead of Miguel Oliveira in fourth. The top six is completed by Mattia Pasini in fifth and Francesco Bagnaia in sixth. Bagnaia’s fourth place in Austria took his seasons points tall to 99 making him the fifth highest scoring rookie in the series over the first eleven races.
1. Franco Morbidelli Kalex 206
2. Thomas Luthi Kalex 177
3. Alex Marquez Kalex 153
4. Miguel Oliveira KTM 130
5. Mattia Pasini Kalex 104
6. Francesco Bagnaia Kalex 99
By taking victory in Austria and taking his winning tally to seven from the first eleven races Joan Mir became the first rider to achieve this in the small class since Valentino Rossi in 1997 when the Italian won nine. That year Rossi won the championship winning eleven of the fifteen races. Last year in his rookie season Mir finished a credible ninth at Silverstone.
Mir now leads the championship from Romano Fenati by 64 points; the highest margin after eleven races in Moto3 since 2006. Mirs win was the tenth win of the season for Honda. The top six places in the championship are currently all taken by Honda powered machines. The highest placed non Honda is the KTM of Marcos Ramirez.
1. Joan Mir (Honda) 215
2. Romano Fenati Honda 151
3. Aron Canet Honda 137
4. Jorge Martin Honda 105
5. Fabio Di Giannantonio Honda 95
6. John McPhee Honda 93