Nakagami Upsets Marc VDS at Silverstone

Takaaki Nakagami - Photo Credit: Craig McAllister

Takaaki Nakagami celebrated his promotion to MotoGP for 2018 by claiming his first victory of the season at Silverstone. The Japanese rider chased down the Marc VDS team-mates and after Alex Marquez crashed out of the lead, Nakagami overhauled a fading Franco Morbidelli to take victory.

The race looked to be falling into the hands of Marc VDS early on with Marquez and Morbidelli storming clear of the pack, opening up a three-second lead over third-placed Nakagami by lap five. The advantage began to shrink once the team-mates started battling each other with Morbidelli hitting the front on lap eight, the switch handing a full second back to Nakagami.

Marquez would regain the lead at half-distance but the Spaniard lost a potential victory, and any slim hopes of the championship, with a crash at the Loop on lap eleven. This left Morbidelli alone against a charging Nakagami and the championship leader would succumb to the pressure one lap later, losing the lead at the same place he had gained it moments earlier.

The closing stages saw Morbidelli fall prey to polesitter Mattia Pasini with the Italtrans showing blistering pace on old tyres, so much so that he almost chased down Nakagami on the final lap, but the Team Asia rider had enough for a first win since Assen last year. Pasini took second while Morbidelli rounded off the podium, one place ahead of title rival Thomas Luthi.

Francesco Bagnaia claimed fifth for Sky VR46 ahead of Speed Up’s Simone Corsi while Stefano Manzi produced another stand-out Silverstone performance. Having chased through from the back of the grid to fourth in Moto3 twelve months ago, Manzi marked his first Moto2 appearance in Britain with a season’s best seventh. The KTMs of Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder were next up in eighth and ninth with the final top ten spot taken by Dominique Aegerter aboard the Kiefer Suter.