MotoGP Silverstone: Whatley up against it but ‘closing the gap’

| | MotoGP
Picture: GeeBee Images

Technical issues and the flu couldn’t stop VisionTrack’s Josh Whatley continuing to make progress in his rookie Moto3 outing at Silverstone.

With sickness hampering the start to his British Grand Prix showing in front of the home crowds, the 16-year-old struggled in Friday’s practice sessions, completing the day in 28th. Technical issues further prevented Whatley’s progress on Saturday with just one flying lap in qualifying placing him in 26th for Sunday’s 17-lap charge - albeit with over two and a half seconds in hand from his opening times.

A strong start saw the Honda rider initially make up three positions before dropping back to 28th for the majority of the running. Late drama saw the Brit cross the line 21st, 30 seconds from the winner and confident of more once his strength returns next time out.

“FP1 was really good,” Whatley said from Silverstone. “After 5 weeks of not being on the bike, I found the feeling quite well, but I was quite ill the day before and was really ill on Friday, so the second session was quite difficult to ride.

“On Saturday, I found a little bit of pace in the morning but in qualifying, I had one lap in qualifying and found another second, so I improved again.

“We had quite a good feeling in warm-up but we just didn’t manage to get a lap time in, and we had the pace to be in the points for the race but were unlucky with the rear tyre and set-up so I just couldn’t stay with the other riders and it gradually got worse.

“There are a lot of positives to take from it; I closed the gap down from the front and I’m feeling in much better shape, hopefully in Austria, I’ll be able to get those points.”

Picture: GeeBee Images