The MotoGP engines have been sleeping since 25 June, when Pecco Bagnaia won the last race in Assen before a long summer break. Five weeks without a GP - thanks to the cancellation of the one in Kazakhstan - but now the time has come to start again from Silverstone for the second part of this championship. With 8 Grands Prix already down, there are still 12 left to go, a long tour de force that will lead to Valencia at the end of November.
An all-Ducati championship
At the restart in the UK, Bagnaia will lead the standings with a 35-point lead over Martin and 36 over Bezzecchi, an all-Ducati trio leading the championship. After all, Ducati has had things all its own way in this first part of 2023, with all the others playing catch-up. Starting with KTM (4th with Binder in the riders' standings), while Aprilia has had a few too many problems and the Japanese (Honda and Yamaha) have plunged into a dark crisis.
One month's abundant break may have been used by the engineers to improve the bikes, but above all by the riders to recover from their injuries. Starting with the pairing of the official Honda team, with Joan Mir who missed the last 3 appointments and Marc Marquez who had to stay in the box in Sunday's races at Sachsenring and Assen due to injuries sustained in Germany. Quartararo also left Holland in pain, but the big toe operation he underwent immediately after the GP solved all his problems. Martin and Di Giannantonio took advantage of the stop for a bit of 'fine-tuning', both under the knife to solve the problem of compartment syndrome (the Spaniard with a leg and the Italian with an arm).
The medical bulletin concludes with Alex Rins, still struggling with the recovery from his bad tibia and fibula smashes and in fact he won't be at Silverstone, replaced by Iker Lecuona. On the other hand, Pol Espargarò, who has been absent from the track since the first Portimao GP, in which he was unfortunate protagonist of a terrible accident, will return to his GasGas. Without forgetting Enea Bastianini, for whom the long break was necessary to put his shoulder back in place once and for all after he had been suffering with it for a long time since the accident in Portugal.
Still 444 points to be assigned and regulation changes
For everyone, the goal will be to try to stop Bagnaia and the Ducatis, favorites for the title. Also, because, after a few too many mistakes at the beginning of the year, from Mugello onwards Pecco has upped his pace markedly, never doing worse than 2nd in the last 3 races and as many sprint races. While Bezzecchi and Martin have tried - now one now the other - to break the eggs in his basket, no one has shown his same consistency.
With 444 points still up for grabs, it goes without saying that anything can happen, but so it can be said that the reigning world champion looks to be a tough nut to crack for everyone.
The new rules that will be introduced by Silverstone might help mess up the plans. The first is a change to the format, with the first session becoming free practice. It means that the times in FP1 will no longer be used to enter Q2 directly and the riders will be able to work on setting up the bike without having to commit to the flying lap. Entry to the decisive qualifying session will be decided exclusively in FP2 on Friday afternoon.
Another new feature is the introduction of penalties for those who do not respect the tyre pressure limits. In this first experimental phase there is no disqualification, but only time penalties at the end of the race.