Near perfect conditions continued to grace Silverstone on Sunday as race day dawned. A fast crash at Turn 4 during Warm Up for Pol Espargaro made for a busy midday for the Repsol Honda Team mechanics. Impeccable teamwork saw the #44 head into the race with both bikes prepared. Unfortunately, a slow start to the race saw Espargaro immediately drop out of contention for any major points, his pace improving dramatically in the second half of the race. Crossing the line in 14th, his race time was some five seconds faster than the previous year.
Stefan Bradl was left to rue yet more bad luck. Starting from 21st instead of 18th due to a penalty made for a complicated start to the race for the German. Then, during the race, he was handed a long lap penalty for a shortcut. The German was able to take the chequered flag in 19th position and gain more race experience.
In Japan, Team HRC celebrated a dominant victory at the Iconic Suzuka 8 Hours with Tetsuta Nagashima, Iker Lecuona and Takumi Takahashi at the helm of the Honda CBR1000RR-R. This returns Honda to the top step of the podium for the first time since 2014.
The summary is that we have had a complicated weekend. We really struggled in the first laps and that’s where we lost contact because at the end of the race our speed was not so bad. The pace was decent but I was 21st on the first lap and I made my way up into the points, you can’t expect much more when you start so far back. It was good to complete a race after missing two and the summer. In Austria I will be stronger and we will be aiming for a higher finish.
We have been unlucky this whole weekend, we had the penalty yesterday which made the race difficult. I was fighting with Dovi and I had to take the shortcut as we were fighting, then I tried to overtake but there was a yellow flag. I got another penalty for the shortcut which dropped us back more. We made a bit of a risk with the tyre choice which I think could have helped us without the bad luck. The positive point is that we have shown speed during the weekend as my pace is improving, it’s motivating for the next race.