Honda riders ready for MotoGP restart at Sil…

On Sunday, the grid will be aligned for the first time since the Dutch round of the championship on June 26. The five weeks off since then gave riders and teams a chance to rest after a turbulent first half of the season, which ended with five races over seven weekends, although of course the riders continued their training programs for much of the break.

Honda’s four MotoGP riders – Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) – are all eager to leave. , rested and reloaded for the remaining nine races of the 2022 20-event season.

Espargaro has fond memories of his last visit to Silverstone. On the Saturday of the 2021 British Grand Prix, he took his first MotoGP pole position with Honda, then led the race the next day, before taking the checkered flag in fifth place, just four seconds behind a podium.

This weekend, the 31-year-old Spaniard will once again aim to lead the race, battling with the fastest riders in MotoGP. So far this year, Espargaro has scored a podium aboard his RC213V, in the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar. He missed the last race in the Netherlands due to injuries sustained in the previous German GP. Therefore, the five-week break was particularly helpful for the former Moto2 world champion to fully recover from these injuries.

Espargaro has only one Grand Prix victory at Silverstone, in 2012 when he won the Moto2 race. Two years earlier he had finished second in the 125cc race. On both occasions he shared the podium with current MotoGP teammate Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), who finished third in the 2012 Moto2 race and won the 2010 125cc race.

Marquez is currently recovering from further surgery to fully repair the right arm he broke in Jerez in 2020. After playing the first rounds of the 2022 championship, he underwent a humeral osteotomy, which will require him to miss the rest of this season. For six weeks after the operation, he had to keep his arm immobilized, eventually starting light rehabilitation work in mid-July.

This weekend, the 29-year-old Spaniard’s machines will once again be in the hands of Honda’s MotoGP test rider, Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), who took part in a private test session at Jerez, Spain last month, working to continue improving the latest RC213V, which has been completely redesigned for 2022.

The 32-year-old German tried various new parts and strategies during testing, which should help Honda continue their progress in the second half of this year’s championship.

Bradl tasted victory at Silverstone – he won the 2011 Moto2 race at the track, en route to winning the Moto2 World Championship that year. His best MotoGP result on the track so far is the sixth place he recorded in 2013, while riding for the LCR Honda team.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) is another rider who triumphed in the Moto2 class at Silverstone. The 30-year-old from Chiba won the British round of Moto2 in 2017, beating six other riders who are now his rivals in MotoGP.

Nakagami’s aim this weekend at Silverstone will be to find the rhythm and get back into the top ten after difficult weekends at Barcelona, ​​Sachsenring and Assen. He has already scored four top-ten finishes this year, including two seventh-place finishes at Jerez and Le Mans.

Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) also had a difficult first half of the season, due to injuries suffered during the Catalunya GP in Barcelona in June. The 26-year-old former Moto3 and Moto2 world champion’s best result so far this year is seventh at the Portuguese GP in April, so he knows he has the pace to race near the front group.

Marquez has been on the podium twice at Silverstone – he finished third in the 2013 Moto3 race and second the following year when he won the world title.

Silverstone is a very fast and very demanding circuit, with a flowing layout that rewards high-precision aggressiveness. Many corners are interconnected, so finding the right line is key to getting good lap times. The character of the track often creates spectacularly close races and the circuit is a firm favorite with racers.

The British round of the MotoGP World Championship is historically significant, as the country opened the first-ever motorcycle world championship season on the Isle of Man in June 1949. However, the first British motorcycle Grand Prix was only staged only in 1977 after the Isle of Man TT was dropped from the series as the 37.73 mile circuit was deemed too dangerous for World Championship competition.

Silverstone hosted the British GP from 1977 to 1986. The event then moved to Donington Park, before returning to Silverstone in 2010.

Honda had plenty of success at the British rounds of the premier class championship, beginning with Mike Hailwood’s legendary 1966 and 1967 TT victories aboard the RC181 four-stroke. During the two-stroke era of GP racing, Randy Mamola, Freddie Spencer, Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan, Alex Criville and Valentino Rossi won British GPs aboard Honda’s NSR500, the most successful premier class motorcycle all time.

Since the arrival of high-capacity MotoGP four-strokes in 2002, Honda has won British GPs with Rossi, Max Biaggi and Dani Pedrosa aboard the RC211V, with Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner on the RC212V and with Marc Marquez on the RC213V .

After Sunday’s races, the MotoGP circus returns to Europe, with the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring on August 21. The 2022 season ends in Valencia, Spain on November 6.

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