Valentino Rossi reclaimed the lead of the MotoGP world championship on Sunday by winning a damp British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
A sudden rain shower caused the start of the race to be delayed to allow the riders to change to their wet bikes, but when it did eventually get underway, it was Rossi’s Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo who took the lead ahead of Honda’s Marc Marquez.
Rossi had assumed the lead of the race by the end of the second lap, though, from where he controlled proceedings at the front of the field en route to his fourth win of the 2015 season.
Pole-sitter Marquez did his best to stay with Rossi in the early stages of the race as the front two opened up a healthy gap to the chasing pack, but an error from the Spaniard caused him to crash out on lap 13.
Danilo Petrucci emerged as a surprise contender for the race victory on his Pramac Racing Ducati in the second half of the race, carving through the field in the changeable conditions at an astonishing rate of knots.
The Italian rider was unable to catch Rossi late on, though, allowing the nine-time world champion to cross the line in the spray and clinch the race win at Silverstone.
Petrucci kept his cool late on to finish second, marking his first podium finish in MotoGP at the 61st attempt. Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the top three on the factory Ducati bike.
Jorge Lorenzo limited the damage of Rossi’s victory by finishing fourth, meaning that he now trails his teammate by 12 points at the top of the standings. Dani Pedrosa finished fifth for Honda, whilst Scott Redding celebrated a new MotoGP deal for 2016 by finishing as the top British rider in P6.
The next round of the MotoGP season takes place in San Marino on September 13.
Valtteri Bottas nipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone qualifying Saturday to maintain the team’s hammerlock on F1 results this season while Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise in third.
Hulkenberg is filling in for Sergio Perez for the second consecutive race while the Racing Point driver recovers from coronavirus.
It’s the best F1 start since 2016 for Hulkenberg, who was left without a full-time ride after the 2019 season. He finished 20th at Silverstone last week when an engine problem on the grid prevented him ftaking the green.
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“The last seven to eight days have been crazy,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying. “This weekend I felt much better prepared. Q3 was just head down, full beans, and give it whatever I had.
“I’m a bit surprised to be standing here, but there’s a big smile on my face.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth and will be among the field trying to derail the Mercedes duo that has won the first four races of an F1 season delayed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Feels good,” Bottas said after nipping Hamilton by a few hundredths of a second on his final lap for his 13th career pole position. ” I just love qualifying especially, when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. The race pace is there, so our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there.”
The impressive lap came two days after Bottas, who won the season opener in Austria, announced a one-year contract extension with the team.
Mercedes also is set to begin negotiating a new deal with Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1 but was disappointed Saturday.
“Valtteri did a great job, but for me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap,” he said. “I don’t think many teams will be doing a one-stop race tomorrow so let’s wait and see how things turn out.”