In typical British fashion, all we could talk about for most of today’s sprint race was the weather. It was unpredictable and difficult to master. But one man came out on top – and for the first time in his premier class career!
It was Alex Marquez who came out on top for today’s sprint race at the British GP. He started the race in 3rd, took the lead on lap 2, and never looked back. He faced a late charge from Marco Bezzecchi, who came home in 2nd, but he lead easily and took the checkered flag in dominant fashion.
The final podium spot was taken by Maverick Vinales, who was thrilled to squeeze a podium out of his Aprilia machine which, typically, doesn’t like these damp conditions.
Early race leaders, Jorge Martin and Jack Miller eventually came home in 6th and 7th respectively.
Further down the pack, it was a difficult day for reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia – he came home in 14th and scored no points, meaning his championship lead over Bezzecchi has been cut to 27 points.
It was an even tougher day for Marc Marquez, coming home in 18th and seemingly facing yet more issues on his Honda, and Fabio Quartararo who made no waves in the race at all – the Frenchman started the race last, in 22nd, and was only able to make up one place across the entire sprint race. A day to forget for both former champions.
The sprint races format, which is new for 2023 in this new era of MotoGP, has now given us 5 different winners across 9 different race weekends. The forecast for tomorrow’s main race is looking dry – can Alex Marquez replicate his win under those normal conditions?
As it happened
After a saturated free practice and qualifying session earlier in the day, the track was beginning to dry as the riders took to the grid for today’s sprint race. That left a lot of questions around tire selection and mid-race bike changes. As it turned out, every rider opted for medium wet tires and this seemed to be the ideal option as the rain would start falling before the race ended.
As the lights went out, Jack Miller and his KTM machine took an unsurprising early lead. He flew off the line and quickly got past polesitter Marco Bezzecchi. Bezzecchi put up an early fight but it was the Aussie who was clearly out in the lead by the end of the first few corners.
The reigning champ has had a terrible first lap! 🤯
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) August 5, 2023
Further back down the pack, Pecco Bagnaia had a wobble and fell back from his starting position of 4th and in to a pack of squabbling riders. He was now back down in 12th after losing 8 places. Meanwhile, Marc Marquez and Enea Bastianini clashed in the opening few corners, causing a large gap to form right in the middle of the pack.
Miller wasn’t able to keep hold of the lead for long – after getting past Augusto Fernandez to take 3rd, Jorge Martin flew up the inside of both Bezzecchi in 2nd and Miller in 1st to steal the lead of the race at Stowe corner. It didn’t last for long though and the Prima Pramac rider soon lost out to Bezzecchi and Miller again.
It was on lap 2 that Alex Marquez took the lead. He first shoved his way up the inside of Bezzecchi and then, a few corners later, flew past Miller and into the lead. By the end of lap 3, Marquez had a 0.5 second lead over the rest of the pack.
On lap 4, Maverick iInales and Aleix Espargaro make their way past Martin, who has now been shuffled back to 6th. On the following lap, Vinales was now battling with Miller for the final podium position.
At the halfway point, with his brother leading the pack by 0.8 seconds, Marc Marquez was still struggling down in 14th and he could be seen looking over his shoulder, suggesting there might have been an issue with his bike.
The grid then began to settle in to the race and everything seemed to calm down. Aleix Espargaro took 4th away from Miller, and shortly after we had Martin closing in on the Aussie too. Further back down the grid and Fabio Giannantonio took 12th away from Bagnaia, before Bastianini followed suit.
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) August 5, 2023
On lap 8, we had spots of rain appearing at various points on the circuit and, on lap 9, Bezzecchi was squeezing everything out of his Mooney VR46 machine as he went on the hunt for Marquez and the race win. By the start of the final lap, the gap has dropped from just over a second down to 0.8 seconds. Then, in the first sector of the final lap, Bezzecchi took another 0.3 seconds off this gap. Sadly, in the end, Bezzecchi just ran out of road and came home 0.366s behind maiden premier class winner Alex Marquez.
|2nd||Marco Bezzecchi||Mooney VR46|
|4th||Johan Zarco||Prima Pramac|
|6th||Jorge Martin||Prima Parmac|
|7th||Jack Miller||Red Bull KTM|
|8th||Augusto Fernandez||GASGAS Tech3|
|9th||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM|
|10th||Miguel Oliveira||CryptoDATA RNF|
|11th||Luca Marini||Mooney VR46|
|12th||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Gresini|
|16th||Pol Espargaro||GASGAS Tech3|
|17th||Joan Mir||Repsol Honda|
|18th||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda|
|19th||Raul Fernandez||CryptoDATA RNF|
|20th||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda|
|22nd||Icer Lecuona||LCR Honda|
|1st||Pecco Bagnaia||194 points|
|2nd||Marco Bezzecchi||167 points|
|3rd||Jorge Martin||163 points|
|4th||Johann Zarco||115 points|
|5th||Brad Binder||115 points|
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP on Twitter