The Italian returns from the summer break strong with a second successive victory.
It is always a great feeling to return to racing after a long summer break, but it’s even better when we’re given an incredible show by the world’s best riders. Like most Silverstone races of the past, we witnessed more breathtaking battles for the lead, and excitement lasting all the way to the end of the race. This time it was Francesco Bagnaia who took the top step once again, holding off a late charging Maverick Vinales to take the win by just 0.426s.
The race began with Johann Zarco on pole, who made a great start and maintained the lead while Vinales dropped several positions from 2nd on the grid. Zarco was briefly chased by compatriot Fabio Quartararo, before the latter went on to serve his long lap penalty he received after the Assen race. Shortly after, however, Zarco crashed out of the lead, losing yet another opportunity to claim his maiden MotoGP victory. Miller effectively took the lead, before eventually being passed by his teammate. At the same time, Alex Rins began charging his way to the front, picking off riders one by one having started 11th on the grid. He eventually overtook Bagnaia for the lead and began to pull away gradually. Given the Spaniard’s career history in Silverstone, many thought the race was over as soon as he took the lead.
After several laps however, Rins’ lead rapidly faded as he suddenly struggled with grip. Bagnaia retook the lead, while Rins unfortunately lost more places despite his best efforts to defend against Miller, Vinales, and even Enea Bastianini who rode the entire race with one wing missing.
Maverick Vinales eventually emerged as the favorite for the win, as he began his charge for the lead. Over the final four laps he managed to overtake Martin, Miller and Bagnaia, passing the Italian on the penultimate lap for the lead. Bagnaia retook the lead shortly before the start of the final lap, where Vinales ran wide on a couple of occasions, effectively losing his chance for the win. Despite managing to close into Bagnaia again towards the final sectors, it was ultimately not enough as he watched the Italian cross the finish line in front of him by four tenths of a second. Vinales still managed to fend off Miller from 2nd, preventing Ducati from getting a 1-2 finish.
Bastianini rode what was one of the standout rides of the day, finishing just a second away from Miller. After losing his left winglet at the start of the race, he emerged as one of the fastest riders in the second half of the race, and after running outside the top 10 in the beginning of the race, he clawed back to finish an impressive 4th. Behind him was Martin, finishing a solid 5th.
Finishing 6th was a silently impressive Miguel Oliveira. The Portuguese had often struggled to match his own teammate throughout the season, but today he subtly performed beyond expectations to finish as the top KTM, and took his first top six finish since his home round seven races prior. Alex Rins did the most he could with the lack of grip on his Suzuki, finishing 7th albeit with the fastest lap of the race.
Quartararo was unable to improve after serving his long lap penalty, as he gradually faded away from the leaders and was overtaken by several more riders, having to settle for 8th. He fended off his nearest championship rival Aleix Espargaro at the end, where the Spaniard attempted a last lap divebomb on the Frenchman at the Brooklands corner, only to run wide. Despite only finishing 9th, it was still a respectable ride by Espargaro as he had hurt himself in a violent highside on the Saturday practice, initially being doubted to ride in both the qualifying and race sessions.
Marco Bezzecchi covers the top 10, a solid performance by the rookie who outperforms his teammate Luca Marini once more.
Aside from Johann Zarco, Joan Mir was the only other retiree of the race. The Suzuki rider struggled to break into the top 8 throughout the race, before eventually crashing out in Stowe corner with 6 laps to go while chasing Enea Bastianini.
Quartararo’s and Espargaro’s respective finishing positions meant it was a minimal change to the championship standings, with the Frenchman extending his lead by a single point. He sits on top with 180 points, while Espargaro now trails him by 22 points. Bagnaia’s successive victories combined with Zarco’s recent struggles now puts the former up to 3rd in the table, with 131 points. Bastianini moves up to 4th overall with 118 points, while Zarco remains in the top five trailing Bastianini by four points.
The next round in Austria will be home to the Red Bull KTM team, and will debut a brand new chicane in the middle of the second straight, which was introduced for safety concerns as a slight kink in the straight was deemed unsafe for MotoGP bikes, following multiple scary accidents in that particular corner. Despite the incredible excitement the old layout had always brought, it will still be interesting to see what the new chicane has to offer. Stay tuned for the next race!
Featured Image – motogp.com, Dorna Sports