MotoGP™ came back with a bang as the Monster Energy British Grand Prix delivered enthralling and unpredictable racing action that left fans unable to look away. 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 led the majority of the race with Espargaro able to get a good look at the factory Ducati ahead, and he 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 in 2nd place. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) had his hands full with the Aprilias of Maverick Viñales and Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team ) as the South African fought hard to bring home 3rd place.
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. 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's belly 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 man on circuit.
A small error with 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. 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. 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 with Bagnaia desperate to get past the Aprilia, but there was no way through as Espargaro left no room for the reigning Champion, leaving him forced to settle for 2nd place. A historic second win for Aprilia, 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. 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.
It was an important weekend for Aprilia Racing as the Noale manufacturer returned to victory at a Silverstone Circuit that has been both cruel and kind to Aleix Espargaro. MotoGP™ now turns its attention to the Red Bull Ring in Austria for the CryptoDATA Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich set to take place from the 18th to the 20th of August... KTM home turf and Ducati's happy hunting grounds. Can they hit back? Make sure to keep up to date with all of the action as it unfolds on motogp.com!
1. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing)
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) +0.215
3. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.680
4. Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team) +0.750
5. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) +2.101
6. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) +7.903
7. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) +9.099
8. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +9.298
9. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) +9.958
10. Raul Fernández (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team) +19.947
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