World Championship leader takes win number five of 2021 as Aleix Espargaro takes P3; six manufacturers finish in the top six at Silverstone
For the fifth time in 2021, Sunday belonged to Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) as the Frenchman claimed a comfortable victory at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, a 25-point haul that sees his lead in the title race extend to 65 points. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) produced a cracking ride to earn his first podium of the year with a second place, as Aleix Espargaro hands Aprilia Racing Team Gresini a dream first MotoGP™ rostrum in third.
Quartararo brilliant in a historic British GP
Polesitter Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) got the launch he would have been looking for as the number 44 dived into Turn 1 as the race leader, with Quartararo grabbing P2 ahead of Franceso Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). Pol Espargaro nailed the first sector but plenty of movement and drama would unfold behind, as Bagnaia – who had slipped to P4 – got two for the price of one at Stowe corner. There was contact at the same corner between Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), as Aleix Espargaro grabbed P2 off Pecco.
Then, drama. Marc Marquez and Martin crashed after more contact at Turn 9, and both riders were out of the race on Lap 1 – riders ok. Bagnaia and Aleix Espargaro were busy scrapping for second on the opening lap, before the Aprilia ride made it stick at Brooklands. On Lap 2, Quartararo picked off Pecco for P3 at Turn 13, and on the next lap, Quartararo was past Aleix Esapargaro at Turn 14. Now, Pol Espargaro – the race leader – was being hunted and at the ferociously quick Turn 12, on Lap 5, Quartararo carved his way into the lead.
Marc Marquez and Martin clash and then crash on Lap 1
Immediately, the factory Yamaha star got the hammer down. Half a lap went by and the lead way stretched to 0.6s, as Quartararo set a 2:00.098 to pull out a 1.3s advantage at the beginning of Lap 7. Aleix Espargaro was back up to P2 and briefly dropping to P4, with Pecco making a mistake at Stowe to lose out to a pair of Team Suzuki Ecstar riders. Rins was charging and picked off Pol Espargaro to take P3, with reigning World Champion Joan Mir sitting P5.
At the halfway point, Quartararo was three seconds clear of Aleix Espargaro. The latter had Rins and Pol Espargaro for close company, with Mir a second off the fourth place Repsol Honda in P5. With nine laps to go, there was a change for P2. Aleix Espargaro ran wide at Stowe to allow Rins an easy pass into second place, but further down the road, second in the Championship Bagnaia was struggling. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) got the better of the Italian with eight to go, with Pecco now 8th.
The man to watch in the final seven laps was Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team). The Australian was a good half a second faster than Rins and the Espargaros ahead of him, and Miller took advantage of a Pol Espargaro mistake at Stowe to grab P4 with six laps remaining.
Monster Energy British Grand Prix: MotoGP™ Race
Three to go then, and it was as you were: Quartararo charging towards the 25 points, with Rins leading Aleix Espargaro and Miller. Pol Espargaro was now 1.9s away from the podium fight, with older brother Aleix still holding onto that dream first podium with Aprilia.
Last lap time. Quartararo was 3.4s up the road with Rins, Aleix Espargaro and Miller split by less than a second. Through the opening two sectors, it was as you were. Miller then dived up the inside at Turn 13, but he was slightly wide. Miller had the inside line though for Turn 14 but the tight entry allowed Aleix Espargaro to get the cutback heading onto the Wellington Straight. Going defensive, Aleix Espargaro was able to fend off Miller’s late attack and after Quartararo and Rins had taken the chequered flag, Aleix Espargaro claimed P3 for Aprilia’s first podium.
Quartararo was dominant for his fifth victory of 2021, a huge day for the Frenchman and his title aspirations. Rins produced a wonderful race to earn P2 from P10 on the grid – his first rostrum of the year, with Miller just missing out on a return to the podium by 0.149s. The Australian was by far the quickest Ducati on Sunday afternoon at Silverstone.
A troublesome day for Quartararo’s main title rivals
Pol Espargaro didn’t quite have the pace to stick with the podium fight in the latter stages of the race but nevertheless, it’s the Spaniard’s best result with Honda. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) made great progress in the second half of the British GP to take P6, making it a magnificent six manufacturers in the top six – the first time ever that’s happened in MotoGP™. After picking up a MotoGP™-best result in Austria last time out, Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) claimed a fantastic P7 to continue his recent good run of form. The Spaniard was able to get the better of compatriot Alex Marquez, the double World Champion finished P8 ahead of Mir in ninth.
It was a difficult day for the number 36, both he and Pecco selected the soft front tyre and it seems like it could have been the wrong decision. Mir is now second in the title race, but the gap to Quartararo is 65 points. Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) bagged a morale boosting top 10, the Italian beat Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) by 0.052s, the Frenchman taking a quiet and disappointing P11 away from Silverstone.
Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) grabbed P12 with under the weather Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) taking P13, 2.6s ahead of Bagnaia. The soft front tyre option selected looks to have ruined Pecco’s Sunday at the British GP, 14th certainly no where near what he and Ducati would have been aiming for. Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) picked up the final point in P15.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – still struggling with his injury from Styria – took P16, a second clear of 17th place and home hero Cal Crutchlow (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). Valentino Rossi’s final British GP ended with a P18 finish, The Doctor slipping back down the order after a good start, with Britain’s Jake Dixon (Petronas Yamaha SRT) finishing his first MotoGP™ race in P19.
It’s a significant blow to Quartararo’s title challengers at Silverstone. El Diablo takes a 65-point lead into MotorLand Aragon and is riding the crest of a wave in 2021. Can he be stopped?
1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
2. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 2.663
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 4.105
4. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 4.254
5. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 8.462
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 12.189
7. Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) + 13.560
8. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) + 14.044
9. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 16.226
10. Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) + 16.287