Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez strolled to his third victory of the MotoGP season at Brno, taking a huge gamble with an early bike swap to outfox his opponents and extend his championship lead. Dani Pedrosa produced a calm, calculated ride to cross the line in second, a mere 12.4 seconds behind his fellow compatriot and teammate. Maverick Vinales produced a gallant charge back up through the field to fill out the final spot on the all-Spanish podium.
A wet track meant the whole field started on full wet tyres but with the sun out, it was only going to be a matter of laps before the riders would make the choice to switch onto dry tyres.
It was Marquez who took the holeshot after a perfect start, but a lightning start for Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo saw the 2015 World Champion displace the Honda rider midway through the opening lap, with teammate Andrea Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi and Pedrosa chasing close behind.
Lorenzo immediately opened a gap on Marquez and the rest of the field bar Rossi, who sensing the danger made his way quickly past “Dovi” and Marquez and the “Doctor” began his pursuit of the Ducati rider. Marquez, who opted for the soft tyre suddenly started dropping through the field and was as low at 10th position before making the decision to enter the pits to switch to his dry bike towards the end of lap two.
As the rest of the riders chased down Lorenzo, the track was drying rapidly, forcing the “Spartan” to pit however Rossi, Dovizioso and Johann Zarco made the strange decision to stay out on track.
When Rossi and Dovizioso finally changed bikes on lap five, Zarco took the race lead however this was short lived as the flying Marquez rocketed past the Frenchman mid-way through the lap and began his time trial to the finish line.
With a 20-second lead over Pedrosa in second, Marquez cruised his way through the final laps to take his 32nd MotoGP career victory and extend his championship lead.
Pedrosa, who had an unusual quiet race as the dust began to settle, ate into Marquez’s lead and set the fastest lap of the race many times throughout the Grand Prix. The Spaniard eventually crossed the line 12 seconds behind his teammate but closed the gap to second and third in the championship.
Maverick Vinales, who got a very sluggish start, slowly made his way through the field, picking many riders off one by one to eventually hit the chequered flag in a creditable third.
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow was set to finish the race in a brilliant fourth however, the Brit found himself caught by Rossi with three laps to go and on the final lap the Italian made his way through at Turn 5 to grab fourth place.
Dovizioso came home as top Ducati in sixth, ahead of fellow GP17 rival Danilo Petrucci, who came home a solid seventh after a loss of rear grip towards the end of the race. Aleix Espargaro won the battle of the brothers, coming home in eighth, ahead of his sibling Pol, who put in the ride of the day in ninth. Jonas Folger completed the top ten after the German sliced his way through the field, overtaking three riders in the final lap to complete a underwhelming race.
Alex Rins finished a promising weekend in 11th, followed by a dismal Zarco, a heroic Abraham, Jack Miller and the fading Jorge Lorenzo who took the final point in 15th.
The next stop on the MotoGP circus will be the Red Bull Ring in Austria- a track that very much suits the Ducati, who took the 1-2 last year with Iannone and Dovizioso.
|20||8||Hector Barbera||Ducati||21||1 lap|
|Ret||38||Bradley Smith||KTM||20||2 laps|
|Ret||76||Loris Baz||Ducati||15||7 laps|
|Ret||19||Alvaro Bautista||Ducati||12||10 laps|