Challenging British Grand Prix Qualifying For Honda Riders
Beautiful British summer weather blessed Silverstone today but this afternoon’s qualifying outing proved challenging for Honda’s four MotoGP riders.
The historic British venue is one of the fastest most complex circuits in MotoGP and Honda has achieved numerous victories here, both in the sport’s two-stroke and four-stroke eras. However, this weekend it looks unlikely that the company will add to those successes in tomorrow’s British Grand Prix, the 12th race of this year’s 20-round MotoGP World Championship, which restarts the season following a five-week summer break.
The weekend started well yesterday morning, when Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) finished the first practice session a promising fifth fastest, only half a second off the front-running pace, using a slightly revised chassis in his RC213V.
At the end of this afternoon’s Q1 and Q2 qualifying sessions the fastest Honda rider was Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) in 17th place, which puts the 26-year-old former Moto2 and Moto3 World Champion on the sixth row of the grid.
Marquez will start the race alongside Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), who will start from 18th. The 31-year-old Spaniard believes he would have been several tenths faster if he hadn’t struggled with some electronic issues and also with traffic during his fastest run. The former Moto2 World Champion had a good race here last year and hopes he will be able to move forward in tomorrow’s 20-lapper.
Marquez’s absence has obviously had an effect on Honda’s performance, but there’s also the knock-on effect that Honda’s official MotoGP test rider Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) is so busy racing that he does not have the time to test and work on machine development as he otherwise would have done.
Nakagami will start from the seventh row of the grid after ending Saturday in 20th position, following a tumble in the earlier FP4 session. The 30-year-old from Chiba has scored four top-ten results so far this year and will do everything in his power to fight his way into the top ten tomorrow afternoon.
Bradl qualified 18th quickest but was given a three-position grid penalty for riding slow on the racing line during the Q1 session. This means he will start alongside Nakagami on row seven. The 32-year-old German is once again substituting for Honda’s six-times MotoGP king Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), who is recovering from surgery to the troublesome right arm injury that he sustained during the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix.
Following the British GP the MotoGP paddock returns to the Continent and heads southeast to Austria, for the Austrian Grand Prix, staged at the Red Bull Ring, set in the spellbindingly beautiful Styrian Alps, on 21 August.