#BritishGP Silverstone, raceday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
For two Championship titans at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, eight was the key number. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) held off Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) by just under half a second to become the eighth different winner at Silverstone in eight events, and Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was only able to take P8 despite emerging from his Long Lap penalty within the fight for the podium.
For Bagnaia that’s a 17 point gain in the standings, and with Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) completing the podium it was a good day for the Borgo Panigale factory all round – with a Ducati now having been on the podium 18 races in a row too, the longest streak ever.
Off the line, polesitter Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) got the holeshot as he headed Quartararo early on, with the factory Ducati duo of Miller and Bagnaia taking up third and fourth respectively. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins was fifth on his Suzuki before he overtook Bagnaia on Lap 3 at The Loop, but both moved up on Lap 4 when Quartararo – who was sanctioned for his run-in with Aleix Espargaro at Assen – took his Long Lap Penalty at the last possible opportunity.
‘El Diablo’ was still second as he entered the penalty loop and resumed in fifth, behind Zarco, Miller, Rins, and Bagnaia. By then, Viñales was sixth and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) seventh, as a bruised Aleix Espargaro struggled to keep pace after his huge FP4 highside.
Zarco seemingly had a great shot at finally clinching a maiden MotoGP™ race win, but disaster struck when he folded the front and crashed at Vale on Lap 5. Miller then inherited the lead and while Rins went underneath the Australian at The Loop later that same lap, the Spaniard could not get the move done. He tried another pass at Vale on Lap 6 and was successful that time, putting the #42 GSX-RR at the head of the field.
Miller ceded second position to teammate Bagnaia exactly a lap later again at Vale, by which time Martin had charged up to fourth after blazing past Quartararo as they ran up the Hangar Straight moments earlier. The Spaniard went down the inside of Miller at Copse at the start of Lap 8 but ran wide on exit and had to get back into file behind the Ducati Lenovo Team rider. Viñales, though, was now well on the move, into the top five asmhe overtook Quartararo on the Hangar Straight on Lap 9.
Up ahead, Rins continued to lead but looked increasingly like the cork in the bottle. Bagnaia then struck to get past on Lap 12 at Stowe and Miller made it a factory Ducati one-two when he got underneath Rins at Village on Lap 14. Meanwhile, Viñales and Martin had been chopping and changing in the battle for fourth position until the former completed a decisive move on Lap 16 at Village. He wasted no time dealing with Rins, however, overtaking the Suzuki for third place exactly a lap later.
Village was proving a popular location for ‘Top Gun’, who passed Miller for second there on Lap 18, at which point he faced a 0.6-second deficit to Bagnaia. On Lap 19, he made yet another attempt at an overtake at Village, but this time could not make the move stick. Still, just 0.3 seconds separated first and second at the start of the 20th and final lap. Could Viñales win on a third different bike?
Not quite. The number 12 was wide through Stowe and Vale, ensuring Bagnaia just had the breathing space he needed to clinch the win – 0.426 clear over the line. Miller completed the podium, homing in on Viñales but not quite able to make it either.
The battle for fourth position raged all the way until the end. Martin was back into fourth when he overtook Rins on Lap 17, but then another threat emerged in the form of Enea Bastianini. The Gresini Racing rider qualified eighth and, despite losing a winglet in first-corner contact with Martin, was tucked in just behind him on Lap 19 after leapfrogging Rins. And the ‘Beast’ got it done, stealing the position from ‘The Martinator’ – his rival for the factory team seat in 2023 – on the final lap at Brooklands.
Martin therefore finished fifth and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) came from Row 5 on the grid to claim sixth at the chequered flag, while Rins faded to seventh in the end.
Behind them came the top two in the World Championship, Quartararo and Espargaro, who found themselves in direct combat for eighth on the final lap. Espargaro outbraked Quartararo at Brooklands and while he could not pull up in time to complete the pass, ninth was still a heroic effort for the Aprilia rider who feared he might not even be able to race after his practice highside. Losing just a point to Quartararo was probably his wildest dream on Saturday evening.
Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) rounded out the top 10 in another impressive ride, with the rest of the points finishers being Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™). Joining Zarco as a retirement was Suzuki’s Joan Mir, who crashed out of eighth on Lap 15 at Stowe.
In the Championship standings, Quartararo is now 22 points up on Aleix Espargaro, but Bagnaia has closed to 49 points off top spot, and he’s third overall and top Ducati… guess where we head to next?
Ducati turf: the Styrian hills and the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Catch the CryptoDATA Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich from August 19-21.
Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) vs Alonso Lopez (CAG Speed Up) proved a Moto2™ battle for the ages at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix. It came down to the final lap as Fernandez snatched victory from Lopez’s grasp in a spectacular encounter, while home hero Jake Dixon (GASGAS Aspar Team) claimed a dream podium at Silverstone.
Fernandez now leads the standings as the top three reversed order on Sunday.
Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) grabbed the holeshot from the middle of the front row but Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was the rider to lead over the line at the end of Lap 1. However, Lopez took the lead at the beginning of Lap 2 after making fantastic progress from 8th.
World Championship leader Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) didn’t get the start he would have wanted from the second row and was outside the top six. Taking his Long Lap penalty, Vietti had to produce a front-end save on the exit as the Italian came out in P11, over four seconds down on the race lead.
A top four of Lopez, Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40), Ogura and Fernandez then broke clear, with Dixon chasing them in fifth a second away. After a couple of laps, Dixon bridged the gap to Fernandez’s rear wheel and the lead group became a quintet, with sixth place Albert Arenas (GASGAS Aspar Team) under a second away from his teammate.
With nine to go, Lopez’s lead was up to 0.8s. That was up to a second by the end of the lap as Fernandez moved up to P2 ahead of Canet, as Arenas then crashed at Turn 4. Thankfully, Arenas and his stricken bike were avoided by the oncoming traffic. With seven to go, both Canet and Ogura had a scare heading into Turn 13 and half a lap later, Dixon was past the pair of them.
Fernandez set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 13 and was hunting down Lopez. With four to go, the gap was nothing as Dixon, Ogura and Canet battled away for the final podium spot behind them. It was as you were with two laps to go, but it was getting feisty. Canet and Dixon exchanged P3, Ogura made slight contact with Canet’s rear wheel and it was as close as it gets between Lopez and Fernandez at the front, too.
Lopez was defending like a lion and it was all coming down to Brooklands – the final part of the lap. And it was right there, Turn 16, where Fernandez pounced. Late on the brakes, up the inside, Lopez tried to protect his lead but his compatriot forced his way through. Lopez tried to bite back but the last-ditch move handed Fernandez a second straight win, and one that sees him take a 13-point lead in the Championship after winning by just 0.070.
Lopez’s debut Moto2™ World Championship podium was sensational and coming out on top in the battle for the final podium spot was home hero Dixon, who finished just 0.6s away from victory in the end.
Ogura’s P4 ahead of Canet could be two vital points come the end of the season, as Vietti rescues a P6 after his Long Lap penalty. Roberts slipped to P7 after showing great pace in Free Practice and qualifying, the American finishing ahead of Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP40), Filip Salač (Gresini Racing Moto2™) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team).
Fernandez now sits as the outright Moto2™ title leader heading to Austria, with Ogura and Vietti 13 and 15 points back respectively… will it change again in Styria? we’ll find out in two weeks.
After a dramatic few laps of Silverstone there has been a serious shift in the lightweight class standings, with Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) emerging victorious from the drama as both Championship leader Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) and closest challenger and teammate Izan Guevara crashed, separately, through no fault of their own. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) likewise capitalised and stormed through from outside the top 20 on the grid to take second, with Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) completing the podium for his first rostrum finish of 2022 – extending his streak as the only rider to score in every race so far.
The opening lap was fast and frantic as several riders took turns in leading. Guevara, Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets – MSI), polesitter Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) and Öncü started strong and briefly led, but it was Guevara who pounced at Turn 1 on Lap 2 to reclaim P1.
Home hero John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) made great early progress to get up to P4 from 10th on the grid, with 8th on the grid Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) also powering up to the front of the freight train. Meanwhile, World Championship leader Garcia was battling away in the lower ends of the top 10.
It was a proper barnstormer. You could throw a blanket over the top 20 riders and the lead was changing lap after lap. Foggia, with eight to go, boasted the biggest lead we’d seen all race – 0.6s over the line, with teammate Suzuki acting as the stopping block in second place. David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) was back up into the top five after taking his Long Lap penalty too, as Guevara and McPhee found themselves down in 10th and 11th, and Garcia 8th.
With four laps to go, it was still anyone’s race to win. Garcia was P6, crucially ahead of teammate and title rival Guevara who had lost out down to P9, but less than two seconds still split the top 16. With three laps to go, Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) led for the first time and tried ti pull clear, but he was immediately swallowed up down the Hangar Straight.
Then came the drama. Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) tagged the rear of Garcia at Turn 13 and both riders crashed out, with Sasaki stretchered away and taken to the medical centre, the Japanese rider conscious, and Garcia back on his bike but unable to continue.
Heading onto the final lap, Öncü was the leader followed by Muñoz and Ortola, with Guevara 7th. Masia then took the lead, and then lost it to Foggia, and then more drama unravelled as Guevara was taken out by Ortola at Stowe. After the latter clipped Öncü, Suzuki highsided on the exit to crash out too.
Foggia, the man third in the title race, emerged leading from Masia, Muñoz and Öncü, and round the final section Foggia was able to keep his head down and stay out of trouble, with Muñoz crashing on his own and losing out.
On the run to the line, Foggia was able to hold on for a crucial victory and gain 25 points as Masia beat Öncü by 0.045s to finish in P2, with the Turkish rider claiming third and that first podium of the season.
After that drama, the huge group fight for the podium saw Kaito Toba (CIP – Green Power) made amazing late progress to move up and take fourth, ahead of Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) completing the top five in his best result yet. Moreira made his way back through to sixth, with McPhee getting shuffled back late on to finish seventh. Front row starter Yamanaka finished eighth ahead of Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team), with Carlos Tatay (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP) just beating teammate Xavier Artigas to the final place in the top ten.
After that dramatic showdown the field now heads for the Austrian hills as the Red Bull Ring hosts Round 13, with the Championship even closer.