Battle in Britain
Posted on Jun 20, 2012 by George Penny
I knew after the first five races this season that I had little chance of winning the British Grand Prix, but I was certain that if there was a chance of leading at any stage I would take it with the risks involved.
When I qualified on the second row at Silverstone it was pretty obvious to me that my chance had come. This year I’ve been making up two rows into the first corner from much further down the grid.
I made the start and just went for it into Abbey, off line round the outside and came out leading Scott Redding.
Two Brits leading their home grand prix with the crowd going crazy in front of millions of television viewers – it does not get a lot better than that. It was a fierce old battle for a few laps and I loved every minute of it. I could not stay with the leaders but was so much closer than any other time this year.
While they fought it out at the front I was having my own problems hanging onto sixth with Claudio Corti and Championship leader Tom Luthi piling on the pressure in the last couple of laps.
I thought I was clear but Tom was pushing so hard behind the Italian he passed me .I was gutted and was not going to give up another place without a big fight.
On the last lap Tom passed me coming down the Hanger Straight but managed to square him off at the Club chicane to regain seventh place.
Of course we are not happy with seventh but I was just seven seconds down on the leaders which is a lot closer than any time this year. We really made some encouraging strides this weekend and I was surprised right from the start on Friday riding the bike both in the wet and dry.
It was like meeting up with an old friend with the bike much more like it was last year. Tom and team certainly worked some magic before my biggest race of the year.
It’s a crucial stage of the season with three races in two weeks coming up starting at Assen in Holland a week on Saturday. With improvement at Silverstone I’ll be looking to be fighting for a top six finish and by the time we reach Mugello in Italy two weeks later let’s hope a podium is in sight before the summer break.
The build –up and race weekend at Silverstone was awesome. The week before I went to the Isle of Man to watch the TT Races. Unfortunately the rain stopped me riding round the mountain circuit on the parade lap but I still loved it over there.
I’d been once before and knew what to expect but what a track. I went round in the car for a few laps with Cal Crutchlow and every corner and section had a history and a story to tell.
My Tech 3 team came over on the Friday and they where staggered. They thought they’d seen everything in Motor Cycle racing including winning World titles but when they stood at the bottom of Bray Hill they were speechless.
The Isle of Man is an amazing place and I’ll be back to complete that lap.
On the Wednesday before Silverstone we had the MotoGP Olympics overlooking the Olympic stadium. After three events which included flicking the beer mat onto the mug and darts the Moto2 team of myself, Scott and Gino Rea took the gold medal.
On Thursday the Day of Champions raised over £250,000 for the Riders for Health charity. I love the auction up on the stage and the leathers in which I rode my 100th grand prix fetched nearly £2000.
Despite the dreadful weather on Saturday the crowd was fantastic on Sunday. The support they gave all the British riders made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I think all the British riders put it some fantastic performances to thank the crowd and Silverstone for putting on such a great show.
That brilliant support is such a boost especially when the going is getting tough. I know I speak for all the British riders when I say a really big thank-you. Let’s bring you that grand prix victory you deserve next year.