MotoGP Silverstone: The summer break is over

The summer break in MotoGP is over. And suddenly it’s fall? Or maybe just a typical English summer after all? Let’s put it this way – Silverstone showed itself from its best side, as expected. With lots of rain and cold temperatures. It was a wet start to the second half of the MotoGP season at Silverstone.

Changing of chairs

The race weekend had not even begun, there was already the first bang. The news that Franco Morbidelli was leaving the Yamaha factory team to be replaced by Alex Rins hit like a bomb. Morbidelli does not yet have a place in a team for next season and is currently still looking. A switch to a Ducati is conceivable, as those responsible would like to see him on the bike from Bologna. But which team can Franco switch to? The factory team with Bagnaia and Bastianini is confirmed for 2024. As is Jorge Martin at Pramac. Vacant are only the two places in the VR46 team and Gresini Racing and the place next to Jorge Martin at Pramac.

So where could it go? So the Silly Season has finally officially begun with this news. Let’s look forward to rumors and conjectures – it will be exciting. What is already certain is that Morbidelli’s statements after the announcement of the separation have a taint. He wanted to stay with Yamaha, but the factory talked to other riders and decided against him in the end.

Format adjustment

Silverstone was the first time the adjusted Friday practice schedule came into effect. The idea behind the adjustment was to minimize the pressure that has been on the MotoGP riders since the beginning of the season. The introduction of sprinting meant that the riders had to give their all from Friday onwards in order to secure a good qualifying position. This meant no slow approach to the perfect set-up for the entire weekend, but full risk right from the start, so as not to lose out.

The new rules stipulate that only the qualifying session on Friday afternoon will decide who makes it into Q1 and Q2. Now the teams and riders can get back to work on the set-up of the bikes and have a little more time to find a suitable setup.

Whether the change is really an improvement for the riders, the next race weekends will show. Let’s hope so, because some technical issues are still open.

Familiar problems

Even the summer break has not brought any change at Honda and Yamaha. Let’s be honest, it’s not easy to make a quantum leap from one day to the next. But that’s exactly what the two Japanese factories would have to do. It was to be expected that the summer break would not be enough. It feels like the factories are stuck in 2019 or 2020. At the moment, every change seems like a desperate attempt to turn the tide.

Marc Marquez reverted to the Portimao chassis at Silverstone. Forgotten is the chassis of Le Mans, because it brought no positive improvement. Honda also tested a new update with Nakagami at Silverstone, which will be used by all Honda riders at Spielberg.

Things are not looking rosy at the other Japanese factories either. The statement of Fabio Quartararo was scathing that the Yamaha already looks visually outdated and that then you do not even want to know what it looks like under the fairing. Yes, when your own rider makes such a statement, all alarm bells should ring. It’s not only damning, it’s scary. And it makes you wonder if Fabio Quartararo might not have already given up on himself. In any case, it doesn’t sound like a positive view of the future.

How and whether the Japanese factories will still get their act together remains to be seen. Perhaps they really will manage to lay the foundation this season and catch up again in the years to come.

What is certain is that the second half of the season has begun. It will continue in two weeks’ time. We’re excited to see what’s in store there. More chairs being moved? First positive changes at Honda and Yamaha? What about Pedro Acosta, will he find his way into MotoGP? Questions upon questions. Let’s wait for the answers.

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