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After two races which promised to be difficult in Austria but which saw him save the furniture – even better -, Fabio Quartararo, in search of a first world title in MotoGP, finds “a circuit (which he) loves really “in Britain from Friday to Sunday.
“I approach this Grand Prix in a very positive state of mind”, assures the Frenchman, who increased his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings to 47 points after 12 rounds (out of 19 if the coronavirus pandemic allows it), despite a 7th place in the second Austrian event in mid-August.
“My objective is to fight for the victory, first because it is one of my favorite tracks, then because it is an important GP for the team”, which shares the same title sponsor, continues the one who has never been on the podium at Silverstone before.
The only concern for Quartararo, he is uncomfortable on his Yamaha in “mixed” conditions (light rain or drying track). “I think it will be a good race if the conditions are right. If it rains, we’ll have to see, but we’ll do our best,” he promises.
Still at Yamaha, there is change on the other side of the garage, after the divorce in the middle of the season from Maverick Vinales.
A situation which “does not really affect” Quartararo, he said: “I am focused on my work. I am not sad. It is an individual sport and I have a new teammate this weekend”.
The Spaniard is in fact replaced by Cal Crutchlow, a full-time MotoGP player until last year and now test rider for the Japanese manufacturer.
The Briton benefited from a warm-up in Austria, replacing Italian Franco Morbidelli in the Yamaha-SRT satellite team. Seventeenth in each of the two races, he believes he can do better at home.
At SRT (who will leave the championship in 2022 and whose leaders will form a new team presented in mid-September at the GP of San Marino), it is Jake Dixon, another Briton competing in Moto2, who replaces Morbidelli, recovering after an operation to one knee in June.
Out of 9 GP since 2010 at Silverstone in the premier class, Yamaha has won 4, but it nevertheless shares the status of favorite with Suzuki, 2 successes in 2016 and 2019.
Especially since the spearhead of the second, the reigning champion Joan Mir, returned from the summer break in July more lively than during the first part of the season.
Third in the championship, 47 lengths behind Quartararo, here is the Spaniard among his closest pursuers, alongside the Italian Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), also 2nd at 47 points, and the other Frenchman Johann Zarco (Ducati-Pramac) , 4th to 49 units.
Falling down during the last GP in Austria, Zarco lost his place as runner-up in the drivers’ standings and must get off on the right foot. “At the time, it’s hard to swallow but we realize during the following week that it’s part of the job, he says. To see the positive, even if I still want to improve, I’m not already far from something not bad and I still believe that I can be very good at unlocking little things. Ducati too. ”
As for the Spaniard Marc Marquez (Honda), he is still progressing towards his level before his serious injury in 2020.
In Moto2 (which the engine manufacturer since 2019, Triumph, has extended until 2024), the fight continues between the two Red Bull KTM Ajo riders, the Australian Remy Gardner (206 points) and the Spaniard Raul Fernandez (187).
In Moto3, we expect, as always, to see what is capable of the Spanish “rookie” Pedro Acosta, leader of the championship with 41 steps ahead.
One of the longest and fastest circuits on the calendar, Silverstone was not on the program in 2020 because of the Covid-19 but is back this year sold out.
To adapt to the time difference with continental Europe, the order of races is reversed on Sunday, with Moto3 at 12:20 (11:20 GMT), MotoGP at 2:00 p.m. (1:00 p.m. GMT) and finally Moto2 at 3:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. GMT).