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Aleix Espargaro emerged victorious at Silverstone, in a race that included plenty of drama, a rain sprinkle and was settled with a last lap pass!
MotoGP Silverstone 2023: The first laps of the race
Sun greeted the riders ahead of the race on Sunday, a very different proposition to the weather that we saw on Saturday, a day during which we saw Marco Bezzecchi take pole and Alex Marquez win the Sprint.
The always fast-starting Jack Miller led into the first corner from second and fended off Bezzecchi, who tried to come back at him. Francesco Bagnaia, the championship leader gained one position as well.
The big winners at the start were the two factory Aprilias, as Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro climbed from eighth and twelfth to fifth and sixth respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Jorge Martin was forced wide and dropped to the back of the field.
On the second of the twenty laps, Bagnaia passed Bezzecchi around the outside of Copse. A few meters down the road he got ahead of Miller too, to take the lead, and he was followed through by his compatriot. The Australian’s race would be compromised on the next lap, when Vinales forced him wide at Copse and dropped him to fourteenth.
As a result of that clash, Aleix Espargaro was up to third after overtaking Alex Marquez. The winner of the Sprint would see his race end after a mechanical issue soon thereafter. The next retiree was a significant one, as Bezzecchi lost his bike under braking for Stowe and crashed.
Halfway through the race, Bagnaia led by half a second over Aleix Espargaro, with Vinales in third and Brad Binder in fourth after making steady progress early on. Miguel Oliveira was fifth, who was showing brilliant speed after starting sixteenth.
MotoGP Silverstone 2023: A thrilling finale
With seven laps to go and the top four together, a few rain drops started to fall on track. With reduced grip, the Aprilias and Binder battled it out for second, a fight that was won by Espargaro and also brought Oliveira into the fold. The rain intensified and a few riders decided to risk and swap bikes.
With two laps remaining, Espargaro was right on Bagnaia’s tail, with Oliveira taking advantage of the conditions to climb to third and Binder in fourth. Espargaro made his move on the entry to Maggotts. Bagnaia tried to come back on the last sector, but to no avail.
For the second time in his long MotoGP career, Aleix Espargaro was a Grand Prix winner, giving Aprilia its second win as well! Bagnaia led for almost the entire race, but decided not to risk it all on the final lap and came home in second, to extend his championship lead.
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) August 6, 2023
With another late move, Binder passed Oliveira and completed the podium, while Vinales dropped off in the final laps and finished fifth. Jorge Martin made a brilliant recovery from last to sixth, ahead of Luca Marini and Jack Miller, who came back into the top eight after his early misfortunes.
Johann Zarco’s soft tyre gamble did not pay off and he was ninth, ahead of Raul Fernandez, Augusto Fernandez and Pol Espargaro, in his first race back from injury at the start of the season.
Fabio Di Giannantonio was the first among those who swapped bikes, in front of Franco Morbidelli. Fabio Quartararo was running eighth towards the end, but a clash with Marini damaged his Yamaha and he also swapped bikes to finish thirteenth.
As it has been the case for much of the season, both Repsol Honda riders crashed out, which means that Joan Mir and Marc Marquez only have one finish between them this season, which came in the season opener by Mir. Enea Bastianini also failed to finish thanks to an accident.
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