Michelin was involved in a piece of history during the OCTO British Grand Prix at Silverstone in England today as Maverick Viñales (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) won his first MotoGP™ race and in the process equalled the record of seven different winners in seven races.
Pole-setter Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) got the holeshot at the start of the race, but was passed by Viñales on the first lap. The Suzuki man then gapped the rest of the field on his machine which was fitted with a MICHELIN Power Slick hard compound front tyre and a medium rear. Viñales led for the rest of the race, increasing his lead as the laps ticked down. His victory is the first for Suzuki since 2007, when Chris Vermeulen was triumphant at a wet Le Mans, and the first dry win since Kenny Roberts Jr. won at Motegi in 2000. It also sees Viñales become the first rider to win a MotoGP, Moto2™ and Moto3™ race.
The battle behind was a treat for the 73,310 spectators at trackside as Crutchlow eventually got the better of Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) to secure second place and give the British fans something extra to cheer about. Rossi was involved in many tussles throughout the 19-lap race before taking the final rostrum position ahead of championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) in fourth and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) in fifth. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was the first man home for the Italian marque as he took sixth, with Aleix Espargaro (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) in seventh. Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was eighth and Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Yakhnich) was ninth. Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) rounded out the top 10 to complete five different manufacturers in the first 10 places.
Today’s race was held in dry, but overcast conditions and the main event had to be restarted and reduced to 19-laps following a first lap incident which saw Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) collide. This resulted in a red flag and an immediate stoppage, fortunately neither rider was injured and the race resumed soon afterwards. The result today saw Viñales become the seventh winner in seven races, this is the first time this has happened since the 1999/2000 season when all seven winners also used Michelin rubber.
Michelin and the MotoGP spectacle will now head directly to Italy and the round 13 of the championship, which will be held at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on Sunday 11th September.
Maverick Viñales – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR:
“It was incredible today! We worked so hard with the tyres this weekend. We tried the harder ones on Friday and the team did a great job. Also we worked so hard with Michelin and I am very happy with the result. Richard is our guy at Michelin and he said that the hard tyre was the best choice for us and we trust him 100%, so we took his advice and it gave us the perfect position.”
Piero Taramasso – Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group:
“Today was a very good race and we would like to congratulate Maverick Viñales on his first win. We have not had an easy weekend here at Silverstone with all the different weather, it has been warm, cold, wet, damp and dry, with some wind there as well, but our tyres have coped well in all conditions so we are pleased with the performance over the weekend. During the dry practice sessions a number of riders went under the lap-record, so that was very encouraging and today’s race lap-times were very competitive. That is despite the cold track and the heavy rain yesterday which made the track very slick again as it washed away any rubber that had already been laid down over the weekend. It was not easy for us or the teams to make the correct choice today, as dry track time had been very limited, but at the end it worked out very good as we used two different compounds on the different bikes front and rear and they all performed well. We will now head straight to Italy and Misano. There it is a very demanding track, but we will look to continue with the impressive performances we have had recently, despite all the different weather in the last few races ̶ hopefully we can have a whole weekend of warm sunshine on the Italian coast.”