Will Silverstone pit the veterans against the rookies?

The old hands may have an ace up their sleeve as Moto3™ face down Silverstone, with a nearly 6km-long lap waiting to be tamed

The MotoGP™ paddock didn’t grace the fast, flowing ribbon of tarmac that is Silverstone Circuit last season, and that could play a role in each class as we return to the Northamptonshire venue for the Monster Energy British Grand Prix. In Moto3™ it may have more of an effect than eslewhere, however, as some riders arrive with a CV as long as the Hamilton Straight and some arrive with what amounts to a blank slate.

Championship leader Pedro Acosta, being a rookie, has been riding at each 2021 venue for the first time on his Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto3™ machinery. But many of the tracks he’s conquered are ones he got to know in his tenure in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship – or pre-season testing. It makes his campaign no less impressive, but it begs a question as we head back onto British turf with Acosta 41 points ahead in the standings: is this first contact a real chance for those on the chase to fight back?

Closest challenger and Austrian GP winner Sergio Garcia (Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team) has done one weekend at Silverstone, 2019, which the stats gurus will remember was also the year he debuted in the World Championship; too young to even race in the season openers. Since then he’s added a whole lot of experience, of the podium and top step to boot, so can that little bit of extra track knowledge help him take advantage? He’ll be hoping so, but some of the riders lurking in the standings have even more.

There are two more key faces in the standings who have a single race at the track under their belts: Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) and Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3), and both finished in the top eight in that 2019 race. However, both also count on a Grand Prix weekend’s worth of experience from 2018… it just doesn’t include the race itself as the track conditions put paid to that. Can they make that count?

Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo), meanwhile, was back on good form at the Red Bull Ring and his Silverstone exploits take the previous experience counter to two. As well as those two races, he’d also been set to start second by just 0.001 as Jorge Martin pipped him to pole in 2018. Can he use his proven speed to turn the tables on teammate Acosta this time out?

Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) is next up of the Championship top eight. He’s raced the venue three times, plus the 2018 sessions, and the South African arrives looking to get back on his early season podium form too. Next is Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), who remains third in the Championship as his consistency and consistent speed rolls on, and he ramps up the count to six. He’s never taken a podium, however… that honour belongs solely to compatriot Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46). Antonelli hits a magnificent seven previous races at Silverstone, plus 2018 and including that 2015 rostrum finish. Coming back from injury and now eighth, one point behind Sasaski, he’ll want to join the Japanese rider in finding a little more luck.

The real veteran on the grid at the British GP, however, is John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing). Fittingly, the home hero has eight races under his belt at Silverstone, stretching back to his third ever Grand Prix appearance in 2011 in the 125cc World Championship. After a rollercoaster start to 2021, his luck has turned a little of late and it’s four points-paying positions in a row for the number 17, including a sixth and a seventh. Can he outfox the opposition on home turf?

The Moto3™ class is seldom just a numbers game, however, and there are plenty of riders who’ll be joining Acosta in trying to hit the ground running. Fellow 2021 rookie Izan Guvevara (Valresa GASAGS Aspar Team) had a revelatory ride in Austria and will want to get to grips with the track, and the riders whose first full season was 2020 likewise face a race against the veterans, including Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3), whose route to 2020 Rookie of the Year did not include Silverstone. His teammate Gabriel Rodrigo also needs a turnaround in form and will be one of those on the other side of the coin looking to use experience to his advantage, as will the likes of Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power).

5.9km of fast, flowing tarmac awaits the Moto3™ class at Silverstone. Will it be a group showdown, or can someone break away? Will the weather stay dry or should we expect some rain to come to stay? And will experience really count once the lights go out and another 100.3km of Moto3™ racing gets underway… or will Acosta stay ahead of the game?

We’ll find out on Sunday the 29th of August at the slightly later time of 11:20 (GMT +1), so make sure to tune in!

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