Team ENEOS With Top 15 Finish at 2023 British MotoGP
Team ENEOS were on track for a top-10 finish at the 2023 Monster Energy British Grand Prix until mechanical issues for Franco Morbidelli and a final stage collision for Fabio Quartararo put a serious damper on their efforts. Despite these setbacks, they finished 14th and 15th place respectively to collect valuable points.
Morbidelli lost a position briefly in the opening stages but recovered quickly before the end of the lap, crossing the start-finish in 11th place. He soon dipped into the top 10, following close to Luca Marini, Maverick Viñales and Johann Zarco (all fighting for sixth after Jack Miller went wide), however, danger was lurking behind…
The Italian was soon overtaken by Miguel Oliveira, but with Alex Marquez having mechanical issues and Marco Bezzecchi crashing out, Morbidelli found himself in eighth. It was a short lived moment as Jorge Martin overtook Morbidelli, who started to suffer from tire degradation and lost ground. He was unable to defend his position and lost multiple positions in a matter of laps. With five laps remaining, it started to rain, so he went in to change bikes, except this gamble didn’t pay off. He had a last-lap battle with teammate Quartararo and took the checkered flag in 14th, 1:28.913sec from first.
“Even though the first half of the race was good, swapping the bike was a bad decision,” Morbidelli said. “I couldn’t have done much since I completely destroyed the front tire. It was still important to stay with the top guys to make a live comparison, which is good info for future races.”
Quartararo started at the back of the grid in 22nd place but since he practiced riding with slicks on a wet track that morning, was already up to 14th midway through the second lap. He found himself in 11th after Bezzecchi crashed out.
On lap 8, Quartararo passed Marc Marquez to enter the top 10 and was preparing for his attack on Enea Bastianini until Martin passed him. As rain began to fall, El Diablo followed him through the pack, a strategy that paid off as he was able to overtake Bastianini and Morbidelli. He fought with Luca Marini for seventh place for multiple laps but collided with him in Sector 2 on lap 18, tearing the front fairing off his M1 and had no option but to head back to the pits for a bike swap. He reentered in 15th place but was unable to break past Morbidelli, settling for one championship point as he crossed the finish line 1:29.075sec from first.
“It was great testing a bike that we were unfamiliar with, which ultimately provides great data,” Quartararo said. “Starting from last and reaching P7 was awesome, plus I got to see how the new fairing works. Overtaking is hard when you’re on the limit but contact happens.”
Following the British GP, Quartararo is 11th in the overall standings with 65 points, while Morbidelli is now in 12th with 59 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP remains sixth in the team championship with 124 points and Yamaha remains fifth in the manufacturer standings with 84 points.
Team ENEOS heads to Round 10 of the 2023 MotoGP series, CryptoDATA Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich in Spielberg, Austria from August 17-20, 2023.