American Brandon Paasch Makes History At British Grand Prix

New Jersey native was one of two MotoAmerica champions racing at Silverstone.

Brandon Paasch, Silverstone, Moto3, British Grand Prix, MotoGP
Tall rider, small bike: Brandon Paasch stands 6-foot-1, which is a lot of real estate to pack into a skinny-tired Moto3 bike. “It’s been good fun,” Paasch said about his wild-card entry at the British Grand Prix. “Hopefully we can do it again.”Gold & Goose

Brandon Paasch made history at the British Grand Prix as the first American to compete in the Moto3 world championship. Riding a 2018 KTM RC250 prepared by FPW Racing, Paasch qualified 30th in the 31-entry field and finished 29th, 1 minute, 3.9 seconds behind the winner, Spaniard Marcos Ramírez.

“That’s probably the hardest race I’ve ever done,” the 18-year-old Paasch admitted after the 17-lap event. “The first two laps I felt really good, and then I kind of lost the group and couldn’t catch back up. We’re learning every time we go out, improving, and getting faster. It’s difficult to get over here, but we made it happen.”

Even though Paasch still calls New Jersey home, he is a regular in the British Motostar Championship, a two-tier category—Moto3 GP and Moto3 Standard—created by British Superbike as a potential UK-based feeder class for the world championship. With four rounds remaining, he has three victories and four seconds and is second overall in the point standings.

Paasch wasn’t the only rider flying the stars and stripes at Silverstone. Moto2 regular Joe Roberts rides for American Racing Team KTM. Before heading overseas, Paasch and Roberts won championships in the MotoAmerica series. Roberts lifted the 2015 Superstock 600 title; Paasch took top honors a year later in the single-make KTM RC Cup.

Like Paasch, Roberts set a weekend personal-best lap time during the race, 2:06.3. Despite having been forced to start from the back of the grid after crashing in qualifying, the Californian finished 22nd. "My guys worked hard and got our bike ready, so thank you!" Roberts posted on his Instagram page. "Let's take this positivity into Misano."

"Everybody in the class is really, really good," Paasch concluded. "I think I belong. A few more times and maybe we can make something happen a little bit better. Most surprising thing for me is how fast those guys get to full throttle. They just come out of the corner and whack! That's been really challenging for me, something we can look to improve for next time."