#BritishGP Silverstone, Sunday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
MotoGP™ came back with a bang as the Monster Energy British Grand Prix delivered an instant, last lap classic. With spots of rain falling towards the end of the race, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) mastered the changing conditions to put himself in the perfect position for a last-lap attack on Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). The Italian had led the majority of the race and withstood both serious pressure and the difficult conditions, but Espargaro studied his prey and pounced late on for Aprilia’s second ever premier class win. Reigning Champion Bagnaia will be happy to take 20 points, however, as his title rival Marco Bezzecchi(Mooney VR46 Racing Team) crashed out whilst following Bagnaia earlier in the race, with that dropping back to third overall.
For third in the race, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) had his hands full with the Aprilias of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and Miguel Oliveira(CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) as the South African fought hard but got the job done to take that podium after it evaded him in Assen. Oliveira, meanwhile, took P4 as top Independent Team rider.
MotoGP™ springs back into life at Silverstone
The grid settled at Silverstone as the 2023 MotoGP™ rollercoaster of a season was set to return to action after a long summer break. The Monster Energy British Grand Prix marks the start of the second half of the season as the title trio prepared to resume battle, and the track was bone-dry but a chance of rain added to tension on the grid.
Bezzecchi started on pole position, but as the revs rose and the grid flew off the line it was a lightning start from Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) from the middle of the front row with Bezzecchi eyeing up a way through on the Aussie. Meanwhile, Bagnaia shot up to P3 from 4th on the grid as he had Alex Marquez(Gresini Racing MotoGP™) and Viñales in his wheel-tracks.
Bagnaia did not hesitate in getting past his title rivals as he took his first opportunity to pass Bezzecchi, with his sights set on Miller in the lead. Bezzecchi wasn’t letting Bagnaia have it easy though as he fired it back up the inside. That ignited the fire in the Championship leader as Bagnaia pulled off an incredible move around the outside of Bezzecchi and used his momentum to take the lead away from Miller at the next corner.
Bezzecchi followed pursuit and pushed the Aussie back to P3 into the clutches of Alex Marquez, and once through Bagnaia and Bezzecchi began to break away, the title rivals locked together at the front.
Aleix Espargaro was a man on a mission with 16 laps remaining as the Aprilia rider pushed his way through on Marquez into 3rd place, however, and was the fastest rider on circuit.
Small error, big consequences
Bezzecchi had rushed into turn Stowe corner with 15 laps remaining, running himself slightly wide. If that was a warning it wasn’t heeded, as one lap later the VR46 rider made the same mistake, but this time the Silverstone Circuit wasn’t as kind to the title contender as he tucked the front and went down and out of the British Grand Prix. Rider ok, but with Bagnaia in the lead, this was proving to be a big dent in Bezzecchi’s Championship charge.
The Italian’s crash promoted Espargaro to 2nd place and Brad Binder up into 3rd, with the Spaniard putting the hammer down to reel in the number one plated Ducati out the front. Bagnaia did respond and upped the pace at the front, but the Aprilia was able to hang onto his coattails, initiating an intense battle for the victory that went right to the flag.
Rain flags and several plot twists…
Meanwhile, Viñales had made his way through on Binder with 11 laps to go, making it two Aprilias inside the top 3. Viñales then proceeded to catch the leading group with Binder latched onto his rear wheel. It became a true group of 4 at the front with seven laps remaining, and the white flags were displayed with light spots of rain dropping onto the Silverstone Circuit. And when the rain picked up at turn 15, the Aprilias backed off slightly allowing Binder to fly his way through as the South African was as committed as ever.
The yo-yo in the group continued though, and Espargaro made his way back through on Binder with 4 laps to go as Bagnaia was putting down a strong pace out the front. Espargaro was then able to latch back onto the Italian as Binder began to drop back, with Oliveira then throwing his name into the mix as he came out of seemingly nowhere to catch the leading group.
Oliveira wasted no time in getting past Binder and Viñales as the Portuguese rider pulled off an incredible two-in-one move to make his way into P3.
By last lap time, Binder had gotten the better of Oliveira to slot himself back into P3 as Bagnaia stretched out the group in the first sector, edging a few tenths ahead of Espargaro on the chase. Was there time left for a move? There was. Espargaro dug in and got back on terms with the Ducati before making an incredible move on the power at the exit of Copse Corner to blast past the Italian. The Spaniard went defensive down the Hangar straight too, with Bagnaia desperate to get past the Aprilia, but there was no way through. Espargaro left no room for the reigning Champion, leaving him forced to settle for 2nd place. A historic second win for Aprilia and a ninth different winner in a row at Silverstone, but an extended Championship lead for Pecco.
Binder also put on an impressive defensive display as he fended off Oliveira for the final podium spot. Viñales came home in 5th place, making it three Aprilias inside the top five after a storming Silverstone for the Noale factory. It’s also the first time Aprilia, Ducati and KTM have shared the podium.
Behind that fight, Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) took P6 as he gained significant ground on Bezzecchi for P2 in the standings, the Pramac also having earlier been sent quite wide with Binder after the South African found himself in a Lap 1 sandwich.
Alex Marquez retired from the front group with a mechanical issue, Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) pulled in to retire too after earlier contact in a crash for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team).
Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) put in a storming first half of the race from the back of the grid but then tangled with Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) before running over his own strewn fairing. He then pitted to change to his second bike on wets to try his luck, and did take the final point as a couple of others gambled too.
Marini took P7 just ahead of Miller, who was sent well wide in an earlier tangle with Viñales, with Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) in P9 ahead of Raul Fernandez(CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) to make it all Aprilias in the top ten.
Moto2™ delivered enthralling action at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix as Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools SpeedUp) came out guns blazing with the heat turned up in Silverstone, taking his first Grand Prix win in style. The Spaniard got the better of Aron Canet (Pons Wegwow Los40) who had the bit between his teeth in 2nd place. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was fighting at the sharp end as always, and a British GP podium saw him take the Championship lead from Tony Arbolino (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) who could only manage 10th place.
It was Aldeguer who took the holeshot down into turn 1, before being pushed back down the order to 4th place with teammate Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools SpeedUp), Acosta, and Canet hitting the front.
Meanwhile, it was a disaster home Grand Prix for Jake Dixon (Tensite GASGAS Aspar Team) who was looking for redemption in the race after crashing out of qualifying. Unfortunately, it was a similar fate for the Brit in the race as the Aspar rider went down and out of the race with 16 laps to go after a clash with Darryn Binder (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP).
Meanwhile, back at the front, Canet began to put the hammer down and pull away from Lopez, Acosta, and Aldeguer. The Spaniard had stretched out a one-second lead with 11 laps remaining.
One lap later there was drama still to come as Lopez went down. Out of the Grand Prix after dropping off the back of Acosta and Aldeguer, there would be no follow up to his dream first rostrum at the venue in 2022.
Aldeguer went on to put down a scintillating pace as he reeled in Canet, wasting no time to snatch the lead from his compatriot with 8 laps to go. Canet did all he could to hold on, but then was forced to drop a position to Acosta after overtaking under yellow flags.
The Boscoscuro of Aldeguer went on to pull away at the front, setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap with the only 2:04s of the weekend. The Spaniard’s pace was unmatched as he went on to take the win by 2.546s.
Canet then bounced back at Acosta, snatching 2nd place from his compatriot as the KTM Ajo rider was forced to settle for P3, but it did see him take hold of the Championship standings, now leading the way by 2 points.
Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing) picked up a great result in P4, ahead of Manuel Gonzalez (Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 Team) who carved through the field to round out the top 5 after being battered down out of points earlier in the race.
The Moto3™ showdown at Silverstone will live long in the memory, not least for first time Grand Prix winner David Alonso (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team). The number 80 becomes the first Colombian Grand Prix winner in history, and after gaining a stunning 27 places from the back of the grid after a disastrous qualifying. It was a close, close fight at the front, however, and the finish is the second-closest top 15 in history.
Second place went to Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) as the Japanese rider’s run of podiums continued, moving him up into second overall as the rider who held that on the way in, Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) slid out of the lead early doors. Championship leader Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) took third, however, minimising the damage from Sasaki’s recent charge.
There was immediate heartbreak for Scott Ogden (VisionTrack Racing Team) was unable to get off the line on the Warm Up lap. By the time the Brit had gotten his bike restarted he was behind the safety car and was forced to start his home Grand Prix from the back of the grid, instead of the front row.
When the lights went out it was a good start for Holgado, who snatched the holeshot from Masia into turn 1. Masia, who started from pole, bit straight back though as Holgado who was then pushed back to 4th place with Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Sasaki getting themselves stuck in on lap one.
Öncü led as they came across the line for the first time ahead of Masia and Holgado. The typical Moto3™ freight train then began to form as Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) joined the battle at the front.
With 13 laps still remaining it was a disaster for Masia as the Spaniard crashed out at Village corner, remounting straight away and firing himself back into the race, but with a mountain to climb to the top 15, he was unable to score a point.
Meanwhile at the front, Diogo Moreira (MT Helemts MSI) and Alonso had joined the party whilst Masia’s title rival Holgado was leading the freight train, with 20 riders locked together in victory contention. It was blink-and-miss-it stuff as the laps ticked away with the Moto3™ riders banging bars, swapping paintwork, and bashing elbows in a hard but fair battle for victory.
Alonso was looking racey with eight laps remaining as the youngster wasn’t shy of battling with the big names at the front. Romano Fenati (Rivacold Snipers Team) also threw his name into the mix with six laps to go, utilising his unique wide-swooping style to take the lead with an incredible round-the-outside move, but only to battered back down the order.
When last lap time came around, it was Holgado that led Alonso and Öncü with Ortola, Sasaki, and Moreira eager to break into the top 3. Alonso took the lead halfway around but it didn’t last long as Sasaki pushed his way to the front ahead of the final sector.
Alonso snatched the lead back on the hangar straight as Öncü jumped into P2 to then be pushed wide creating a gap in the group, this allowed the Colombian to hold onto the lead until the line as the youngster took his debut win in his rookie season at Grand Prix level, ahead of Sasaki who fended off Holgado to the line.
Ortola narrowly missed out on the podium in P4 as he fended off the menacing David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) who rounded out the top 5.
Ogden was a rider on a mission as he pushed his way into the top 20 with 12 laps remaining, tagging himself onto the back of the leading group. The Brit pushed his way into the points with 4 laps to go but dropped back to P16 in the closing stages, then classified one further back due to track limits on the last lap.