Bezzecchi falls: “Instead of slowing, I was accelerating”

Marco Bezzecchi was confident of fighting friend, reigning champion and title rival Francesco Bagnaia for victory in Sunday’s British MotoGP at Silverstone.
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP race, British MotoGP, 6 August
Francesco Bagnaia, MotoGP race, British MotoGP, 6 August

The pair were soon holding first and second, with Bezzecchi - who had gained points on Bagnaia with second to Alex Marquez in the Saturday Sprint - shadowing the factory Ducati star.

But as the pair hit the brakes at the end of the Hangar Straight on lap 6, Bezzecchi locked the front then was caught out by the loss of downforce in the #1’s slipstream.

Bearing down on the Stowe corner far too quickly, Bezzecchi tried to scrub off speed as he turned in but lost the front and slid into the gravel.

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“I was strong in that part of the track but as soon as I braked on that lap, I had a big front lock when I touched the brake,” explained the VR46 rider.

“So I had to release a bit the brake and as soon as I released I went into the slipstream of Pecco. So instead of slowing down, I was accelerating. So I had to brake more, but the front was already on the limit and I lost it.”

With hindsight, “maybe I had to move more [out of Pecco’s slipstream] before braking. But I didn't think that the first touch of the brake could give me that big front lock.

“I didn't brake too late. I didn't make anything too crazy compared to my previous laps, but at the end, I crashed!

“I was trying to stay close of course, because I saw that until that moment we were quite far [in front] of Aleix.”

Bezzecchi falls behind Bagnaia, British MotoGP 2023
Bezzecchi falls behind Bagnaia, British MotoGP 2023

Although Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro went on to pass Bagnaia on the final lap, the reigning champion extended his points advantage over Bezzecchi to 47 points, with Jorge Martin demoting the VR46 rider to third in the standings.

“For the championship I’m sad, but I mean, I'm not looking at it particularly. I'm more sad for the race because I don't know if I could win, but I think I could fight for the win,” Bezzecchi said.

“Also I was strong in every condition. So we worked well and it’s a shame to finish like this. I'm really sorry.”

Bezzecchi’s flying form in his second MotoGP season, including two grand prix wins, means he is understood to have the chance of the latest spec Ducati machinery next season - but only if he switches from VR46 to Pramac.

“For the moment I want to ‘overtake’ this day! And when I go home I will probably speak with my manager and see how is the situation [for 2024],” he said. “But for me, the most important is to stay positive in this bad day and come back in Austria like I was here on Friday.”

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