At Silverstone, Danny Kent will be looking for his sixth win of the season Photo: Getty Images
Danny Kent heads to his home Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend leading the Moto3 Championship and with a genuine chance of ending the season as Britain’s first GP World Champion since Barry Sheene in 1977.
The Chippenham-born 21-year-old has been imperious, breaking several records and winning five of the 11 races to date.
He will obviously be hoping to make it six from 12 at Silverstone. However, having ridden with a maturity that belies his young age so far this year, I’m sure that he’ll be riding with one eye on the greater prize, and that his main goal will be to finish ahead of his nearest rivals and extend his championship lead.
After finishing off the podium only once in the first nine races, and that being a fourth place in France, Kent could manage only 21st- and seventh-place finishes in the last two rounds at Indianapolis and Brno respectively.
In both instances he was a victim of circumstance. At Indianapolis, where almost every rider on the grid had to change tyres, Kent’s team fluffed the pit stop and he lost more than 30 seconds on the field. Meanwhile, at Brno, where the race was restarted, he had to go back out with part-worn tyres having already used up his allocation.
Kent has since acknowledged that his tyre-use strategy may need to be amended.
Going into Indianapolis, Kent led the championship by 66 points, but the last two rounds have seen that margin reduced to 45. Reassuringly, his nearest rival, Enea Bastianini, has thus far not shown race-winning pace, having failed to take a single victory this season. Indeed, he’s only finished on the podium on five occasions to Kent’s seven.
Maybe for once, the main attraction at the British GP will not be Rossi et all in the MotoGP class. Kent is guaranteed huge support and will also have the backing of a dedicated stand.
Also guaranteed strong support will be fellow British rider, John McPhee. Currently sitting in 11th place in the championship, McPhee’s results have been mixed after a strong start to the season.
He did achieve his first career podium at the Indianapolis round after taking the bold decision to start the race on slicks when the majority of the field (Kent included) opted for wets. And we will be hoping for more of the same at Silverstone.
This year the Moto3 class has probably given us the most exciting racing of all the Grand Prix classes, something that’s been heightened for us Brits by the inclusion of Kent in the mix.
Let’s hope he can match the feat of his compatriot Scott Reading, who won the equivalent 125cc race at Donington in 2008.
1. Danny Kent, Honda Leopard Racing, 199 points
2. Enea Bastianini, Honda Gresini Racing Team Moto3, 154
3. Romana Finati, KTM SKY Racing Team VR46, 122
4. Miguel Oliveira, KTM Red Bull KTM Ajo, 111
5. Efren Vasquez, Honda Leopard Racing, 109
6. Brad Binder, KTM Red Bull KTM Ajo, 99