Despite being a MotoGP rookie, Marco Bezzecchi ran under the Silverstone lap record on Saturday on his way to seventh in Silverstone qualifying.
The 1’58.168 all-time lap record, set by Marc Marquee in 2019, was in fact broken by eight riders in total during the lightning quick Q2 session ahead of the British Grand Prix and while the majority were premier class big hitters and race winners, Bezzecchi joined the fray on only his 12th weekend on the Mooney VR46 Ducati.
While the Italian has already shown glimmers of excellence already this season, most notably his front row start for his home Grand Prix at Mugello back in May, the vast circuit layout of Silverstone can be a challenge for even the most experienced in the field.
“I'm happy, it was a good one,” Bezzecchi said on Saturday evening. "Qualifying one was important to have the chance to pass through qualifying two because we know that the grid position now is very important.
“I was in a good lap, I met some traffic but fortunately I had the time to make one more lap and I was alone and be able to go quite fast even if the tyre was not the best. Fortunately, I managed to pass on the last second and this was good. Then in the second one [Q2], was much better with the new tyre and I was able to make a good lap and this gave me the seventh position, which is very good.
“The first two rows are very, very fast. I think they are a step faster than me, of course but my target is not to fight for the win, so I'm happy.
“My target, honestly, is always to get points,” he continued. “If I'm able to get a top ten, can be very good. Because here is very difficult with the tyre management. In these conditions, still I have not so much experience but I will try my best to save the rear tyre as much as I can and be able to fight for some points.”
With tyre management an obvious talking point on the vast 5.9km layout, Bezzecchi remains unsure of the best choice for the 20-lap race.
“The medium is good, at the end, last year most of the grid race with the medium,” the 23-year-old explained. “But tomorrow the condition will be different compared last year, the temperature will be different so we have to see. I like the hard, I have something that I like on the hard and something that I like on the medium. The performance of the medium of course is a little bit better in the beginning but we never also arrive to so many laps.”
While Bezzecchi showcased a standout perforce in Q2, the Italian was forced to fight his way there through the opening qualifying session, doing so with the second fastest time alongside Gresini’s Enea Bastianini and just 0.097s ahead of closest challenger Miguel Oliveira. While the final shootout is an all-out push for speed, the earlier 15 minutes can at times be more about strategy and track placement.
“Well, I would say that in qualifying one, let's say to make a good lap time, I think every rider in MotoGP has the level and the skills to do a good lap time,” Bezzecchi began. “So having only two places, is normal that some riders catch the wheels. I made it many times because I'm a rookie and I need some tracks some help. Marc Marquez make this from two years in a row. But there are many riders that do this and is nothing illegal, is all clear.
“So in qualifying one is normal to try to find maybe someone faster. Because at the end, one lap, you can do it and you have the place. Depends from the riders that are in qualifying one. At the end sometimes can happen that I see a name that is pushing. For example one factory rider going in qualifying one, everyone try to catch the factory rider because normally is very fast and he has to push because he has to fight for important position. So he will push and if you follow him, for sure, he doesn't care about you.
“This is why in qualifying one, sometimes there are some riders that doesn't go very fast. I think that this can happen, sometimes is okay but so many riders in the same time, it was difficult to see! Like was everyone apart from me, like ten riders, [Stefan] Bradl, [Takaaki] Nakagami, Pol Espargaro, everyone, this is a little bit much but at the end is okay. The important is that I was faster!”