Francesco Bagnaia keeps MotoGP title hopes alive with British GP win as Fabio Quartararo fades

MotoGP Bagnaia British GP
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images

Francesco Bagnaia kept his title hunt alive after winning Round 12 of MotoGP in the British GP at Silverstone while Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro finished on the high side of the top 10.

In a closely fought race, the top three were separated by only 0.614 seconds with Maverick Vinales and Jack Miller rounding out the podium.

Looking for his first series win, Johann Zarco grabbed the holeshot and held the top spot until he crashed on Lap 5. That handed the lead to Miller, who was quickly passed by Alex Rins.

Miller lost second to Bagnaia one lap later as the eventual winner charged through the field. It took another handful of laps until Bagnaia passed Rins on Lap 12, but he held on for the final eight circuits to take trophy home from the British GP.

More importantly, Bagnaia was able to take a significant slice off his deficit as the pair of riders ahead of him in the standings had a disastrous weekend.

Quartararo was hit with a long lap penalty for contact with Espargaro in the previous round at Assen and struggled to find pace afterward. Espargaro had a more dramatic handicap as he was riding with a broken heel suffered when he high sided in the final practice session for the British GP.

With back-to-back wins at Assen and Silverstone, Bagnaia sliced 42 points off the championship lead in the past two round and closed to within 49 of Quartararo. Espargaro is at a midpoint in between the two with a 22-point deficit to the leader and 27 ahead of third with eight rounds still remaining. MotoGP awards 25 points for a win and none to riders who finish outside the top 15.

Bagnaia has been able to capitalize on two disastrous rounds for Quartararo, who seemed to have everything in hand when the series hit the halfway point. But now Quartararo failed to finish the Motul TT Assen, scoring no points, and was eighth at Silverstone to pocket a paltry eight points.

The news could be worse for Espargaro, who has failed to stand on the podium in the last four rounds and may suffer lasting effects from his broken ankle.

In Moto 2, Augusto Fernandez won his third consecutive round and fourth of the season with a margin of less than a tenth of a second over Alonso Lopez.

Jake Dixon rounded out the podium. As with the MotoGP finish, the margin from first to third was less than seven-tenths of a second.

Fernandez is the Moto 2 points’ leader by 13 over Ai Ogura and 15 over Celestino Vietti.

American Joe Roberts finished seventh.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III