Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo emerged victorious from the ‘Battle of Brno’ after an imperious ride at the bwin Grand Prix České republiky. The Spaniard was untouchable during the race as he went on to take the win by 4.462s from Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, with his teammate Valentino Rossi in third. Lorenzo now sits on top of the MotoGP World Championship standings, level on points with Rossi, after taking his fifth win of the season.
Conditions were almost perfect for the MotoGP race at the 5.2km Automotodrom Brno, with the sun shining and track temperatures approaching 107 degrees Fahrenheit. Over 138,000 fans had packed into the grandstands at the iconic track to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first GP at Brno, and the scene was set perfectly for a showdown between the top three riders in the championship standings. Adding to the intrigue was the fact that all three riders had gone for different tire choices. Lorenzo on a medium front and rear, Rossi on a hard front and rear, and Marquez with a medium front and hard rear.
Any hopes of a dramatic three-way battle between Lorenzo, Marquez and Rossi were dashed almost immediately, as Rossi got bogged down at the start. The Italian had worked hard during practice and qualifying to ensure that he didn’t let Marquez and Lorenzo disappear at the start of the race as in Indianapolis. It was all to be for nothing though, as he found himself down in fifth at the first corner.
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Lorenzo and Marquez immediately opened a gap at the front, which had increased to 1.5 seconds at the end of the first lap. Rossi found himself held up behind Andrea Dovizioso, and by the time he got past on the second lap, the gap to his rivals was already over two seconds.
Marquez was matching the pace of Lorenzo and they were both lapping almost 0.5s a lap quicker than Rossi and after six laps the gap was up to 4 seconds. Lorenzo even started to pull away from Marquez, opening up a half of a second gap over his compatriot by lap 9. This had increased to two seconds by lap 12, with Lorenzo once again managing the gap perfectly as no one had an answer to his electric pace. The two-time MotoGP World Champion went on to take his 38th MotoGP victory by the comfortable margin of 4 .4 seconds from Marquez. Rossi eventually crossed the line 10.397s behind Lorenzo to finish third, continuing his run of having finished on the podium at every race this season.
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+13.071s) finished in fourth and was involved in an excellent battle towards the end of the race with his teammate Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda). Pedrosa, who was nursing a bruised left foot after his highside in FP2, gritted his teeth to work his way up through the field from ninth on the grid. With 6 laps remaining, he caught Iannone and Dovizioso who were involved in a fight of their own and were fourth and fifth respectively at the time.
After Iannone and Dovizioso almost touched, Iannone made a slight break to take fourth, and left his teammate to deal with Pedrosa. Cue an awesome scrap over the last few laps as each rider overtook each other a number of times. Pedrosa (+0.15.650s) made a move up the inside of turn 11 on the final lap and held on to cross the line in fifth ahead of Dovizioso (+15.725s).
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith once again enjoyed a great start to find himself up into third at the very first corner. Smith could not quite match the pace of the leaders though, and found himself falling back, eventually crossing the line as the leading satellite rider in seventh. His teammate Pol Espargaro was in eighth, ahead of his brother Aleix on the Team Suzuki Ecstar in ninth, with Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci completing the top 10.
Petrucci’s teammate Yonny Hernandez followed him across the line in 11th, ahead of Scott Redding (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Racing) and the two Factory Aprilia’s of Stefan Bradl (13th) and Alvaro Bautista (14th)
Forward Racing’s Loris Baz pulled off the perfect result for his team on their return after being forced to miss the Indianapolis GP due to financial issues. The Frenchman crossed the line in 15th to take the Open class victory by less than a second from Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera in 16th. Nicky Hayden (Aspar MotoGP Team) was next across the line in 17th as the leading Open class Honda.
There were crashes for Eugene Laverty (Aspar MotoGP Team), Cal Crutchlow (CWM LR Honda) and Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) while Alex De Angelis (E-Motion IodaRacing Team) was forced to retire.
Lorenzo’s win sees him replace his teammate Rossi at the top of the MotoGP World championship standings. Although both are on 211 points, Lorenzo has the advantage as he has won five races compared to Rossi’s three. Marc Marquez (159pts) remains in third, 52 points behind the two Movistar Yamaha teammates.