Redding: Tyre choice cost me a win

An eventful Sunday for Octo Pramac Yakhnich, a potential win went during the Czech Grand Prix after a difficult week end.

Scott Redding challenges for the lead with Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso in the Ducati leading trio and remains glued to the Austrian Grand Prix winner until lap 15 when the front tyre betrays him. Petrux, forced to start from the 16th position, manages to be consistent, catching position after position until the double overtaking on the last lap which earned him a valuable seventh.

Scott starts well from the 13th position and laps very fast. On lap 2, setting the fastest time, he is already third. Two laps later another best-lap let him overtake Dovizioso. Halfway through the race he is still trying to catch Iannone, then an abnormal consumption of the front tyre, perhaps due to the soft compound that has held up in a less than ideal condition as the track started to dry up. This forced him to slow down to get to the finish line. For Scott, only one point at the finish sounds like a joke.

Petrux also got off to a good start. Between the first and second lap, he easily passes Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo to place himself firmly between the seventh and ninth. Even when three laps to go Baz and Laverty were able to overcome him, exploiting the hard rubber, Danilo remained focused and on the last lap he managed to pass Vinales and Iannone (who experienced the same problem of Scott) for a precious seventh.

Scott Redding: Front tyre cost me a race win

I was very happy with my race. I made a good start and was going well. I felt a great feeling and I was in control. The set up of the bike was perfect. I felt that the front tire was starting not to be performing but it was a normal thing, and I would even settle for Top 6. I was also able to recover some tenths to the front group. But suddenly the uncommon degradation of the front tyre cost me the race win. It’s a shame.

Danilo Petrucci: Tyre choice was decisive

I can not say to be particularly satisfied even if P7 is a good result. It has been a strange race. We had a good pace in the warm-up and we have made many changes. The tyre choice was decisive. Maybe we could have a chance with the hard front but we have goals and I wanted to do the race on my target that is the Top 10. In the end I managed to reach the seventh and is not bad. I would like to thank the team and all the people who are close to me.

Michael Howarth: I’m not stacking shelves at Morrisons!

It isn’t everyday you get to interview a top quality British Superbike racer but today, I spoke to Michael Howarth about his injuries, his past, present and future and other things such as the loss of bestfriend Karl Harris and MotoGP and WSBK this season. He said in one word that 2016 has been painfull, so be prepared to be amused (not by me); Michael opens up to me whilst he was having his haircut. Enjoy!

Who got you hooked into bikes and how?

Well I got myself into bikes, after I got injured in 2000 playing in Rugby League, as I was a professional Rugby League player at the time. I snapped my ankle and even though I recovered I just never really got back to where I wanted to be. If I’m honest I got bored, so I went out and bought the new SP1. I took it on a track day and started beating all these lads, little did I know they were a bunch of nobodies. I thought to myself, “Im Rossi” and that I’m off and going to be a big thing. I would never have picked any other sport. It wasn’t going to be snooker, because I actually have a penis! I had motocrossers since I was a kid so I’ve always been with bikes. I had road bikes from 1997 too.

What was the plan for 2016?

I got my own team back up and running with an old Shaun Muir Yamaha, the 2014 Josh Brookes bike. To get the team up and running properly would cost around 250,000 but I was getting nowhere near it. So then I took my sponsors, had a meeting with Tony Dexter and joined MotoDex BMW. However, then I completed two laps before sending myself to the moon and doing myself up. It was an odd crash because the bike was warmed up perfectly and everything.

What is the plan for the rest of the season?

Well I will be back at Cadwell Park, that is for sure. Whether I am on the pace or not is another matter. I’ve got a CAT scan on my hip so that decides what happens after. I might miss Donington because it is a bit too close with Oulton Park. Saying that, I might be alright because I didn’t ride Brands so I had time off.

How do you motivate yourself every morning to come back from your injuries?

Not raced since Karl’s death, I wanted to get back out there to ride with him, you know? Biggest thing that gets me is Morrison staff stacking shelves. They look so bored. I’m going to do something I enjoy! The doctor said I wasn’t going to walk since December but you can’t let a crash end your career when it isn’t career ending. OK, I broke my shoulder, knackered my hip and broke my back but it’s nothing that won’t mend.

Who are your sponsors?

Traction Chargers who do fancy battery chargers for Jaguar and Land Rover, based in Devizes. E-Dynamics who own 4/5 Volkswagen branches. Without them, I don’t race, it’s as simple as that. Because I’m chasing sponsors 24/7, I don’t have a day job as such. I could be rich and retired by now if I wasn’t a racer but there would be no fun in that.

Back in the early days, I rode for Malcom Ashley. In 2007, I was riding at Brands, when the front forks snapped on me at about 170mph. Tena4Men sponsored me, but then in 2008 they came on board as a title sponsor. It was my own team, I rode alongside Tristan Palmer. When that came to an end, I became a bit of a journeyman really. I couldn’t find anything proper. Riding a bike is easy, but finding sponsors is difficult.

Do you ever see yourself giving bike racing up for good?

Yes; Ive only got a year or so left in me now. I don’t see myself going to Superstock 1000 like Michael Rutter did. He is only doing that because nothing came about in BSB and also because he is more focused on the roads. He’s getting good prize money over on TT, he doesn’t need to do the BSB Superbike class anymore.

What will you do after bike racing?

I see myself in team management; I’ve done it before. At Tena4Men, as you know we ran Tristan Palmer, who got us a sixth place finish at Silverstone which put him 10th overall in the championship. In the future, I don’t see me running a BMW. It’s too expensive to run. I don’t really know what I would run until I sit down with manufacturers, but if I said one now, it would probably be the new Honda, because it so easy going and cheaper to run.

I tell you what, I’d love to bring Niccolo Canepa over to this country; he could win a British Superbike championship tomorrow given the chance. I don’t understand why he hasn’t been bought over before by somebody already. Canepa has done MotoGP, WSBK; he’s a bit lucky he isn’t going to prison like but it’s just one of those things aint it! I’d also like Kiyonari, me and him are good friends through Karl Harris, when they were teammates back in 2006. At Thruxton, Martin Halsall said to me will you go and have a word with him to sort him out, and I did! The talent is there but there’s just something not there for him. It’s been since the crash at Oulton Park with Shakey and he just hasn’t managed to shake it off yet.

Most rewarding thing about being a bike racer?

Well, you are doing the job you love and getting paid for it! I’m doing the thing that millions of people want to do. I aint stacking shelves at Morrisons!

Who do you see as the best young talent coming through?

Glenn Irwin. He has showed his talent; he’s got the podium to prove it. He’s come from nowhere, by which I mean people thought he would crash his brains out and get sacked half way through the season but he’s gone about his job properly and done what he needed to. He has kept his head and I’m taking all the credit for the podium because I said he would get one when I was talking to him that weekend.

Buchan hasn’t shone considering his Superstock 1000 success. He needs traction control and that would be WSBK territory. He really would do it over there.

Mossey is there or there abouts, he just needs to take his time and preserve his tyres. He has the pace to win if he sits behind Shakey and looks after his tyres until the end.

Linfoot will win a race without a shadow of a doubt. Dan will stay with Honda next year if he has any sense, although I think O’Halloran may have annoyed him with that win at Snetterton.

Top 6 prediction in no order: Byrne, Haslam, Bridewell, Ellison if he can get the bike to work. It’s a free for all after that. It will be whoever can figure it out how to string some good results together.

Your greatest achievement?

Winning a SBK Cup race at Cadwell Park in 2006. I was fairly new to it at the time so if I had known it’d be last win I would have celebrated a lot more! I thought it would be expected of me to win again. I thought I’d be on my way. Cadwell anniversary this weekend will be alright if my body can hold together.

Karl Harris, best friend. How much did/does his death affect you?

Well at the time it destroyed me, as it would anyone, he was my best mate. I did a couple of BSB rounds after but I was lost; it was the first time I’d ever ridden in the championship without him and I couldn’t do it because he wasn’t there. He has inspired me to come back. I’ll never be a Karl Harris speed wise or results wise. The paddock misses him like mad. One of our best on-track memories was at Croft in 2006. F*****G Shakey Byrne cost me a podium after crashing at Knockhill in 2008; I was going to be third in race two but came 5th after he crashed and caused the red flags to come out! We (Michael and Karl) were both on the podium together at Croft anyway, it was a real joy. We had a proper crack in the paddock, we used to sneak off to my motorhome for cigarettes and then go around at night stealing everyone’s beer!

Ever thought about road racing?

I want to do the TT, I always have. I could have done the NW last year but it does absolutely nothing for me, similar to the Ulster GP. All I want to do is the TT and set a 125mph lap, then I’d walk away happy.

What was the lowest of the low for you?

Got to be when I was at Oulton Park this year and I was out of action after only two laps, having been away and off the bike for two seasons. Next thing I knew I was flying in a helicopter. At the time it absolutely ripped me apart, however it didn’t take me long to get back up to full health.

MotoGP and WSBK predictions.

Hmmmm WSBK. I think Rea will win again this year. I really do. Tom will be a close second. It wont be Kawasaki next year; Ducati and that will come along a lot stronger, there is a new Suzuki next year too. Kawasaki have got it sorted for this year but I think next season, we will see the competition be lot stronger and more competitive. I don’t know what Ducati are thinking taking Melandri on. Its utterly ridiculous. I would rather see Eugene on the bike but Melandri is only there because Ducati are skint, after they’ve just given Lorenzo 30 million dollars for two seasons. They offered Casey that much to come back and ride for them; they told me when I went to test their new Multistrada Enduro bike. Marco is bringing a bucket load of money to the team, that’s the only reason they want him. What has he got left to prove? He might prove me wrong and make me look like a plant-pot but he’s not got the motivation to say ‘OK, I’m going to win a title’.

For MotoGP, I think the little man is going to win it. I think Keith and Jules were right when they said Lorenzo won’t win it. It only takes one more wet race for him to do what he has done at Assen, Sachsenring and Brno. I think it could be a close run affair this year with Marc and Valentino. Rossi can take it to him. It’s only going to take one mistake from Marquez. Rossi won’t get any help from Jorge. He wasn’t relying on it from Jorge anyway and Marc won’t get help from Dani. There’d be murders if it was ever found out that Marc and Jorge worked together again.

Have you ever fallen out with any racers; are there any you dislike?

Naaah! To be fair, I’ve never seen something that makes me want to dislike someone or brand them as dangerous. I had a big rivalry with someone in club racing. They all raced ex Troy Bayliss bikes and he was moaning about the bikes not favouring him. We had a battle once and we ended banging fairings. We shook hands after, no animosity or anything. We just said that’s what you call a proper race, a proper battle.

Top 3 BSB races:

Hill and Hopkins, Brands Hatch, 2011

Haslam and Lavilla, Cadwell Park, 2006

Haslam and Harris, Croft, 2006.

For more exclusive interviews you can follow us on Twitter @PitCrew_Online, and for all bike related posts you can follow @MotoGPKiko. To keep up with Michael Howarth, you can follow him @howie94! Thanks to Gareth Davies once again for the fantastic picture.

Aprilia boys left unsatisfied after disastrous Czech Grand Prix

The weather had a strong impact on race Sunday at Brno. The heavy rainfall in the morning stopped a few minutes before the MotoGP start, forcing the riders to start in rain configuration, but with the possibility of a bike change during the race. There actually was an improvement in conditions, but the track maintained characteristics to allow the riders, albeit with some difficulty, to finish the race with rain tyres.

After the warm-up, the sensations in the Aprilia camp were good, as Alvaro Bautista’s eleventh best time and Stefan Bradl’s good pace demonstrated. With the track drying out and intermediate conditions, however, the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders were unable to find the right feeling. This was a situation that, with a first-season bike like the RS-GP, is to be expected when conditions are particularly unpredictable.

In any case, Stefan Bradl was back in the points at the chequered flag, thanks to his 14th place finish, whereas Alvaro Bautista (who also made a pit stop to change bikes, going back out with intermediate tyres), had to settle for sixteenth place.

Alvaro Bautista: I kept feeling like I was losing the front

“The track conditions were really tricky today. This morning during warmup in the wet, the feeling was not bad, but in the race I struggled a lot, especially in braking. I always had the feeling I was losing the front, so I wasn’t able to push, whereas coming out of corners I was losing a lot more than my rivals were. Nine laps from the end I made a pit stop to change bikes, but even with the intermediate tyres we were unable to improve our position. Now we need to leave this race behind us and focus on improving the RS-GP, getting back to our level in the next round at Silverstone”.

Stefan Bradl: Our electronics setting didn’t work

“Today we did not make any mistakes at the start and we finished the race, so we were not lacking in concentration. In any case, I am not satisfied with the way things went. In the first laps I had a good pace, managing to stay with the group, but then, when the asphalt began to dry out, our electronics setting did not work as well as it could have. The traction control limited me very much coming out of corners. It was a feeling I had in the warm-up as well and we made some changes to try and improve it, but evidently it wasn’t enough”.

Big plans for 2017 for Superstock Star Godfrey

After parting company with Morello Racing in the National Superstock 1000 series a few months ago, I caught up with Ben Godfrey once again, to see how he is getting on riding back in his own team. The former National Superstock 600 podium finisher is only doing a selected few rounds this season, and will therefore not be in action at Cadwell Park this coming weekend.

How has your season been so far, obviously the parting with Morello wasn’t what you had in mind?

The season has been a good learning season due to the switch in manufacture change. We have had to learn a completely new style and characteristic of bike! I really enjoyed riding both of them. The Kawasaki is a real strong package but I’m really enjoying being in my own team again and loving the BMW. It’s hard to explain the difference between the two manufacturers but for me the way the power is delivered and the quality of the motorcycle! Also saying that, the Kawasaki is an excellent bike.

Any new sponsors and what are the plans for 2017?

I have a new main sponsor this year; Gary from led solutions and Sygnet signs. And we are really focusing on next season as this year we are taking all the track time as testing, hence why I’m racing in the NG road racing championship, and not full time in the BSB paddock. We have a great plan for next year and all looks extremely exciting, so hopefully we will have more on this soon.

Did you leave Morello on good terms?

We ended on good terms as things just weren’t working how I and the team wanted or expected to. However, I still keep in touch with the team and wish them all the best, we are still friends and we didn’t fallout. I’m still very good friends with my team mates from the team Fraser and Davey.

Explain to everyone just how much effort is required to be fast in the BSB paddock?

To make a great team it’s a huge effort from everyone. Everyone has to be on point, the chemistry when we are working together is very important. To be anywhere near the factory teams is a great achievement for myself and my little team! There’s 5 factory riders and teams in front: Mackenzie, Rutter, Elliot, Hutchy and Farmer.

You can keep up with all of Ben’s racing on Twitter, @Ben16Godfrey. You can also follow @PitCrew_Online, for more exclusive interviews from various motorsport series. If you don’t like to be entertained and like being bored, you can follow me @MotoGPKiko.

Rossi and Yamaha pull off Strategical Mastermind, Lorenzo Last

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi brilliantly turned the Grand Prix Ceské Republiky around today, claiming an incredible second place on the podium after making a perfect tyre decision. Jorge Lorenzo secured seventeenth position after being forced to switch machines twice due to a problem with the front tyre on his first bike.

Wet conditions made for uncertainty regarding the tyre decision at the start of today’s race at the Automotodrom Brno. Rossi had a cautious start as he launched his Yamaha from sixth on the grid and dropped back to twelfth position, before picking up the pace. The Italian overtook his teammate for eleventh place but was then passed by Dani Pedrosa.

After waiting seven laps for his harder spec tyre to get up to temperature, The Doctor knew it was time to put the hammer down. He had to let Cal Crutchlow go in front and followed him to Pedrosa, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, who he passed with 14 laps to go. A lap later Rossi gained a position as Andrea Dovizioso suffered a technical problem. The Italian kept following Crutchlow and continued to work his way past Danilo Petrucci and Maverick Viñales, as Aleix Espagaró retired from the race, and then set his sights on Marc Marquez in fifth place, overtaking him with seven laps to go.

Riding as the fastest man on track the nine times World Champion passed Hector Barbera a lap later and had the crowds cheering as he wrestled second place from Andrea Iannone. Rossi then quickly took off, creating a distance between himself and the Italian, but soon realised that the margin between him and the now leading Crutchlow had grown too large to close in the last four laps. The Doctor decided to settle for second place, finishing 7.298s from first and taking twenty points for the championship.

Lorenzo was on the same tyre combination as his teammate and took a while at the start to get heat into his tyres. From second on the grid he fell back to sixteenth place before being able to push hard. The Mallorcan made a charge in the second half to the race as his tyres started to produce more grip. What followed next was a flurry of overtaking manoeuvers as he fought his way to tenth place.

Lorenzo kept riding aggressively, but was forced to come in to the pit box with seven laps to go after losing much of the central tread from the front tyre. The unforeseen sudden pit stop forced him to change to his second bike which was fitted with slick tyres for a potential normal bike change in the flag to flag conditions. The track was still far too wet for slick tyres so he returned to the pit box a lap later to switch back to his first bike which had since been reequipped with a new front tyre. This then allowed him to finish the race in a disappointing and distant seventeenth place.

Rossi’s second place moves him up to second position in the world standings with 144 points, 53 points behind the leader, with teammate Lorenzo six points behind him in third place.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP now head to Silverstone in the UK for the British Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

Valentino Rossi: I was desperate

2nd / +7.298 / 22 laps, Championship: 2nd / 144 points

“At the beginning I was desperate because I thought we made a mistake, but lap by lap the hard rear became better and it was a very long race, you have to stay concentrated not to make a mistake. I started from p12, so it was a great race and I’m happy with these 20 points, also because I’m second in the championship and I think today we did a good job and we made the right choice.”

Jorge Lorenzo: I was very unlucky today

17th / +1 lap / 22 laps, Championship: 3rd / 138 points

“It’s a big pity because I was doing a great race, only I had some difficulties stopping the bike at the beginning when there was a little bit more water and especially with the hard tyre on the exit I didn’t have grip. I needed to be very careful and that is why I was quite far from the top. Little by little, as the track dried, the rear became better and I started to gain confidence, so seven laps before the end the front tyre tore up so I had to change bike twice and finished the race on the first bike in seventeenth. Rossi was unlucky in Mugello and I was very unlucky today, a lot of bad luck this season. We have to work, so this doesn’t happen more often, because we see it happen sometimes in the dry and today in the wet and we have to try not to have more tyre mishaps in the future.”

Tech 3 Yamaha salvage points from disappointing Czech Grand Prix

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro persevered against the challenging conditions at the Czech Grand Prix to finish in 13th after what was a tricky race for the 25-year-old. The Spaniard kicked off his round 11 campaign from 12th on the grid and immediately ran with the factory MotoGP bikes at the front of the field. He slipped to 8th on the third lap but pushed onwards as he aimed to stay with the leading group. As the track began to dry Espargaro was shuffled back, despite his best efforts, and by lap fifteen he was running in 13th. Eventually, he met the chequered flag in this position to close what was a tough weekend. Today’s result sees the 2013 Moto2 title winner move up to 7th and as the top independent rider in the 2016 World Championship standings and he now intends to produce a strong result at the next round after tomorrow’s test in Brno.

Meanwhile, Bradley Smith endured a disappointing end to the event after unfortunately suffering with a technical issue which caused him to retire from the Grand Prix. The Briton leapt forward from the middle of the fourth row of the grid and quickly set about moving through the pack as he completed the opening lap in 9th. He was pushed back one position a short time later, but remained focused and did his best to preserve his tyres for the second part of the race. However, at the midway point, the 25-year-old had to pit due to a technical issue with eight laps left to run. Nevertheless, Smith fully aims to bounce back in front of his home fans at the British Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time.

Pol Espargaro: I hope Silverstone is dry

13th / +43.202 / 22 laps, Championship: 7th / 81 points

“This morning in the warm-up I struggled quite a lot in the wet but to be honest, we managed to improve the bike significantly for the race. Therefore, I was able to pass many riders at the beginning of the GP as I felt really comfortable. However, when the track started to dry, I began to face some difficulties because I lacked grip and traction, but I tried to keep my pace without making any mistakes so that I could take home as many points as possible. I believe that today we weren’t able to use the electronics to their best potential, plus I think the hard rear tyre would have been a better choice, especially at the end of the race. Yet, I rode this compound for two laps and I didn’t feel 100% happy with it, so we went for the option that we used in the warm up. Now I really hope that we’ll have a dry race in Silverstone because with no rain, we are usually strong and we will be able to show our true potential.”

Bradley Smith: Another DNF for a technical issue

DNC / 22 laps, Championship: 15th / 42 points

“Of course, it’s disappointing to have another DNF for a technical issue, especially as my race was running positively up until that point. The opening lap went quite well, and I was able to make up a few positions plus, I felt quite comfortable on the bike. When the track started to dry, I could increase my pace and push harder so that I could go with the guys close to me. Still, at the same time, I was looking after my tyres because I was certain that tyre management would be crucial at the end of the race. Yet, unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to prove that as I had to pit in. The riders who I was close to before I pitted, ended up finishing in 5th and 6th so this is where I would have seen myself at the end of the race and that definitely would have been a good result ahead of my home GP. Considering that it was one of the weekends where we were closer to the front from the word go, it’s a big shame, but also due to it being the second time I’ve had to retire because of a technical issue in 2016, which is just bad luck. However, with the test tomorrow, we will go over a few things which will boost my confidence for my home Grand Prix at Silverstone, which is up next.”

Former GP Star Webb confirmed at Classic TT

Team Classic Suzuki has announced that Grand Prix racer Danny Webb will join the team for this year’s Classic TT on the Isle of Man, with the 25-year-old standing in for the injured Lee Johnston and racing the team’s second XR69, alongside team-mate and winner of last year’s F1 race, Michael Dunlop.

Webb, a relative newcomer to the Isle of Man, only made his debut at the TT races in 2014, and has already lapped the Mountain Course at over 123mph. Having competed in Grand Prix and the British Championship, the team is optimistic the talented youngster can bolster its bid for the podium.

Danny Webb said ahead of this year’s event: “I’m really looking forward to riding the XR69. I’ve never ridden anything like it before, so it’s going to be an experience. I met Steve (Wheatman) at the event last year so we knew each other, and I got the call last week to see if I wanted to ride for him, which I was more than happy to say yes to. It’s going to be unlike anything I’ve ridden around the Isle of Man, but it’s going to be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to get started and hopefully we can get a good result.”

Despite again being the ones to beat around the 37.73 mile course this year, the team – which is sponsored by Suzuki GB’s Vintage Parts Programme for 2016 – is looking to secure another win in the race it has won twice in the last three years with Michael Dunlop, having made progress in the development and set-up of its XR69 package.

Team Owner, Steve Wheatman, said: “We have enjoyed a lot of success in recent years at the Classic TT with the XR69 Suzuki and Michael Dunlop, with two wins in three years. This year we’re also delighted to have Danny Webb on board the second bike, and believe we have two riders who can put us on the podium. Michael’s proven himself around the Isle of Man so many times, and he’s done it on our bike, winning the Superbike race last year. Danny’s a late addition to the team, but I’m sure he will settle in quickly, and we know he has the potential to achieve good results. The pressure’s on a little bit, and there’s a target on our backs, but we’re confident we can have a good practice, and fight for the win in race.”

The Classic TT Superbike race is scheduled to get underway on Monday August 29th at 14:00hrs.

35 Years Later

Today, I witnessed a nice little bit of history. In fact, we all did. Cal Crutchlow stormed to his first Grand Prix victory in the most peculiar circumstances I think I have ever seen for a premier class race. He saw off Valentino Rossi who finished a miraculous second and Marc Marquez, who defied the odds to come home with the bronze medal.

In a race of two halves (quite literally), the Ducati riders of Andrea Dovizioso, Andrea Iannone and Scott Redding took off at the front, building up a comfortable margin over Marc Marquez, Hector Barbera, Pol Espargaro, Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro. The two Factory Movistar Yamahas were down in 12th and 13th after lap one. I said at the time that it’s a total disaster and that Vale and Jorge need to come in to change.

Also joining the two Yamaha’s down there were Loris Baz, Eugene Laverty, Yonny Hernandez, the two Aprilias, Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith. However, the latter few started to move up whilst Valentino and Jorge stayed put.

Soon though, it became apparent that the softer tyres that had been favoured by the majority of the field weren’t going to last the 22 laps and soon, the Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso run off track at turn one, slamming his hands on the tank as he came back on. The issue was that the front tyre had completely shredded. Dovi headed back to pitlane and after a head to head with a team member, reluctantly jumped on a bike with intermediate tyres on.

Iannone and Redding then did battle, but it was Avintia Ducati’s Hector Barbera that was now on their tail.

Meanwhile, down in 9th, Cal Crutchlow set the fastest lap, with him and Rossi making great progress, albeit around 1.5 seconds apart.

The next revelation was Bradley Smith, who also had front tyre issues as he waltzed around the track. He came in, and switched to his second bike which was fitted with dry tyres. He quickly returned to the garage and swapped back to inters.

Jorge Lorenzo was languishing way down in 16th but he just set his fastest lap of the race. Strangely, the defending champion pitted to change tyres as he believed the hard front and rear combination wasn’t working. His team was furious, and sent him back out with a disillusioned Jorge clearly frustrated. He came in again not long after, refusing to go back out. It really was a shambles, just like it was for 2017 and 2018 teammate Andrea Dovizioso.

Out on track and the hard tyres were coming good as Crutchlow and Rossi closed in on the leading quartet. Soon, it became clear that Iannone was struggling, and as Cal picked his way past the likes of Barbera, Marquez and Redding, Rossi was now right in the hunt.

Cal took the lead from Iannone and never looked back, with Rossi scything his way through the pack. It proved impossible to catch Cal as he had the perfect set up on his bike, whilst Valentino opted for a soft front end. Iannone dropped back to eighth place, with Marquez completing the podium.

Newly contracted Loris Baz equalled his best result of his MotoGP career with a sensational 4th place, beating teammate Hector Barbera who finished 5th. Eugene Laverty rocketed through into 6th place, almost catching Barbera on the line. Danilo Petrucci finished 7th ahead of Iannone, with Maverick Vinales and Tito Rabat completing the top 10.

Yonny Hernandez came home 11th ahead of the last Honda rider Dani Pedrosa. Pol Espargaro, Bradl and Scott Redding rounded out the point-scorers, after Scott’s tyres also decided to give up towards the latter stages. Bautista was 16th ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, who was the final finisher. I think it would be fair to say that Lorenzo has lost the plot when it comes to wet weather.

Without doubt one of the most upside down races in MotoGP history, where patience and precision would prevail over desperation and initial pace. Great Britain, back on top for the first time since Barry Sheene at Anderstorp, Sweden, 1981. A truly remarkable day which will be celebrated long into the night by the team, family and friends of Cal Crutchlow, not to mention his fans!

For more latest news regarding anything two-wheeled related, follow us @PitCrew_Online and follow me for everything MotoGP, WSBK, BSB or bike racing in general related @MotoGPKiko!

Mixed emotions for Suzuki pairing after Brno

Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Viñales fought to ninth position in today’s Brno MotoGP™ in the Czech Republic under difficult and changeable conditions as team-mate Aleix Espargaró was forced out after a strong showing earlier in the 22-lap race.

The 400th MotoGP race started wet and both GSX-RR riders opted for soft Michelin tyres, with a potential opportunity to pull-in to change machines during the race. But both stayed out – as did most of the riders – as the track dried in the closing laps.

In such tricky conditions, the choice of the tyres affected Viñales’ final performance as the track didn’t dry enough for a flag-to-flag, but also was too demanding for soft wet tyres, resulting in that riders who chose hard wet tyres had an advantage towards the end of the race.

Different issues affected Espargaró’s performance: After a very positive jump and a vigorous competitiveness for almost two-thirds distance, an issue with the engine prevented him collecting a deserved result. His performance has been more and more positive throughout the weekend, with a further step in the morning in the warm-up session where he found the final configuration for a set-up that allowed him to feel much-more confident.

Tomorrow the Team will stay in Brno for a day of testing with Viñales, as Espargaró will take available time to recover from his hand injuries, incurred last weekend in Austria.

Maverick Viñales: We are making solid progress in the wet

“Probably we took the wrong choice with the tyres? We started with the soft thinking that the track would have gone to dry much quicker so to get to a flag-to-flag, but finally this didn’t happen so the performance finally dropped a lot. Anyway, I’m happy because if you see at the classification of those who had soft tyres, we are third, and furthermore we could make very good steps forward. Today I’m really happy, we are making solid progress in the wet, today I tried to catch-up with leaders but finally had to preserve the tyre and not crash. The bike was performing very well, I need to thank my crew because they did a very good job.”

Aleix Espargaró: Suddenly I felt something was wrong

“This year is really unlucky. This morning in the warm-up we tried a modification in the very last run and I had the feeling it was correct, as I felt lot more comfortable and it helped me a lot in the start and in the first laps as I managed to stay close to the top. Then suddenly I felt something was wrong in the bike, the engine was not performing normally and I had to give up. It will be very important to go and understand what happened. At the end of the day it’s the first issue like this in two years of development, it’s frustrating, but it’s something that happens in races.”

Exclusive: Keith Farmer Q&A

The family name has been embedded into the roads of Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, and now that same name is lacing the quirky, challenging circuits of the UK; Keith Farmer is putting the Farmer name back where it belongs: at number one, so I caught up with him about how his season in the National Superstock 1000 championship is progressing.

How is your season going this year?

This season is going very well so far as I never expected to have two wins under our belt with the machinery that we’re on, no disrespect to Honda or the team but essentially we’re on an 8-year-old bike, it just shows how good the bike/chassis still is with a 20+BHP deficit.

Is your confidence back now you are at the front?

My confidence is back now as I know I can ride a bike well and fast as I have matured more than in 2013/14 but I am still very hard on myself with taking the negatives away from little mistakes and crashes instead of the positives. Basically I need to deal with things better than I am doing at the minute.

Who is your biggest rival?

To be honest there’s a lot of quick guys in Superstock 1000 this year, Mackenzie, Hutchy, Rutter, Jenkinson, Elliott and Olsen all on BMW’s but one to watch is Fraser Rodgers who is finding his feet this last half of season and learning fast.

What was the aim at the start of the season?

The aim at start of year and same now was to finish in Top 6 but me being me, always looking a little better and wanting more, I need to remember the power deficit it and settle for 5ths and 6ths.

Favourite circuit and why?

My favourite circuit would have to be Oulton Park as it is a nice technical circuit, the harder you try the slower you go, hard to get your head around but one thing that my dad taught me is that being smooth and flowing hitting all my markers which will seem slower, but faster in reality.

How has Cadwell Park treated you in the past?

Cadwell has been good to me in the past with a 2nd in Stock 600 and win in Stock 1000 in 2012 so with being back in stock 1000 I hope we have the same result.

Are you in the title hunt?

With being 52points off Mackenzie I think we are a bit far behind now in 3rd but I would like to be in top 3 come end of season, as that’s a win to us.

What’s the plan for 2017?

To be honest for next year I’ve had bits and pieces of things coming together but unfortunately nothing I can shed light on as yet.

What are your biggest achievements?

My biggest achievements so far are my two British Titles in 2011 and 2012 back to back as I am the only rider ever to do it in Stock classes.

What are you like away from the circuit?

At home I’m a little bit selfish and probably hard to live with as everything is done around racing from working/training and eating. I feel sorry for my girlfriend Sam, as she does so much for me and I just chat about racing and getting out on the bike at the next race. Sam comes to every race with me and keeps me calm, we get on very well and talk about everything so she knows when I am stressed out and tries to take my mind off racing.

Away from the circuit my hobbies are motocross, swimming and cycling mainly; I love nothing more than motocrossing at the weekend away from races and just chilling out.

What is it like having a well-known name?

It’s nice to have a name that is known in racing which I will try to continue on for definite. I just want to keep the name going and do my cousins proud for what I have achieved.

What lighted the racing spark?

All I’ve ever known is bikes, I’ve been on a quad since I was 2 and a bike since I was 4 so my dad really got me to where I am today with the inspiration taken from my cousins.

Would you like to do Road Racing?

It’s one thing I’ve never had an interest in is the roads, I respect the guys that do it but it’s just not for me. If I was to do any, I’d like a go at the north west 200 but wouldn’t bother me if I never done it.

Your biggest rival so far?

In 2012 I had my biggest rival Jason O’Halloran when he was on the bike I’m on now and I was on the PBM Kawasaki. We had some awesome battles.

Is there anyone you don’t particularly like on the grid?

No not really to be honest as I’ll get on with everyone but Alex Olsen will probably hate me after I tripped his back wheel at Brands and sent him off as well as myself.

How much effort are the team putting in?

I can’t say enough how much effort Quay Garage Racing are putting in this year, it’s been an absolute joy to have them putting in as much effort as I am and to have so much faith in me.

Who are your sponsors?

My personal sponsors are Rapid International, Waitings Drainage (who I work for), Prestige Custom Coatings (helmet designer), RST Leathers, DryBrow and MotoGear who supply my X-Lite Helmet, Five Gloves and Gearne Boots.

Worst injury?

My worst injury would have to be when I knocked myself out at Oulton Park in 2012 on the PBM Kawasaki. I hit the tyre wall at 130mph (my body, not the bike), plus I had my back in one complete bruise, I was very stiff and sore.

3 greats you would’ve liked to race against?

I would have liked to have raced against Leon Haslam, Leon Camier and Cal Crutchlow when they were in it as seemed a really good championship back then, not that it isn’t now.

Who will win WSBK and MotoGP this year?

I think Jonny Rea is the man to beat in WSBK as his pace and consistency is out of this world. In MotoGP, my money is on Marquez, I’d love Rossi to do it for a 10th but I don’t think he has the edge to make the gap up.

Who do you see as the next big thing in BSB?

It’s hard to say who will go places in the BSB paddock as there are so many decent riders out there, but if they don’t get the right support then it’ll never happen as I’ve found out in past experiences. One rider who I will name is Tarran Mackenzie as he has shown so much speed this year, as well as maturity.

Many riders have pre-race rituals; do you?

Yeah I have a certain way of doing things when getting changed into my leathers, like left boot on first before right boot, left glove on before right glove and just before I go out on bike I’ll almost like stretch down with my arms between my knees (like a squat but not a squat) and ask my mum and Cousins (Stephen & Mark Farmer) who passed away, to look after me.

Which makes you go faster: Continuity or change?

I like continuity more than change with team and bike. When we found a setup with the bike, we haven’t done much with it since as I go faster when everything the same.

Where do you get your motivation from?

I want nothing more than to be racing motorbikes, so even when I am heading to work I know I have to dig deeper in the gym and get focused more with racing to make my dream come true.

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