After five weekends off, MotoGP™ returns and to kick off the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, three of the top four in the World Championship offered their thoughts on what feels like a crucial race in the title race. Standings leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) – who faces a Long Lap penalty – was joined by Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) to discuss all things Silverstone alongside Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar).
How is Quartararo approaching the weekend?
The Long Lap penalty is, understandably, a hot topic ahead of track action kicking off. It will be all the way to Sunday’s checkered flag and probably beyond. But for the Frenchman, the approach to Silverstone’s battle is just like any other weekend.
“Yeah five weeks was pretty long but I feel happy to be back, I will approach this weekend like a normal weekend, it’s how we need to do it. And then we have that penalty but let’s see how the weekend is going and of course how we approach the race. It will be a great challenge for us and I feel ready to race.”
How are Aleix Espargaro and Pecco approaching the weekend?
Whichever way you look at it, Quartararo’s Long Lap penalty presents a fantastic opportunity for the likes of Espargaro and Pecco to take advantage. The former’s Assen performance gave the Spaniard a great injection of confidence and the number 41 is just buzzing to continue his title attack after a good break.
“I can’t wait, sincerely. I’m very motivated, more than ever in my life. I recharged the batteries a lot during these five weeks and the challenge that I have in front of me is huge, but I will try to enjoy it as much as possible,” said Espargaro. “It’s going to be a very, very intense three months, but I will try my best, I will try to fight to the end. I think I have a very good team, a very good bike, and I have proved in the last GP that I can be very fast, so let’s try to have some fun and see if I can do it.”
Bagnaia headed into the summer off the back of a much-needed victory. Three wins and three DNFs have been the story of Pecco’s last six races, so the thing the Italian is focused on in the second part of the campaign is the magic ‘c’ word: consistency.
“For sure if I want to have a chance to win the Championship I have to finish more races. It’s ok to win but it’s also important to finish when you’re not able to win. In the last six races I won three races but I also crashed in three races, two for my reasons and one for another. But in any case in the second part of the season it will be important to find the consistency and to be competitive like we were always in the first part of the season, but with finishing the races,” commented Pecco.
It's going to be a fascinating watch to see what unfolds at Silverstone this weekend. Qualifying is always vital, but Quartararo needs – at least – a front row more than ever to minimise the damage the Long Lap penalty will cause. Will Aleix Espargaro, Pecco and others be able to capitalise? Time will tell.