MotoGP 2021 British Grand Prix rider ratings - The Race

MotoGP 2021 British Grand Prix rider ratings

Aug 30 2021
By Simon Patterson

Going into the British Grand Prix, there was one name (and really, one name only) that we were expecting to feature at the front: Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo.

And feature he did, with the Frenchman keeping his powder dry in the early stages before exploding into life in the second half, winning comfortably and extending his championship lead even further.

But there was still plenty to talk about behind him, with all manner of strong results from unexpected corners as well as some rather basic errors from riders who should definitely know better.

With that in mind we have, as usual, ranked the whole grid based on their Sunday performances.

Our MotoGP ranking system is simple: the riders who we believe performed the best are at the top, and the ones who underplayed are at the bottom, and scored appropriately.

It isn’t just about the end result though, with pre-race expectation and form heavily influencing their eventual score – not just the points they take home with them.

Aleix Espargaro – 9

Started: 6th Finished: 3rd

Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Silverstone MotoGP

Sunday’s race at Silverstone was quite possibly the highlight of Aleix Espargaro‘s career so far. Proving that not only the Aprilia RS-GP but also himself are both capable of podium contention, he looked like he was threatening for a strong result all weekend long.

Even more impressive than his pace though is that he was not only able to earn the Italian manufacturer’s first trip to the box in 21 years, but the way in which he did it, forced to work hard in the closing laps of the race by Ducati rider Jack Miller.

Surprising a few people by showing off just how strong the Aprilia is in certain areas, especially on corner exit acceleration, he delivered the perfect welcoming present for new signing Maverick Viñales.

Iker Lecuona – 9

Started: 18th Finished: 7th

Iker Lecuona Tech3 KTM Silverstone MotoGP

Absolutely one of the best rides of the day, Iker Lecuona’s performance just goes to show that sometimes the fastest rider is a rider looking for a job.

Coming home as second KTM and making both team-mate Danilo Petrucci and KTM compatriot Miguel Oliveira look decidedly average, the young Spaniard made a hell of a charge through the field in the closing stages of the race.

Alex Rins – 8.5

Started: 10th Finished: 2nd

Alex Rins Suzuki Silverstone MotoGP

Credit where it is due to Alex Rins – the Suzuki rider went into the race at Silverstone not only as the defending winner, but also with his back somewhat up against the wall after a difficult start to the 2021 season.

Admitting beforehand that he needed this weekend almost as a reference point for his true level, he reminded us all of just how fast he can be when things are going well.

He’s had a tough season, with crashes and injury, but there’s still plenty of time left for him to walk away not completely disappointed with his achievements – and Silverstone might be the start of his turnaround.

Fabio Quartararo – 8

Started: 3rd Finished: 1st

Fabio Quartararo Yamaha Silverstone MotoGP

The only reason that Fabio Quartararo doesn’t score higher than this is because what he did in Sunday’s race is exactly what we all expected him to do.

From start to finish he looked almost unbeatable at Silverstone, and even though it took him a few laps in the race to get properly going, once he got to the front no one ever looked close to being able to hold him back.

A very important win for his championship ambitions.

Brad Binder – 7.5

Started: 12th Finished: 6th

Brad Binder KTM Silverstone MotoGP

Another rather typical Sunday for race specialist Brad Binder. Struggling, like his Red Bull KTM team-mate Miguel Oliveira, all weekend, the South African once again brought something special to the race and was able to pull a strong result out of a bad weekend.

Sixth place isn’t absolutely exceptional, but given how difficult the weekend looked for the Austrian manufacturer, it’s not at all a bad performance, all things considered.

Pol Espargaro – 7

Started: 1st Finished: 5th

Pol Espargaro Honda Silverstone MotoGP

While all of the attention on Sunday might have been on his older brother, Pol Espargaro should leave the British Grand Prix very pleased with what he managed to achieve. His pre-race ambition after an unexpected pole position was to spend as long as possible fighting at the front of the race and to use it as an opportunity to learn.

He did exactly that, and while track conditions might have been the main factor in allowing the Repsol Honda man to return to the front of the field for the first time since switch from Red Bull KTM, we can only hope that he picked up enough new knowledge of the RC213V to keep that level.

Jack Miller – 7

Started: 7th Finished: 4th

Jack Miller Ducati Silverstone MotoGP

Though he was frustrated after the race not to be on the podium despite his best efforts to defeat Aleix Espargaro on the final laps of the race, fourth and top Ducati is actually an excellent result for Miller. He never quite looked fast enough to fight for the podium in practice, so to deliver something in the race is actually the reverse of how he’s performed in many races this year.

Alex Marquez – 7

Started: 17th Finished: 8th

Alex Marquez LCR Honda Silverstone MotoGP

Benefitting, like Pol Espargaro, from the cooler temperatures and extra grip of Silverstone, the younger Marquez had a solid race on Sunday to battle through from a poor qualifying.

So far back on the grid after a few self-inflicted errors on his hot lap, it might only be a flash in the pan given the more suitable conditions, but it’s still a result he can be quite happy with.

Jorge Martin – 6.5

Started: 6th Finished: DNF

Jorge Martin Pramac Ducati Silverstone MotoGP

As usual, when a rider fails to complete the first lap, it’s hard to read too much into what might have been of their performance. But it becomes a little easier when the reason isn’t their own – and it is abundantly clear that Jorge Martin did absolutely nothing wrong in his clash with Marc Marquez.

However, the rookie Spaniard had very strong pace all weekend at Silverstone, and admitted afterwards that he had the not-unrealistic hopes of fighting for the podium.

Danilo Petrucci – 6

Started: 16th Finished: 10th

Danilo Petrucci Tech3 KTM Silverstone MotoGP

Not a bad result for Petrucci given the tough season that he’s had so far, a top 10 at Silverstone nonetheless isn’t exactly an amazing result given the performance of his much less experienced team-mate Lecuona. But it’s still something of a starting point for him to try and reinvigorate what looks set to be the final races of his MotoGP career.

Jake Dixon – 6

Started: 21st Finished: 19th

Jake Dixon Petronas Yamaha Silverstone MotoGP

Jake Dixon did exactly what he needed to do in Sunday’s race. Making his first-ever appearance with absolutely zero track time previous to the race weekend kicking off, his ambitions had to be to simply finish the race.

To just finish the race, never mind to do it within touching distance of his Petronas Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi, means that the young British rider has achieved something to be proud of – and it looks like Yamaha agrees, with Dixon expected to retain the seat next time out at Motorland Aragon.

Enea Bastianini – 5.5

Started: 13th Finished: 13th

Enea Bastianini Avintia Ducati Silverstone MotoGP

An up and down weekend for the reigning Moto2 world champion, with big crashes in practice but a strong result at the end of it.

Nothing to write home about, but given that he fell in warm-up, to end the race with a good feeling from the Esponsorama Ducati means it could have been a whole lot worse.

Luca Marini – 5

Started: 14th Finished: 15th

Jorge Martin SkyVR46 Ducati Silverstone MotoGP

It says a lot about Luca Marini’s progress so far on the Team Sky VR46 Ducati that he was disappointed with another point-scoring finish after Sunday’s race.

Feeling like he had the pace to do better but unable to close the distance to his rivals under braking, it nonetheless shows the development of his riding style on the bike – and while he might not be delighted about it, there’s plenty to be pleased about in 15th.

Cal Crutchlow – 5

Started: 19th Finished: 17th

Cal Crutchlow Yamaha Silverstone MotoGP

There was a very faint prospect that we might see some fireworks from new factory Yamaha stand-in rider Cal Crutchlow at his home race. However, it became apparent early on in the weekend that the British rider was at Silverstone to test for the Japanese manufacturer rather than to fight for the podium.

Considering that, he did exactly what Yamaha sent him there to do in Sunday’s race by completing full distance – even if he did do it at the back. There is some solace in the result for Crutchlow being the second Yamaha across the line though, after another disappointing race for Rossi.

Valentino Rossi – 5

Started: 8th Finished: 18th

Valentino Rossi Petronas Yamaha Silverstone MotoGP

Not for the first time in 2021, it looked like Rossi was going into Sunday’s British Grand Prix with the potential for a really good result. But it wasn’t to be when the lights went out.

With Rossi forced to use a medium tyre rather than the hard that he preferred thanks to the track temperature, it just didn’t work for him and he faded dramatically from half distance onwards.

You’d expect that a rider of Rossi’s calibre would be more able to adapt to changing conditions, and it’s a disappointing result for his fans, but no doubt even more disappointing for him personally.

Johann Zarco – 4.5

Started: 9th Finished: 11th

Johann Zarco Pramac Ducati Silverstone MotoGP

If anyone had an anonymous race on Sunday, it was Johann Zarco, with the Frenchman practically invisible throughout the race – and indeed, throughout the whole weekend.

However, while he might have been mid-pack not just in the race results but among the Ducatis too, it nonetheless spells the end of any lingering title ambitions for him.

Taka Nakagami – 4

Started: 15th Finished: 13th

Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Silverstone MotoGP

One of many riders who got caught out by changing conditions on Sunday and were quick to put the blame down to bad tyres, Nakagami struggled in practice and qualifying, then failed to make much progress in the race despite other Hondas actually looking quite strong for one weekend.

Team-mate Alex Marquez finding some form doesn’t make things look great for him, either.

Francesco Bagnaia – 3

Started: 2nd Finished: 14th

Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Silverstone MotoGP

Sunday might have been the day when Pecco Bagnaia’s last remaining ambitions of lifting the 2021 MotoGP crown escaped him.

Blaming bad Michelin tyres after the race for his impressively poor slide from podium contention to just 14th at the chequered flag, he offered an explanation that’s become the textbook excuse for riders this season who have struggled with changing conditions.

Reigning champion Joan Mir also reverted to the same line – but it’s worth noting that if Michelin is to blame, they’re ensuring that it’s only Ducati and Suzuki that seem to get the ‘bad’ tyres.

Joan Mir – 3

Started: 11th Finished: 9th

Joan Mir Suzuki Silverstone MotoGP

While Quartararo always looked quite unbeatable before Sunday’s race, one of the names who seemed to have some potential to challenge him was reigning world champion Mir. However, like fellow championship contender Bagnaia, he was quick to blame Michelin for his poor result afterwards.

The reality is, that while the control tyres are undoubtedly sensitive to changes in track conditions, it’s something of a cop-out to rely on that excuse every time you have a bad race. Sunday might not have been the day when Quartararo won the 2021 championship, but it could well have been the day that Mir lost it.

Miguel Oliveira – 2

Started: 20th Finished: 16th

Miguel Oliveira KTM Silverstone MotoGP

Silverstone was something of a nightmare weekend for Portuguese rider Oliveira. Someone we talked about earlier this year as a potential consistent race winner for the second half of the season, he was far from the level this weekend.

After he never managed to gel with the bike or to find a way to make it work around the fast and flowing Northamptonshire circuit, coming home outside the points in 16th place while his team-mate was sixth and satellite rider Lecuona was seventh is quite frankly a little embarrassing – and the team needs to figure out what exactly went so wrong for him.

Marc Marquez – 1

Started: 5th Finished: DNF

Marc Marquez Honda Silverstone MotoGP

Quite simply, a rider of Marc Marquez’s calibre should not be making rookie mistakes – but that’s exactly what he did in Sunday’s race when he smashed into Martin on the opening lap.

Though he was quick to apologise afterwards, it still doesn’t make up for the fact that he shouldn’t have attempted such an ambitious move in the first place.

It shows just how far away from the old Marquez he still is.

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