#BritishGP Silverstone, Friday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
By the end of play on Friday there was plenty to talk about at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, with Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) attacking late to head the timesheets from 2020 champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar). The top three was completed by Aprilia, with the Noale factory’s fastest assault on Friday coming from previous Silverstone winner Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing). Another key headlines sees Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) outside the provisional Q2 places as it stands, the number 63 ending Friday in P11 despite a quick start to the day.
Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) came back from a crash to top FP1, just pipping fellow Ducati rider Bagnaia, who also suffered a crash and also made quick amends.
Championship leader Quartararo, meanwhile, suffered a technical problem briefly, and the Frenchman tested out the Long Lap penalty loop that awaits him in the race no less than four times in FP1. He finished the session in fourth, half a second off the top, with former Silverstone winner Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) slotting in between the number 20 and the Ducati duo at the top.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was fifth quickest ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) and teammate Viñales, the two Aprilias split by only a tenth and a half, with Mir, Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completing the top ten in FP1.
The afternoon saw fortunes change. First, after a pair of Ducatis occupied P1 and P2 in FP1, it was soon a couple of Aprilias that were sitting top of the tree in FP2 as Aleix Espargaro and Viñales got down to a 1:59.681 and 1:59.737 respectively. Quartararo and Rins ventured into the 1:59 bracket too in the early stages.
Rins was then the first rider to slot in the soft, soft Michelin tyre combination. The 2019 British GP race winner’s opening lap saw him climb to P1 by 0.330s, and his second lap was a 1:59.246 – the gap to Aleix Espargaro extend to 0.435s. But with five minutes to go, things got busy.
Mir shot up to P2 before Aleix Espargaro reduced Rins’ gap to 0.180s. Mir, on his second soft tyre flying lap, then leapt to P1 to make it a Suzuki 1-2 with two minutes left on the clock. But soon after, Quartararo took over as the pacesetter after setting the first 1:58 lap time of the weekend.
That’s how it stayed in terms of the top two, with Quartararo leading Mir. Viñales then pocketed P3 on his last flying lap, and another improver on their final push was FP1 pacesetter Zarco. The Frenchman – who crashed at Turn 7 in the morning – finished fourth, 0.188s away from his compatriot Quartararo, while Aleix Espargaro had to settle for a solid P5 on Friday.
Provisional Q2 places
All riders improved in the afternoon so the combined times are the FP2 timesheets. The top five is Quartararo, Mir, Viñales, Zarco and Aleix Espargaro, with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) next up in P6.
The Portugese rider was sporting KTM’s extended exhaust and from the outside, it seems to be working a treat. He was just a couple of tenths down on P1, as Rins picks up P7 after briefly sitting top. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) – who crashed unhurt at Turn 7 in FP2 – and rookie Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) occupy the final, provisional Q2 spots.
That means that Bagnaia, despite the Italian sitting second fastest after the opening Free Practice session, has work to do to try and gain an automatic Q2 place. The Italian is 11th heading into the all-important FP3 session on Saturday morning… although the skies look like they’ll stay dry.
It was almost a two-man show in Moto2™ on Friday at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, with Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and home hero Jake Dixon (GASGAS Aspar Team) duelling it out on the top of the timesheets in both sessions and in their own postcode. The Spaniard took it in the end to end Friday fastest, with Dixon 0.187 back before a 0.369 gap back to another impressive performance from Alonso Lopez (CAG Speed Up).
Fernandez picked up where he left off for much of FP1, the Spaniard over six tenths clear until late on and a late attack from Dixon. The Brit then took over on top as he pipped Fernandez by 0.066, with the two four full tenths ahead of Aron Canet (Flexbox HP 40) in third. Lopez continued his impressive form to take fourth, ahead of Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) and Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia).
Championship leader Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) was down in P16 as action began at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix.
The drama for Moto2™ came both on track and off. First, Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was declared unfit for the Grand Prix as his fractured femur continues to heal, and then, after a crash in FP1, Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) was sidelined from the event early. The Brit dislocated his shoulder and was declared unfit for Silverstone.
FP2 + Provisional Q2 places
It was a role reversal in FP2 as Fernandez returned to the top, but Dixon was once again his main challenger as the two enjoyed some gap at the top. Lopez marched even further forward, and there was a splash of drama for Canet as he tumbled out, rider ok.
Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) shot up into fourth by the end of play, with Albert Arenas (GASGAS Aspar Team) taking P5 on Day 1. Filip Salač (Gresini Racing Moto2) slotted into an impressive sixth, getting the better of Ogura. Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) was next up ahead of a much improved afternoon from Vietti as the Italian took P9, gaining nine places. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) completed the top ten.
As it stands, Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team), Roberts, Canet and Fermin Aldeguer (CAG Speed Up) stand to move through to Q2 – so there’s plenty on the line in FP3.
John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) dominated the afternoon at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, pulling four tenths clear by the end of action to top the timesheets ahead of Izan Guevara (Gaviota ASGAS Aspar Team). Xavier Artigas (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP) completed the top three, with Championship leader Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) down in P18 on Day 1 despite the number 11 topping FP1 at Silverstone.
Garcia hit first, but it was only by 0.041 ahead of fellow frontrunner Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing). Lorenzo Fellon (SIC58 Squadra Corse) also impressed in third, still within an infinitesimal 0.061 of the top.
Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) was only 0.109 off Garcia too, before a slightly bigger gap back to Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets – MSI). He had Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) for close company, with Guevara in P7 as he aims to keep closing the gap to FP1-leading teammate Garcia.
The first session on Friday was light on drama, with an issue only hitting for Dani Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as he was Black Flagged… but for a transponder issue, which was soon fixed for the number 96 to head back out.
FP2 + Provisional Q2 places
McPhee rose to the fore in FP2 with a huge advantage, with Guevara only able to get within 0.433 of the Scotsman. It was a long way ahead of teammate Garcia, however, as the number 11 languished down in P18.
Artigas impressed in third ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing), with Fellon remaining high up the timesheets in the afternoon in fifth. Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) was next up ahead of David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports), with some firepower just behind in the form of Foggia and Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo), both of whom need to get their seasons back on winning form if they’re to challenge.
Assen winner Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) completes the top ten overall, with Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse), Adrian Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) and Öncü currently on to move through… leaving Garcia waiting for FP3 to try and take a place in Q2.