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Team Ecstar Suzuki to lose privilleges with Maverick Vinales’ British MotoGP win

04 Sep

Photos courtesy of Team Ecstar Suzuki

Vinales_Speed

Maverick Viñales  has taken a historic first win for Suzuki since their return to the championship, as the 2013 Moto3 world champion was in a class of his own at the Octo British Grand Prix to become the seventh winner so far in 2016. Viñales, who got his first podium in Le Mans in the French GP, got a front row start and simply pulled away once clear at the front – putting in an incredible performance to cross the line over 3 seconds clear. After an almighty battle behind, it was home hero and pole sitter Cal Crutchlow  and Valentino Rossi  who completed the podium.

However, the win would take away the advantages Suzuki currently enjoys – extra engines for a full season and no freeze on engine development, which are put in place for teams which have yet to win a dry race or regular podium finishes. Ducati has its privileges removed at end of the 2015 season for being a regular podium finishers and scored the elusive win recently with Andrea Iannone at the Austrian MotoGP race held in Red Bull Ring in Austria.

There was Lap 1 drama as the Octo British Grand Prix got underway, with rain threatening the grid and bike swaps practiced in morning Warm Up, but the weather remained dry for the length of the race. With the initial lights out it was Maverick Viñales at the front, before an incident between Loris Baz and Pol Espargaro brought out the red flag and the two riders went to the medical center. On the restart, the front row of the grid of Crutchlow, Rossi and Viñales fought for the lead, with Crutchlow taking the position early before Viñales got through to lead and pull away.

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With Viñales away at the front once again, Marc Marquez led a five bike train of Rossi, Crutchlow, Andrea Iannone  and Marquez’ teammate Dani Pedrosa in the chase, with reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo having a difficult race as he circulated in P8 despite his stunning record at the British venue. With Rossi then taking over in P2, Viñales was still over two seconds clear and the chase was on.

Iannone, after making his way to the front of the chasing group, then lost his Ducati with 6 laps to go and suffered a DNF, leaving Crutchlow in P2 and Rossi and Marquez to duel it out. With the Italian and the Spaniard the two men at the top of the championship – although Marquez 53 points clear – it was a battle royale for points, pride and supremacy as the two fought it out. With characteristic hard racing and some incredible moves from each, Marquez eventually broke away from his Italian title rival to close on Crutchlow – before running deep and dropping back behind teammate Pedrosa into P5, into another battle that he just won to come home P4. Pedrosa had a calmer ride than his teammate to the top five, but looked to have made an incredible leap forward in the setup of his Repsol Honda as he got back to the front.

Andrea Dovizioso came home P6 in a solid ride despite having twisted his knee in a testing crash ahead of the event, with Aleix Espargaro on the second Team Suzuki Ecstar similarly riding after a recent injury to come home P7. Jorge Lorenzo crossed the line eighth after struggling for grip, with Danilo Petrucci and Alvaro Bautista completing the top ten. Home hero Scott Redding was the last to cross the line after a crash, with compatriot and replacement rider Alex Lowes coming home in P13 on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in a solid first MotoGP performance.

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The grid now head for Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for the next race, with Marquez still clear at the front despite Rossi taking a small amount of points back from the Spaniard’s lead.

 
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