Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) and Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) today fought back from a luckless and complicated Saturday at sun-blessed Silverstone, recovering numerous positions after starting far back on the grid.
Yesterday’s qualifying outing didn’t go to plan for the 30-year-old from Chiba and the 31-year-old Spaniard, who lined up 20th and 18th on the grid. But the pair kept their cool and when the lights went out they set about the challenging task of moving forward, at a time when overtaking is very difficult in motorcycling racing’s premier class.
After the first few laps Nakagami and Espargaro were riding with Honda’s top qualifier Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V), moving past the 26-year-old Spaniard to move into the points around halfway through the 20-lap race. At the chequered flag they were 13th and 14th, separated by exactly two tenths of a second, running a race pace around six tenths of a second off the winner.
Nakagami found the race particularly challenging, because he had so many riders in front of him during the crucial early laps. However, he didn’t let that hold him back and he made several excellent overtakes aboard his RC213V.
This was Espargaro’s first race finish since the Catalan Grand Prix in early June, after an injury during the subsequent German GP which forces him to withdraw from that race and miss the following Dutch round of the series. He was much happier with his pace in the latter stages of today’s race and is convinced he will be more competitive at the next race in Austria.
Marquez completed the race in 17th, two positions outside the World Championship points. The former Moto2 and Moto3 World Champion had great hopes of qualifying further up the grid to aid his race performance but slid off during yesterday’s Q1 qualifier. Today he was held up by an error in electronics set-up, which caused him rear-grip problems, especially in the later stages when he was unable to go with Nakagami and Espargaro.
Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) qualified 18th but was given a three-place grid penalty for riding slowly on the racing line during Q1. Starting from 21st made the race especially difficult for Honda’s official MotoGP test rider, who is riding in place of six-times MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), who is recovering from surgery to the upper right arm that he fractured in July 2020.
During the race Bradl ran off the track while fighting with a rival, which got him another penalty, which dropped him further back. The 32-year-old German finished the race in 19th position, less than a second behind Marquez.
Today’s British Grand Prix was the 12th of this year’s 20-race championship and the start of the second part of the season, following a five-week summer break. The MotoGP paddock now heads back to the Continent to the town of Spielberg for the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on 21 August. The 2022 MotoGP season concludes at Valencia, Spain, on 6 November.