Valentino Rossi beats Danilo Petrucci to win wet British MotoGP

Valentino Rossi re-established his MotoGP lead by holding off underdog Danilo Petrucci to win a wet British Grand Prix, as Marc Marquez crashed out and Jorge Lorenzo was only fourth.

 

Andrea Dovizioso made it two Ducati riders on the podium in a remarkable race turned upside down by rain before the start.

The shower had prompted the entire field to head into the pitlane for their wet-weather bikes at the end of for the formation lap, with race direction opting to delay the start by 25 minutes rather than allowing the whole grid to try to start from the pit exit.

Although Lorenzo initially burst into the lead ahead of a huge battle between Marquez and Rossi when the race eventually began, his pace was not a match for his main rivals in the wet and he began to slip back.

Rossi assumed the lead, with Marquez glued to his tail through the first half of the race and looking poised to make a late challenge in the ever worse conditions.

But Marquez didn’t get that far, having a high-speed crash at Copse just after half-distance. He was unhurt, but his title defence is now surely all but over.

His exit handed Rossi a six-second advantage, which rapidly began to come down.

Pramac Ducati rider Petrucci – always quick in the wet – had stormed through from 18th on the grid and was in a huge battle for second with works counterpart Dovizioso when Marquez crashed.

Both Desmosedicis then began rapidly gaining on Rossi, with the Yamaha’s lead reducing to just 1.6s before a late spurt pulled him clear again.

The seven-time champion eventually won by three seconds, while Petrucci came out on top of his spectacular dice with Dovizioso to claim a maiden MotoGP podium in second.

Dovizioso briefly came under pressure from Lorenzo but was able to hold on to third, having risen from 12th on the grid.

Although Lorenzo’s result could’ve been worse as he drifted right back to fourth at one stage, he still lost 12 points to title rival Rossi.

Dani Pedrosa finished a lonely fifth on the leading Honda, having dropped away from the podium battle in the closing laps.

Other underdog podium contenders’ hopes were ended by crashes.

Cal Crutchlow had worked his way up to third on home ground when he was taken out by LCR Honda team-mate Jack Miller at Vale. The young Australian had impressively surged through the field from 16th, then undid his good work by outbraking himself and clattering into his team-mate.

Miller was out on the spot, while Crutchlow changed bikes and rejoined, before parking after a second crash.

Pol Espargaro spent a short spell in second following a great start, lost ground with a trip off track, then battled back from ninth to sixth before a heavy crash at Becketts ended his race.

Scott Redding was the leading Briton, beating Bradley Smith to sixth place.

Andrea Iannone chased them home on the second works Ducati.

Aleix Espargaro escaped a first-corner clash that ended Yonny Hernandez’s race and sent his Suzuki team-mate Maverick Vinales wide to take ninth, with AlvaroBautista getting the Gresini Aprilia into the top 10 again in 10th.