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Francesco Bagnaia keeps MotoGP title hopes alive with British GP win as Fabio Quartararo fades

MotoGP Bagnaia British GP

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07: Francesco Bagnaia of Italy and Ducati Lenovo Team leads the field during the MotoGP race during the MotoGP of Great Britain - Race at Silverstone Circuit on August 07, 2022 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)

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Francesco Bagnaia kept his title hunt alive after winning Round 12 of MotoGP in the British GP at Silverstone while Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro finished on the high side of the top 10.

In a closely fought race, the top three were separated by only 0.614 seconds with Maverick Vinales and Jack Miller rounding out the podium.

Looking for his first series win, Johann Zarco grabbed the holeshot and held the top spot until he crashed on Lap 5. That handed the lead to Miller, who was quickly passed by Alex Rins.

Miller lost second to Bagnaia one lap later as the eventual winner charged through the field. It took another handful of laps until Bagnaia passed Rins on Lap 12, but he held on for the final eight circuits to take trophy home from the British GP.

More importantly, Bagnaia was able to take a significant slice off his deficit as the pair of riders ahead of him in the standings had a disastrous weekend.

Quartararo was hit with a long lap penalty for contact with Espargaro in the previous round at Assen and struggled to find pace afterward. Espargaro had a more dramatic handicap as he was riding with a broken heel suffered when he high sided in the final practice session for the British GP.

With back-to-back wins at Assen and Silverstone, Bagnaia sliced 42 points off the championship lead in the past two round and closed to within 49 of Quartararo. Espargaro is at a midpoint in between the two with a 22-point deficit to the leader and 27 ahead of third with eight rounds still remaining. MotoGP awards 25 points for a win and none to riders who finish outside the top 15.

Bagnaia has been able to capitalize on two disastrous rounds for Quartararo, who seemed to have everything in hand when the series hit the halfway point. But now Quartararo failed to finish the Motul TT Assen, scoring no points, and was eighth at Silverstone to pocket a paltry eight points.

The news could be worse for Espargaro, who has failed to stand on the podium in the last four rounds and may suffer lasting effects from his broken ankle.

In Moto 2, Augusto Fernandez won his third consecutive round and fourth of the season with a margin of less than a tenth of a second over Alonso Lopez.

Jake Dixon rounded out the podium. As with the MotoGP finish, the margin from first to third was less than seven-tenths of a second.

Fernandez is the Moto 2 points’ leader by 13 over Ai Ogura and 15 over Celestino Vietti.

American Joe Roberts finished seventh.