Pol Espargaró came back from darkness into the winner’s spotlight in a matter of days, thanks to his lonely and extraordinary Moto2 win at Silverstone. «Smart» Pol –do not confuse with Ducati rider Paul Smart- left Barcelona injured, with no points and witnessing how arch rival Marc Márquez was leaving with the same 16 points that Pol was fighting for when he crashed at Montmeló.
Espargaro may not be the most technical rider on the grid, neither does he speak the best English. However, you can be sure he has the strongest spirit among riders in the intermediate class. It would have been natural to be furious after being taken out by Marquez in Barcelona. But Espargaró was very well advised by HP Tuenti team Boss Sito Pons and chose the opposite and toughest way of overcoming his setback. Just dedicating a few nice words to his Catalunya Caixa rival and then focusing on proving at Silverstone he is as quick as the fastest rider on the track. Watching Espargaró in the last few seasons brings to my mind that old racing cliché: You can't teach a slow rider to produce a talent he does not have, but fortunately you can teach a skilled rider to be smarter or avoid mistakes. That’s what Espargaró and the HP Tuenti team have achieved this season.
Espargaró started his job in free practice 1 and extended his domination to qualifying practice –only Iannone, Bradl, Márquez and Luthi have ever done this before in two and half seasons of Moto2 history-. On Sunday he was beaten by Márquez during the warm up session, but the Catalunya Caixa rider never felt totally comfortable at Silverstone and a third place on the rostrum was maybe a bit more then he might have hoped to get when the British race was over. But Espargaro’s brilliant performance was not the only problem for Marquez. In fact, even though we are already becoming used to enjoying Marquez’s amazing talent, he was totally eclipsed by Espargaró’s overtaking and Briton Scott Redding’s quest for glory at Silverstone.
Scott Redding was dying to show he is fast and consistent enough to win in Moto2 in front of his home crowd. Redding was second in FP2 and FP3 behind Espargaró, and he was always among the fastest riders in every practice session. A place on front row of the grid was good enough after receiving a penalty during the last minute of QP for running wide and off the track exiting the last corner. As soon as the flag dropped, Redding gave an absolutely brilliant display of riding. With all due respect to British riders -including legend Barry Sheene and even rising star Cal Crutchlow-, no other has ever showed Redding’s manners on the bike in the last thirty years of Grand Prix racing. Redding on the track is amazing to watch, and many of have demanded again and again that a combined rider-bike weight is needed as technical rule for the future of Moto2.
Anyway, this technical rule will be too late for a tall and muscular rider like Redding because I just can’t believe that nobody has though of him yet as a MotoGP rider, and I’m sure he would be perfect. After losing contact with Espargaró on the previous laps, Redding made sure that on the last one -with perfectly fair riding behaviour- that no way was he was going to be beaten by Márquez, showing the Spaniard how it feels being victim of his own weapon. If Redding could find what it takes to be in front for longer, the last laps of Moto2 races would induce even more heart attacks at the end.
Thomas Luthi, points standing leader after the Catalonian race, was nowhere near the front during the weekend at Silverstone. The Swiss rider, briefly the championship leader, posted the fastest lap in the race, but it was not enough to beat Bradley Smith for sixth place, and he may be figuring out that being extremely fast is not enough to win either races or the championship at the end of the season.
In the end it was, Márquez who got the biggest gain from Luthi’s mediocre performance. The Spaniard is the new championship leader with a six points gap over Espargó and Luthi, both with same points in second place. This would normally be an ideal situation for the Catalunya Caixa rider, but he could in fact end up third in the standings if the FIM changes its mind about Catalonian Grand Prix affair. It is not likely but, whatever is decided, it must be made known as soon as possible for the good of the championship. Some people are saying the FIM will announce its decision on one of two dates. It could come before the Dutch TT, or two weeks later at the Italian Grand Prix. If it is not know soon, the riders will not know which championship leader they are racing against.