Maybe the holidays will have helped Fabio Quartararo to let off some steam after the last race in Assen. The Frenchman crashed (twice) and then, in the evening, he also found out that the Stewards had decided to penalize him with a Long Lap penalty for Silverstone. To add insult to injury, as they say. Fabio was furious ("it means I won't try to overtake anymore"), Yamaha thought of appealing, but that kind of decision is not allowed, so Quartararo will start in England knowing that his race will be an uphill struggle.
Much has been written about that penalty and it is pointless to reiterate that it seemed disproportionate (remember that Quartararo slid off taking Aleix Espargarò off the track in an attempt to overtake him) for a type of manoeuvre that on many other occasions was not sanctioned. Make no bones about it, the Frenchman has made only one mistake in 2022 (the Dutch GP was his first 'zero') and he will pay dearly for it.
There are also those who have also argued that it was a political move, to breath some life back into a championship that seemed to be doomed. That’s something that cannot be confirmed, but for Aleix and Bagnaia it is an unexpected gift.
The Spaniard, when there are still 9 races to go (and 225 points to be awarded), is chasing Fabio 21 points away. Not many, less than those for a victory, but despite Espargarò being in a state of grace and his Aprilia now a certainty, making them up on Fabio will not be easy. In fact, in the first 11 races, Aleix finished ahead of Quartararo on only 4 occasions (one of which due to an opponent's crash) but he stood out for consistency (and in fact he is the only rider in the standings who has not missed a beat) and this has paid off.
For the Spaniard, fighting for the championship is a totally new experience and, as he himself admitted, not easy to manage. To make it to the end, however, he has to take another step and the amazing comeback at Assen may have given him that last bit of awareness of his possibilities that he still lacked.
Exactly the opposite is the situation of Bagnaia who is fast when not very fast but who has wasted too many opportunities. Four zeros in 11 races are too many even if on one occasion (at Barcelona) he was blameless. Pecco this year is all or nothing: he has won 3 times, but in the other races he has not had podium finishes.
Quartararo has won as many races as he has, but he has 3 more podiums and the difference in the standings can be seen: 66 points, a lot. If it is true that the math is the only thing that can extinguish world dreams, from Silverstone onwards the Ducati rider will have to do his arithmetic well, to be sure that the result is what he needs to keep his hopes alive.
Like Aleix, he must not waste a golden opportunity. Fabio and Yamaha like Silverstone, last year he won, so that handful of seconds of penalty may not completely affect his race, but he will have to serve it at the worst moment, the early laps. When the group is still compact and it's not about wasting time, but positions and that could be the real problem.
Because Fabio and the M1 are fast, but when there is overtaking to be done, the problems begin. The British GP will perhaps be the most difficult test he will face this year, but if he passes it then the title will be closer than ever.