MotoGP Silverstone: Bagnaia bags BritishGP win

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Ducati Lenovo’s Pecco Bagnaia secured victory in the British Grand Prix after a stunning 20-lap fight at Silverstone.

Aprilia’s Maverick Viñales collected the runners up position after a late-race battle for domination with Ducati’s Jack Miller completing the celebrations for the Bologna factory.

The premier class lined up as the middle race of the British Grand Prix weekend ahead of 20-laps around the 5.9km Silverstone layout. Prima Pramac’s Johann Zarco headed the grid after a sensational 1’57.767 record-breaking lap for pole position with Viñales and Miller alongside on the front row. Second RS-GP rider, Aleix Espargaro, faced a bruising battle after the Spaniard suffered a high-speed highside during Saturday’s final practice before a heroic comeback saw him qualify on the second row, behind championship leader Fabio Quartararo - who faces a long lap penalty for his part in Espargaro’s Assen crash - and Ducati’s Bagnaia.

The entire fleet of Desmosedici’s prepared for the rising temperatures with hard rear Michelin tyres alongside the Suzukis of Joan Mir and Alex Rins from the fourth row and soon-to-retire Andrea Dovizioso on the WithU Yamaha. The pole man opting for a medium front late on to match the majority of the field, just Miller, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Stefan Bradl and Quartararo remaining on soft.

Quartararo barged his way to the front as the lights released, finding second behind Zarco for a French one-two with the two factory Ducatis behind. Rins lotting in behind Bagnaia in fifth after a lightning start before Viñales came back through to take the position. Espargaro held sixth behind his teammate as Rins returned to head the pair. The second Suzuki of Mir and Jorge Martin battling for eighth while Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira completed the top ten on the Austrian manufacturers 100th MotoGP start.

The French pair continued to push as the Yamaha rider looked to gain as big an advantage as possible before he was forced to dispatch the penalty loop. Rins looking to challenge Bagnaia and succeeding halfway round lap three as Viñales had his own look at the Italian.

Matin set the fastest lap of the race so far with a best overall race effort - a 159.498 - as he dispatched Espargaro for seventh. Quartararo running the penalty loop and returning into the path of his former teammate, for fifth with an impressive 1’59.5 pace.

Zarco’s dreams came to a close as the Frenchman slid out of the lead at turn eight. Miller taking control of the race as Rins fought hard to steal the Australian’s thunder. The battling pair brought Bagnaia back into contention as less than two tenths separated the trio out front with Quartararo the same gap adrift. Rins storming to the front through Vale and immediately digging deep to build an advantage.

Martin had captured both Aprilias by lap six before making his way past the Monster Energy M1. Bagnaia and Miller bickering for second as the Suzuki stretched its legs out front with the Italian securing the spoils before Martin reeled in the pair with blistering pace.

Viñales continued to take a look at Quartararo as the race unfolded. Mir doing likewise on Espargaro half a second back with a double KTM threat now facing the number 41. TopGun claiming his victim as lap nine got underway.

Further back Gresini’s Enea Bastianini took 10th from Brad Binder as Marco Bezzecchi captured his Mooney VR46 teammate Luca Marini for 12th. Monster Energy Yamaha’s Franky Morbidelli heading Tech3 rookie Remy Gardner in the final points positions at half-race distance.

Rins’ lead began to fade as Bagnaia regrouped just a couple of tenths off the GSX-RR. Miller, Martin and Viñales likewise remaining in check as Quartararo circulated over half a second off the front pack.

Bagnaia took charge on the brakes into Stowe as Miller began to look for his own opportunity. The Italian pulling a three-tenth gap as the lap unfolded with Viñales battling Martin for fourth through Village.

Bastianini was running the fastest pace of the front runners as he forced his way through on Oliveira and Espargaro to sit a mere tenth off Mir with seven laps to go. Miller securing second from the Suzuki for a Ducati one-two.

The Gresini struck for seventh next time around with Quartararo now in his sights. Mir crashing out at Stowe half a lap later. Martin returned the earlier move on Viñales as he regained fourth on the next revolution with Quartararo defending hard from Bastianini in the top six.

The challenges kept coming for the pursuing pack as the Aprilia bettered the Pramac once again while the Yamaha/Ducati fight continued to rage. Viñales taking a look at Rins as Oliveira did likewise on the reigning champion with three laps to go.

Rins was down to fifth with Bastianini on his wheels as lap 18 played out. Viñales making waves as he took a look at Miller, securing second at Village with a repeat of his previous gain.

Two to go and the leading gap was half a second as the Aprilia dug deep with impressive late-race pace. Rins succumbing to Bastianini with Quartararo doing the same to Oliveira as Bagnaia was joined by the RS-GP.

The Italian held fast with the Spaniard on his wheels as the final lap began. The Aprilia running wide at Copse to break the momentum as Bagnaia pulled a half-second gap. Oliveira dispatched Rins for sixth as the race neared its conclusion with Bagnaia claiming the British Grand Prix victory by four-tenths. Viñales secured his second podium in succession to solidify his return to the front on the Aprilia with Miller completing a double Ducati podium, in third.

Bastianini completed a scintillating run to fourth at the flag from Martin, Oliveira and Rins with title-rivals Quartararo and Espargaro coming home in eighth and ninth, less than four seconds from the leader. Bezzecchi completed the top ten from Binder and Marini while LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami, Repsol Honda’s Pol Espargaro and Morbidelli collected the final points.

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