Marc Marquez took a back-to-back victory at Brno in the Czech Republic in challenging conditions, with the HRC rider extending his championship lead to 14 points over his closest follower, Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales.
It was the fifth flag-to-flag race that Marquez has perfectly mastered thanks to a mix of tactics, determination, and teamwork (Assen 2014, Misano 2015, Argentina and Sachsenring 2016, Brno 2017). On this occasion the Spaniard found himself struggling soon after the lights went off, having fit a soft rear tyre that he wasn’t at ease with on a drying track. He therefore decided to change bikes quite soon and entered the pit on lap two, where his team was ready with his second bike fitted with slick tyres. That allowed him to pull a great gap on his opponents, which he managed until the chequered flag.
“Honestly, today I took some risks but it was one of those days when you just have to do it, Marquez said. After pulling a great gap, I just tried to manage, to ride well, and to finish the race. I’m really very happy with the result. It’s a track I normally struggle at, one I worry about every year, and getting 25 points was very important. Thanks to the team for another great job! We did the correct strategy during the summer break, coming here to test, and we arrived here prepared. We’re improving step by step. The Championship is still very, very tight; we must be able to be fast in every condition.”
It was a great day overall for the Repsol Honda Team, with Dani Pedrosa also taking a step on the podium with a strong second place, bringing his career podium tally to 150 (and his MotoGP podium tally to 109, one more than Jorge Lorenzo). Pedrosa switched to his second bike on lap four and re-entered the race in eighth position. He immediately started riding at a very fast pace, fighting his way forward to second and setting the fastest lap of the race along the way.
“This weekend we were competitive in all situations, yesterday in qualifying and today, with this podium said Pedrosa. I’m really very happy with the performances and with how I felt on the bike. I’m generally feeling stronger than in the first part of the season. We must improve some details—today it was knowing the right lap to stop on, but we’ll learn from it.”
Rounding out the podium was Movistar Yamaha’s rising star, Maverick Viñales. Starting the race from seventh on the grid, Viñales slotted into sixth position after the first corner. He followed his teammate Rossi past Dani Pedrosa to fifth on the opening lap, but it soon became clear the track was too dry for the wet tyres to last.
The Yamaha rider quickly headed into the pits after lap 4 to switch bikes. Back on track in 13th place, he quickly got back into the groove and gained positions as other riders came in to change bikes a lap later. He soon circulated in eleventh place and was on the move with 17 laps to go. Putting his head down, he rode a superb race. The Spaniard carried a strong pace over the next nine laps and climbed up to third, dropping a personal best on lap 16, followed by a fastest race lap of 1’57.052s. However, he was unable to close the gap to the front riders and crossed the line in third place, 18.135s from first.
Rossi had a decent start from second position, in what was declared a wet race, taking fifth place after the initial run up to the first corner. He quickly picked up a place on the opening lap and started chasing the top-3. The Doctor was flying on his second lap, passing Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez as the sun broke through the clouds.
With 20 laps ahead of him, the Italian found himself in second place, with a 1.4s gap to Jorge Lorenzo. Riding faster than anyone on track, he closed right up and took over at the front on lap 4, but had to come in to change bikes a lap later. The nine-time World Champion rejoined the pack in 14th place. Over the next 17 laps he was the star of the race, cutting through the field like a knife through butter to ultimately secure fourth position, finishing just off the podium, 20.466s from the front.
The MotoGP paddock also paid tribute to former World Champion and Spanish motorcycling legend, Angel Nieto, who sadly passed away on August 3rd, succumbing to injuries sustained in a quad bike accident in Ibiza some days before. A true giant of the sport in Spain and on the world stage, the Champion from Zamora will be deeply missed.
MotoGP Czech GP Top 10
|1||25||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||161.1||44’15.974|
|2||20||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||160.3||+12.438|
|3||16||25||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||160.0||+18.135|
|4||13||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||159.8||+20.466|
|5||11||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda||Honda||159.8||+20.892|
|6||10||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||159.7||+23.259|
|7||9||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||OCTO Pramac Racing||Ducati||159.6||+24.079|
|8||8||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||159.2||+30.559|
|9||7||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||159.2||+30.754|
|10||6||94||Jonas FOLGER||GER||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||159.1||+33.236|