Martin Raines Blog

Dani Pedrosa – a MotoGP legend?

Dani Pedrosa draws his career to a close this weekend in Valencia after a long and successful career, prompting discussion about what does a rider need to achieve to be given the designation of a legend. Well let’s look at what he has achieved:

  • This weekend he will be making his 295thGP starts. Only Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi has made more GP starts.
  • 54 grand prix wins – making him 7thin the all-time GP winners list.
  • 31 wins in the premier-class – 8thin the all-time list
  • 153 grand prix podium finishes – third on the all-time list after Rossi and Giacomo Agostini (Lorenzo is currently on 152 podium finishes, so could equal Pedrosa’s total this weekend)
  • 112 premier-class podium finishes – third on the all-time list after Rossi and Lorenzo.
  • He has won at least one grand prix every year for 16 successive years from 2002 to 2017. This is the record as the longest sequence of successive years that a rider has achieved at least one grand prix victory.
  • He won at least one race in the MotoGP class every year for twelve successive seasons. The only other rider to have achieved this in the premier-class is Giacomo Agostini.
  • He has had the fourth longest winning career in grand prix racing after Rossi, Capirossi and Angel Nieto.
  • He has the third longest winning career in the premier-class after Rossi and Alex Barros.
  • In 2003 he became the second youngest ever 125cc world champion after Loris Capirossi.
  • In his debut race in the 250cc class in South Africa in 2004 he became the youngest ever 250cc grand prix race winner.
  • Also in 2004 he became the youngest ever 250cc world champion and the youngest rider to win a title in two different classes.
  • In 2005 he retained the 250cc world title making him the youngest rider to be three times a world champion.
  • He has been runner-up in the MotoGP world championship on three occasions; in 2007 behind Casey Stoner, in 2010 & 2012 to Jorge Lorenzo.
  • Comparing to the rider some think of as the greatest of all-time: in his thirteen years in the MotoGP class he has finished ahead on Valentino Rossi in the world championship on six occasions.

Although Pedrosa never achieved that dream MotoGP title, that is perhaps due to circumstances outside his control: his small physical stature, a fragile body and being around at a time when the premier-class is more competitive than ever with such other great riders as Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo and Marquez.

Stand up and take a bow Dani – a true motorcycle grand prix racing legend!

 

By | November 17th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|0 Comments

Valencia Grand Prix facts and statistics

  • This year will be the 20thGrand Prix of Valencia, which has been held every year at the Ricardo Tormo circuit since the first visit in 1999.
  • This will be the 17thsuccessive year that Valencia has hosted the final race of the season, making it the circuit that has been the venue for the final event of the year on most occasions. It has been the final event of the year throughout the MotoGP era.
  • The Valencia circuit is named after Spanish racer Ricardo Tormo, who won the 50cc world title riding for Bultaco in 1978 and 1981. In addition to his 15 Grand Prix victories in the 50cc class he also had 4 wins in the 125cc class.  His career ended in 1984 due to leg injuries suffered in a crash whilst test riding. Tormo sadly died from leukaemia in 1998.
  • Dani Pedrosa is the most successful rider at the Valencia circuit with seven wins; four in MotoGP, two in 250cc, and one in the 125cc class. The next most successful rider is Jorge Lorenzo with four wins in Valencia, all in the MotoGP class.
  • The premier-class race at Valencia has been won ten times by Spanish riders; Sete Gibernau won the 500cc race on a Suzuki in 2001; Dani Pedrosa won the MotoGP race in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2017; Jorge Lorenzo won in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2016; Marc Marquez won four years ago.
  • The last non-Spanish rider to win the MotoGP race in Valencia was Casey Stoner in 2011.
  • Since the introduction of the four-stroke MotoGP formula in 2002, Honda has been the most successful manufacturer with nine victories at the Valencia circuit, including last year with Dani Pedrosa.
  • Yamaha has had five MotoGP wins at the Valencia circuit, the last of which was with Jorge Lorenzo in 2016.
  • Ducati have had two MotoGP wins in Valencia: with Troy Bayliss in 2006 and Casey Stoner in 2008.
  • Andrea Iannone’s third place finish in 2016 is the only podium at Valencia by a Ducati rider since Stoner finished second in 2010.
  • Suzuki’s only podium at Valencia in the MotoGP era is a third place finish with John Hopkins in 2007.
  • The MotoGP race at Valencia has only twice been won by a rider who has not qualified on the front row –  Marc Marquez in 2014 and Dani Pedrosa last year, on both occasions from fifth place on the grid.
  • At least one of the three classes at the Valencia Grand Prix has been won by a Spanish rider for the last nine years.
  • Valentino Rossi is the only rider to have competed at all nineteen previous grand prix events that have taken place at the Ricardo Tormo circuit.
  • There has never been a year when the three world championship winners have all won their respective races at the final event of the season since it has been held in Valencia.
  • The MotoGP title has been decided on four occasions in Valencia: in 2006 in favour of Nicky Hayden, 2013 – Marc Marquez, 2015 – Jorge Lorenzo and 2017 – Marc Marquez.
  • The eight Moto2 races that have taken place in Valencia have been won by eight different riders: 2010 – Karel Abraham, 2011 – Michele Pirro, 2012 – Marc Marquez, 2013 – Nico Terol, 2014 – Tom Luthi, 2015 – Tito Rabat, 2016 – Johann Zarco and 2017 – Miguel Oliveira.
  • The Intermediate-class world championship has been decided on four occasions in Valencia: in 2003 the 250cc title in favour of Manuel Poggiali, 2006 – Jorge Lorenzo (250cc), 2009 – Hiroshi Aoyama (250cc) and 2011 – Stefan Bradl (Moto2)
  • The six Moto3 races that have taken place in Valencia have been won by six different riders: 2012 – Danny Kent, 2013 – Maverick Viñales, 2014 – Jack Miller 2015 – Miguel Oliveira, 2016 – Brad Binder and 2017 – Jorge Martin. Prior to Martin’s win last year on a Honda, all of the Moto3 races at Valencia had been won by KTM.
  • The Lightweight-class world championship has been decided on eight occasions in Valencia: in 2002 the 125 cc title in favour of Arnaud Vincent, 2005 – Tom Luthi (125cc), 2007 – Gabor Talmacsi (125cc), 2010 – Marc Marquez (125cc), 2011 – Nico Terol (125cc), 2013 – Maverick Viñales (Moto3), 2014 – Alex Marquez (Moto3) and 2015 – Danny Kent (Moto3).
By | November 14th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Valencia Grand Prix facts and statistics

The Times They Are A-Changin’…..

These words from the Bob Dylan song came to mind as I watched the MotoGP podium presentation in Malaysia, with all three riders having graduated from the Moto2 class; the fourth time in 2018 that this had occurred (having only once happened prior to this year, at Misano in 2015). Is the balance of power finally changing in MotoGP from the dominance of the ex-250cc riders to riders coming through from Moto2? 

Looking at the numbers of podium finishers in MotoGP by Moto2 riders for each year since 2011:

2011 – 0

2012 – 0

2013 – 17 (Marquez – 16, Bradl – 1)

2014 – 15 (Marquez – 14, Smith – 1)

2015 –  14 (Marquez – 9, Iannone – 3, Redding – 1, Smith – 1)

2016 –  21 (Marquez – 12, Iannone – 4, Vinales – 4, Redding – 1)

2017 –  23 (Marquez – 12, Vinales – 7, Zarco – 3, Folger – 1)

2018 (with one race remaining)    30 (Marquez – 14, Vinales – 5, Iannone – 4, Rins – 4, Zarco – 3)

These number show that since 2015 there has been a steady increase in both the number of MotoGP podium finishes by Moto2 graduates and the number of riders achieving these. Irrespective of what happens in Valencia, the number of podiums by ex-Moto2 riders will be more than 50% of those available in 2018 and five of the ten riders who have finished on the podium this year also come from this group.

So does this confirm that “The Times Are A-Changin”? Well with the retirement of Dani Pedrosa, and Alvaro Bautista going to WSBK, the honour of the 250cc GP graduates now depend on just five riders next year in MotoGP: Andrea Dovizioso, Karel Abraham, Aleix Espargaro, Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo. Predicting what will happen next year in MotoGP is not something I will try, I would rather taking something from these  word of wisdom from the Bob Dylan song:

“Come writers and critics, Who prophesize with your pen

And keep your eyes wide, The chance won’t come again

And don’t speak too soon, For the wheel’s still in spin

And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’.

For the loser now will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin’.”

By | November 6th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on The Times They Are A-Changin’…..

Malaysian Grand Prix 2018 – Facts and Stats

  • This is the 28thmotorcycle grand prix event to be held in Malaysia
  • The first Malaysian Grand Prix was held in 1991 and has taken place every year since, with three different venues having been used; Shah Alam, Johor and Sepang.
  • The first Malaysian Grand Prix held at the Shah Alam circuit in 1991 saw a debut win in the premier-class for John Kocinski riding a Yamaha.  Italian riders dominated the smaller classes with Luca Cadalora (Honda) winning the 250cc race and Loris Capirossi (Honda) in the 125cc class.
  • The Shah Alam circuit hosted the event for a total of seven years before the Malaysian GP went to Johor for a single year in 1998.  The first Malaysian GP to be held at Sepang was in 1999 and this will be the 20thtime that Sepang has hosted the event.
  • Honda have had five victories at the Sepang circuit in the MotoGP era, including for four successive years from 2012 to 2015 – three wins for Dani Pedrosa and one for Marc Marquez. Dani Pedrosa’s win in 2015 was the last time that a Honda rider has stood on the podium at Sepang.
  • Yamaha have also had five MotoGP wins at Sepang, the last of which was with Valentino Rossi in 2010.
  • Ducati have taken five MotoGP victories in Sepang, including last two years with Andrea Dovizioso. The win by Dovizioso in 2016 was the first podium at Sepang for Ducati since Casey Stoner won the race in 2009.
  • Sepang is Ducati’s equal most successful circuit, with the five wins prior to 2018 equalling the number of victories for Ducati at Motegi.
  • Andrea Dovizioso won in Malaysia last year by less than a second from team-mate Jorge Lorenzo; the only time in 2017 that Ducati riders filled the first two places.
  • The best result for Suzuki at Sepang in the MotoGP era is fifth in 2010 with Alvaro Bautista. Suzuki with Kenny Roberts won the 500cc race at Sepang in both 1999 and 2000.
  • The most successful rider at the Sepang circuit is Valentino Rossi with six GP wins (1 x 500cc, 5 x MotoGP).  The next most successful, with five wins is Dani Pedrosa (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 3 x MotoGP).
  • The MotoGP title has been decided at Sepang on four occasions: Valentino Rossi (2003, 2005 & 2009) and Jorge Lorenzo (2010).
  • The eight Moto2 races that have taken place at Sepang have been won by seven different riders: 2010 – Roberto Rolfo, 2011 – Tom Luthi, 2012 – Alex de Angelis, 2013 – Tito Rabat, 2014 – Maverick Viñales, 2015 & 2016 – Johann Zarco and 2017 – Miguel Oliveira.
  • The Moto2 World Title has been decided at Sepang on four occasions: for Toni Elias in 2010, Tito Rabat in 2014, Johann Zarco in 2016 and Franco Morbidelli last year.
  • The six Moto3 races that have taken place at Sepang have been won by six different riders: 2012 – Sandro Cortese, 2013 – Luis Salom, 2014 – Efren Vazquez, 2015 – Miguel Oliveira, 2016 – Francesco Bagnaia and 2017 – Joan Mir.

 

By | October 31st, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events, Uncategorised|Comments Off on Malaysian Grand Prix 2018 – Facts and Stats

Marc Marquez wins fifth MotoGP title

– It is the third time he has taken the MotoGP title at Motegi, along with 2014 and 2016.

– It is the fifth MotoGP world title for Marquez, the same number of premier-class titles as Mick Doohan. Only Giacomo Agostini with 8 and Valentino Rossi with 7 have won the premier-class title on more occasions.

– Marquez is the youngest-ever rider to win five premier-class World Championship titles, at the age of 25 years 246 days, taking the record from Valentino Rossi who was 26 years 221 days when he won his fifth successive premier-class title in 2005.

– Marquez is also be the youngest rider of all-time to reach the milestone of seven world championship titles across all classes, taking the record from Mike Hailwood who was 26 years 140 days old when he won his seventh title – the 1966 350cc world championship.

– This is his seventh world title across all classes for Marc Marquez (5 x MotoGP, 1 x Moto2, 1 x 125cc); the only Spanish rider with more world titles than Marquez is Angel Nieto who won thirteen world championship titles (7 x 125cc, 6 x 50cc).

 – This is his fifth premier-class title riding for Honda, equalling the record of Mick Doohan.

By | October 21st, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Marc Marquez wins fifth MotoGP title

Marquez targets title in Motegi

Marc Marquez arrives at Motegi with a chance of clinching the MotoGP title at the Japanese circuit for the third time, along with 2014 and 2016. 

So what does Marc Marquez need to do at Motegi to win the title? Below is a detailed list of scenarios that could see Marquez win the title this weekend:

  • In the most likely scenario Marquez will need to finish ahead of Dovizioso to take the world title in Motegi.

But in more detail:

– If he finishes anywhere in the top four and in front of Dovizioso, then Marquez will be the world champion

– If he finishes 5th then Marquez will be world champion as long as Dovizioso does not finish on the podium.

– If he finishes 6th then Marquez will be world champion as long as Dovizioso does not finish in the top four.

 – If Marquez finishes in any position from 7th to 15th he will be world champion as long as Dovizioso finishes no more than two places ahead of him.

– If Marquez fails to score any points then he will be world champion if Dovizioso finishes no higher than 14th and Rossi does not win the race.

 

It would be the fifth MotoGP world title for Marquez, the same number of premier-class titles as Mick Doohan. Only Giacomo Agostini with 8 and Valentino Rossi with 7 have won the premier-class title on more occasions. If Marquez takes the MotoGP title in 2018 he would be the youngest-ever rider to win five premier-class World Championship titles, taking the record from Valentino Rossi.

By | October 17th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Marquez targets title in Motegi

Thailand 2018 – Facts and Stats

  • This is the first time Thailand has hosted a motorcycle grand prix event.
  • Thailand is the first new country to hold a grand prix event since Turkey in 2005.
  • Thailand is the 30th country to host a grand prix event since the world championship series began in 1949.
  • The Chang International Circuit was opened in 2014 and has hosted the World Superbike Championship for the last three years.
  • The Chang circuit is the 28th different venue to host a grand prix event since the four-stroke MotoGP class was introduced in 2002.
  • The Thailand circuit is one of only two on this year’s schedule where Marc Marquez has not had a MotoGP victory – the other is the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
  • Marc Marquez can clinch the 2018 world title by winning the races in Thailand and Japan, even if closest challenger Andrea Dovizioso finishes second on each occasion.
  • Andrea Dovizioso has finished on the podium at the last four races – his longest run of successive podium finishes since moving up to the MotoGP class in 2008.
  • This will be the 37th different circuit where Valentino Rossi has competed at a grand prix event.
  • Jorge Lorenzo has failed to score any points in the last two races. He has never gone three successive races without scoring points during his time in the MotoGP class.
  • No Yamaha rider has finished in the top three at the last four races, equalling the longest barren podium sequence for Yamaha since 2007. The last time that Yamaha went five premier-class races without a podium was in 2003.
  • Last year Danilo Petrucci scored 124 points, which was the highest single season total for a Ducati rider in an Independent Team. If he finishes 10th or better in Thailand he was surpass this total with four races of the season remaining.
  • Suzuki have already had five top three finishes in 2018 – their best haul of podium finishes since 2007.
  • Bradley Smith is scheduled to make his 100th start in the MotoGP class in Thailand. He is just the fifth British rider in the 70-year history of motorcycle grand prix racing to reach the milestone of 100 premier-class starts, joining: Cal Crutchlow, Jeremy McWilliams, Ron Haslam and Niall Mackenzie. He is the youngest British rider to reach the milestone of 100 premier-class starts.

 

By | October 3rd, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|1 Comment

Aragon Grand Prix 2018 – Facts and Stats

  • This is the ninth successive year that the Aragon circuit has hosted a grand prix event.
  • Aragon first hosted a grand prix event in 2010, when it became the sixth different circuit that has been used for grand prix racing in Spain. The other circuits that have been used in Spain are: Jerez, Catalunya, Jarama, Montjuich and Valencia.
  • Casey Stoner won the first MotoGP race at Aragon in 2010 on a Ducati, the only victory for the Italian manufacturer at this circuit.
  • Honda are the most successful manufacturer at the Aragon circuit with five MotoGP victories, with three different riders: Casey Stoner in 2011, Dani Pedrosa in 2012 and Marc Marquez in 2013, 2016 and 2017.
  • Jorge Lorenzo has given Yamaha two MotoGP victories at the Aragon circuit, in 2014 and 2015.
  • Spanish riders have had great success across all three GP classes at the Aragon circuit, winning seventeen of the twenty-four GP races that have taken place. The only non-Spanish riders who have had a grand prix win at the circuit are: Casey Stoner (MotoGP in 2010 & 2011), Andrea Iannone (Moto2 race in 2010), Romano Fenati (Moto3 in 2014), Miguel Oliveira (Moto3 in 2015), Sam Lowes (Moto2 in 2016) and Franco Morbidelli in Moto2 last year.
  • Casey Stoner’s two victories are the only occasions that a non-Spanish rider has stood on either of the top two steps of the podium in the MotoGP class at the Aragon circuit.
  • In addition to Casey Stoner’s win in 2010, the only podium finishes for Ducati riders at Aragon are; third for Nicky Hayden in 2010, third for Cal Crutchlow in 2014 and third for Jorge Lorenzo last year.
  • The best result at Aragon for Suzuki is the fourth place finish achieved in 2016 by Maverick Viñales.
  • Aleix Espargaro finished 6thin Aragon last year to equal the best ever result for Aprilia in the MotoGP class.
  • Only four different riders have started from pole in the MotoGP class at Aragon: Casey Stoner (2010 & 2011), Jorge Lorenzo (2012), Marc Marquez (2013, 2014. 2015. 2016) and Maverick Vinales last year.
  • Aragon is one of just five circuits on the current grand prix schedule that run in an anti-clockwise direction, along with Austin, Sachsenring, Phillip Island and Valencia.
  • Aragon is one of just four circuits on the current grand prix schedule where Valentino Rossi has not had a MotoGP victory, along with Austin, the Red Bull Ring in Austria and the Buriram International Circuit in Thailand that is being used for the first time this year.
  • Last year in Aragon the top 15 MotoGP riders crossed the line covered by 26.082 seconds, setting a new record for the closest top 15 of all-time in the premier-class.
  • The first four riders across the line in the MotoGP race in Aragon last year were all from Spain, for just the second time ever in the premier-class.
  • The eight Moto2 races that have taken place at the Aragon circuit have been won by eight different riders: 2010 – Andrea Iannone, 2011 – Marc Marquez, 2012 – Pol Espargaro, 2013 – Nico Terol, 2014 – Maverick Vinales, 2015 – Tito Rabat, 2016 – Sam Lowes and 2017 – Franco Morbidelli.
  • Six of the eight Moto2 races at Aragon have been won from pole, the exceptions are; Pol Espargaro in 2012 from second place on the grid and Franco Morbidelli last year from the head of the second row.
  • The six Moto3 GP races that have taken place at the Aragon circuit have been won by six different riders: 2012 – Luis Salom, 2013 – Alex Rins, 2014 – Romano Fenati, 2015 – Miguel Oliveira, 2016 – Jorge Navarro and 2017 –  Joan Mir. None of these riders are still competing in the Moto3 class.

 

By | September 19th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on Aragon Grand Prix 2018 – Facts and Stats

San Marino 2018 – Facts and Stats

  • This is the 22nd time that Misano has hosted a motorcycle grand prix event.
  • The first grand prix event to take place at Misano was in 1980; the 500cc race was over 40 laps of the circuit that measured 3.448 km and ran in an anti-clockwise direction and was won by Kenny Roberts.
  • The Misano circuit hosted a GP event for a total of ten occasions between the years of 1980 and 1993.
  • Misano did not have a grand prix event for thirteen years following the accident that ended the career of Wayne Rainey in 1993.
  • When GP racing returned to Misano in 2007, it was on a much revised 4.18 km circuit running in the opposite direction to the earlier layout.
  • There have been twenty previous San Marino Grand Prix events. The first San Marino Grand Prix was held at Imola in 1981. Three different circuits have hosted the San Marino Grand Prix – Imola twice (1981 & 1983), Mugello four times (1982, 84, 91 and 93) and Misano on fourteen occasions (1985, 86, 87 and from 2007 onwards).
  • Yamaha have been the most successful manufacturer in MotoGP since the grand prix series returned to Misano in 2007 with six victories, the last was with Valentino Rossi in 2014.
  • Honda have had a four MotoGP wins at the Misano circuit, including the last three years.
  • Ducati’s single victory at Misano was in 2007 with Casey Stoner. Since Stoner’s win in 2007 Ducati have had four more podium finishes at this circuit: Toni Elias 3rd in 2008, Valentino Rossi 2nd in 2012, and last year Danilo Petrucci finished 2nd with Andrea Dovizioso 3rd.
  • Suzuki has had two podium finishes in the MotoGP era at Misano circuit, both of which came in 2007 when Chris Vermeulen finished second and John Hopkins third. Vinales’ 5th place finish in 2016 was the best result for a Suzuki rider at Misano since Loris Capirossi finished 5th in 2009.
  • The most successful rider at Misano since racing returned to the circuit in 2007 is Marc Marquez with five victories (1 x 125cc, 2 x Moto2, 2 x MotoGP)
  • Dani Pedrosa’s victory in 2010 is the last time that the MotoGP race at Misano was won by a rider starting from pole position.
  • The MotoGP podium in 2015 at Misano was: Marc Marquez, Bradley Smith and Scott Redding – the first MotoGP podium where all three of the riders had graduated from the Moto2 class.
  • Three Italian riders finished in the top five at Misano last year, all riding Ducati motorcycles. The last time that three Italian riders on Italian bikes finished in the top five in the premier-class was at Imola in 1972 when Giacomo Agostini on a MV Agusta won from team-mate Alberto Pagani, with Ducati rider Bruno Spaggiari completing the podium.
  • The eight Moto2 races that have taken place at Misano have been won by seven different riders: 2010 – Toni Elias, 2011 & 2012 – Marc Marquez, 2013 – Pol Espargaro, 2014 – Tito Rabat, 2015 – Johann Zarco, 2016 – Lorenzo Baldassarri, 2017 – Tom Luthi. Of these riders only Baldassarri is competing in the Moto2 class in 2018.
  • Five different riders have won the six Moto3 races that have taken place at Misano: 2012 – Sandro Cortese, 2013 & 2014 –Alex Rins, 2015 – Enea Bastianini, 2016 – Brad Binder, 2017 – Romano Fenati.

 

 

By | September 4th, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|Comments Off on San Marino 2018 – Facts and Stats

The first Flag-to-Flag race?

Like the huge number of other British motorcycle grand prix fans (the term MotoGP had not been thought up back then) I arrived at Silverstone in 1978 optimistic that I would see a British rider take the honours in the 500cc race, then the premier-class of grand prix racing.

The first World Championship Grand Prix to be held on the British mainland was one year earlier at Silverstone. From 1949 to 1976 the famous Isle of Man TT races had counted towards the world championship classification and had been the British round of the series. That first year at Silverstone in 1977 I returned home disappointed after my racing hero of the time, Barry Sheene, who had dominated the world championship for two years, suffered a mechanical failure after starting from pole. The terrible day for the British riders was compounded when both Steve Parrish and John Williams crashed in the closing stages when leading the 500cc race in slippery conditions after a few spots of rain.

1978 of course saw the arrival of Kenny Roberts, and in his debut year competing in the world championship, he arrived at the penultimate race of the year with a slender three  point advantage. If Sheene could win the race at Silverstone then at worst he would arrive at the final race of the year in Germany level on points (in those days it was 15 points for a win and 12 for second place).

The race started under a threatening sky and predictably the rain started to fall before mid-race distance. I don’t think it overstates matters to say this caused chaos! To give a bit of background, slick tyres had only appeared on the scene a few years prior to this race, together with wet weather and intermediate tyres. However, the rule makers had not caught up with these changes and no one knew what to do in this situation where the race started in dry conditions, then rain started to fall during the race.

After a few laps wobbling around in treacherous conditions on slick tyres the riders eventually streamed into pit lane. But one rule that did exist back then was that riders could not change bikes during the course of the race, so the only alternative was to change wheels and tyres. This is where the pit crew of Kenny Roberts, headed by 1969 250cc world champion Kel Carruthers, won the race. During the early parts of the season Roberts had been supplied with only one bike from Yamaha, which meant that in order to test tyres during practice the crew has become skilled in quickly changing the wheels. So at Silverstone they had the rider out on the track again with full rain tyres in less than 3 minutes. However, the Sheene pit crew took more than 7 minutes to get the wheels changed.

Once back on track Barry Sheene demonstrated his mastery of the wet conditions, lapping much faster than any of his rivals. But it was in vain and he could not make up the advantage gained by Roberts in the pit stop.

While all this was going on, one of the British “wild-card” riders Steve Manship had “thrown the dice” and started on intermediate tyres. He took the lead of the race when everyone pitted, and came close to taking the win, but was passed by Roberts on the final lap. Sheene came home third, after his heroic efforts took him to just over a minute behind Roberts.

So that is why I say this race was the first flag-to-flag, before the term was even invented! In fact, it was a real flag-to-flag because the riders finished on the same bikes they started the race.

So for the second year the Silverstone crowd had been denied a British winner. It will not be a surprise if there is inclement weather this year at Silverstone, but let’s hope that it does not stop a British rider winning the MotoGP race and sending the fans home happy.

By | August 21st, 2018|Martin Raines Blog, News and Events|1 Comment