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MotoGP

Bezzecchi tops MotoGP qualifying crashfest at soaked Silverstone

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

VR46 Ducati MotoGP rider Marco Bezzecchi secured pole position for the British Grand Prix in a crash-filled qualifying at a very wet Silverstone.

Bezzecchi was among those to crash – with a harsh sudden fall at Vale – but did so after having already set a 2m15.349s that the parade of yellow flags would help keep out of reach.

KTM rider Jack Miller had broken away to a big lead with his very first lap in Q2, but never found more laptime in the disrupted session. He’d had what he described as “a big moment” on a subsequent lap that would’ve put him on provisional pole, then couldn’t get the bike stopped into Abbey, and ultimately settled for second.

Gresini Ducati’s Alex Marquez was third despite having the rear of his GP21 go around coming through Abbey.

“I took the other bike [after that] but I saw many crashes, also was a lot of grass in the corner that Marco crashed, also some pieces in the first corner,” said Marquez. “So I don’t know if it was a world championship [session] or a regional championship.

“This is not acceptable. When it’s something like this, it needs to be a red flag, and they need to clean the track. Also there was a lot of aquaplaning.

“Limited conditions. So, we’ll see in the afternoon if we can make the sprint. I hope so, that the rain can stop a little bit and we can make the race.”

Championship leader Pecco Bagnaia made it three crashed bikes in the top four, the factory Ducati man tipping off at Brooklands.

Tech3 Gas Gas rookie Augusto Fernandez, who had only narrowly gone through the first qualifying segment after shrugging off an Abbey crash in pre-qualifying practice, was fifth, recording comfortably his best qualifying result in MotoGP yet.

Bezzecchi’s VR46 team-mate Luca Marini was sixth. He also crashed during Q2 at Abbey, though his crash was not just the rear going around on him but a full-on highside.

Pramac Ducati duo Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco in seventh and ninth made it six Ducatis in the top nine, with Maverick Vinales slotting in between the pair for Aprilia. Vinales was among those repeatedly stymied by yellow flags.

The Q2 order was completed by Brad Binder (KTM), Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), Espargaro having been nearly seven tenths of a second clear in the dry on Friday.

Morbidelli had gone through Q1 in dominant fashion – and would’ve been fourth on the grid had he simply matched his Q1 laptime in Q2.

Factory Ducati MotoGP rider Enea Bastianini had moved up to second place at the chequered flag in Q1, but was subsequently denied by Fernandez to the tune of just 0.087s.

Marc Marquez found himself briefly held up by Honda factory team-mate Joan Mir in the final sector, ultimately coming up four tenths short of advancing to Q2 – though he was still comfortably the best of the Hondas in 14th.

Returnee Pol Espargaro (Tech3 Gas Gas) was fifth in Q1 for a spot on the fifth row alongside Bastianini and Marquez.

Gresini Ducati’s Fabio Di Giannantonio, expected to lose his ride for 2024, had been first in the Q1 rankings after his first attempt but then highsided at Abbey, landing on his Ducati’s rear wheel and ‘surfing’ to the run-off.

He was back out there afterwards but could only muster 18th on the grid, over three seconds off the top spot in Q1.

Yet he was still closer to the top spot than he was to last place in that session, as Fabio Quartararo was a remarkable seven seconds off Yamaha team-mate Morbidelli.

In what was comfortably his worst premier-class qualifying so far, the 2021 champion was already a distinct long shot to advance before a near-highside at Vale briefly stalled his bike and overall seemingly turned his session into a complete write-off.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Bike Group 1 Group 2
1 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 2m15.359s
2 Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 2m15.629s
3 Alex Marquez Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 2m15.771s
4 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 2m16.095s
5 Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM 2m16.885s 2m16.101s
6 Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 2m16.152s
7 Jorge Martin Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 2m16.272s
8 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia 2m16.317s
9 Johann Zarco Prima Pramac Racing Ducati 2m16.661s
10 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 2m16.677s
11 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 2m15.884s 2m16.885s
12 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia 2m17.406s
13 Enea Bastianini Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 2m16.972s
14 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 2m17.343s
15 Pol Espargaró GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM 2m18.118s
16 Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia 2m18.264s
17 Iker Lecuona Repsol Honda Team Honda 2m18.833s
18 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 2m19.182s
19 Joan Mir Repsol Honda Team Honda 2m19.367s
20 Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia 2m21.128s
21 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 2m22.341s
22 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 2m22.931s
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