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GP Week : Issue 158
I n spite of all previous forecasts, the weather stayed dry at Silverstone on race day. Other predictions proved more accurate. Like that made by Yamaha’s first-ever premier class World Champion Giacomo Agostini – that Jorge Lorenzo would win. Ago had little choice, speaking at a function hosted by Yamaha with Lorenzo by his side. Jorge had given his rivals more leeway, off the front row again after getting caught out by a late rain shower in qualifying. He took it all back over 20 laps of the fine, long and fast old-new airfield circuit, making just one slip, quickly recovered. His lead dropped from 2.3 seconds to 1.8 on that lap, but was up to 3.3 by the flag. The second half of the race was somewhat austere, but dramatic early laps made up for it. An unusual front row, partly the result of the shower late in qualifying, had Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda) on pole, from Ben Spies (Yamaha) and Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda). It was Spies away first from the start, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), on the second row with Lorenzo, for once getting boxed in before he could escape. Spies led for four laps, chased by Stoner, Bautista and fast-away Nicky Hayden (Marlboro Ducati). Team-mate Valentino Rossi, the only one to risk using the harder tyre option in sunny but cool conditions, languished at the back of the top ten. The front quartet gained a little gap, with Lorenzo now heading the chase from Andrea Dovizioso (Monster Yamaha), Pedrosa and Hector Barbera (Pramac Ducati). Hayden, mindful that his Duke might chew up the softer tyre later on, was making the most of the early laps, had a strong stab at Bautista, but one lap later was starting to run wide. He succumbed to the advancing Lorenzo on lap six, and later the same lap missed the apex by so much that Dovi and Pedrosa also go by. He would fade from then on. On lap five Stoner had taken advantage of a slip by Spies to edge ahead, and at once started to work on his lead, up to almost a second on lap seven. Lorenzo could see the danger. Spies was losing pace and was an easy victim, and his smooth lines and high corner speed carried him past Bautista easily enough, so he was now in second place. Now the race was on. By lap nine he was with the Honda. “At the beginning the pace was really fast, faster than practice, but I waited a bit to see my position, and when they slowed a bit I could take my chance,” he said, adding: “We are making a perfect season to now.” Stoner resisted, but knew the outcome: “At the beginning of the race I was having to push really hard, and I had no edge grip, especially on the left-hand side, and I was pushing in areas where I was not too happy to push. It seemed there was something wrong with the left hand side of the tyre, even from early on.” Lorenzo blew by at the start of lap 12, and Stoner defended vigorously, squaring off the corners while the Yamaha was sweeping round smoothly. The fight was over before the lap was ended, and within four laps Lorenzo was better than two seconds ahead. Pedrosa had been following Dovi through when the Italian 27 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> SILVERSTONE