Round 10 Czech Republic

  • Magic Marquez Extends Title Lead In 100th MotoGP Race

    Marc Marquez showed his strength and experience in his hundredth MotoGP race, finishing a close third in a thrilling Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno, and most importantly comfortably ahead of his nearest championship rival.

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Magic Marquez Extends Title Lead In 100th MotoGP Race

AUTOMOTODROM BRNO, Czech Republic, August 5, 2018

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) showed his strength and experience in his hundredth MotoGP race, finishing a close third in a thrilling Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno, and most importantly comfortably ahead of his nearest championship rival.

The 25-year-old MotoGP superstar elected not to risk all in pursuit of a 41st class win. Instead he stayed true to the tactical approach he has frequently discussed during the course of his sixth MotoGP season, in which he is leading the charge towards a fifth premier-class World Championship.

In spite of Marquez’s conservative approach, this was the closest top-three finish since Honda-mounted Toni Elias won the 2006 Portuguese Grand Prix. Today’s podium was covered by just 0.368 seconds.

Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez

Marquez had won five of the nine races before the summer break and was a top-three finisher in two more, giving him a 46-point overall lead going into today’s race. Throughout he has been able to make the most of the 2018 iteration of Honda’s RC213V MotoGP machine, which he has pronounced the best version yet of the 1000cc V4.

Today’s race was run in only slightly reduced heat after punishingly hot conditions over two days of practice, with ambient temperatures at 28 degrees Celsius, and the track at 41 degrees, compared with 32 and 50 degrees in qualifying.

The conditions were debilitating both personally and technically. For the first three quarters of today’s race the leading group mostly held station,  saving their energy and their tires for the final battle.

When that came, it was explosive. On the final lap Marquez moved back through into second ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, only for the Italian to shove back past on the run down the hill, almost hitting the Honda rider. After that, and because his closest championship rival Valentino Rossi was comfortably behind him, Marquez elected to let Lorenzo fight it out with his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, who prevailed by less than two tenths of a second, with Marquez a similar distance behind Lorenzo.

Marquez, a former 125cc and Moto2 World Champion, now heads the points table by 49 points from Rossi, with nine of 19 races remaining.

The remaining front runners were still close, with the top five past the checkered flag within less than three seconds. The rider in fifth, again the top independent-team rider, was Briton Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V), a previous race winner at Brno. Crutchlow had been in fourth until the closing stages, ceding the position to Rossi by the narrowest of margins.

Second factory-team rider Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) also had a strong finish. He had qualified tenth, and spent most of the race in that position. In the last two laps, however, he got to the front of his group to finish eighth. The former 125cc and 250cc World Champion is also a former MotoGP winner at Brno.

The independent-team rookies finished in the same order that has prevailed for most of the season. Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) was the only one of the trio to score points, finishing 13th after a long pursuit of 12th-placed Jack Miller. It was the 2017 Moto2 World Champion’s return from injury, after missing the last two races, and he has scored points in every other race bar one.

Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V), last year’s Moto2 runner up, is still striving to open his points score, and he was frustrated again today, finishing 16th, less than five seconds down on the 15th that would have opened his account. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) was 17th, barely half a second down, after a difficult weekend. The Japanese rider was still suffering fatigue from his grueling outing in the prestigious Suzuka 8-Hours race, where he finished a very close second.

The 150th Honda-powered Moto2 race was an illustration of just how close and competitive racing can be, with all competitors supplied with identical CBR600 engines, and every little advantage very hard won. The two leaders changed places four times on the last lap alone, with the final change of lead coming on the exit of the very last corner.

The final dogfight of five riders became very slightly spread out in the closing stages, with  first-time pole qualifier Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) and Italian GP winner Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) fighting for the win. Marini led at the final bend, but Oliveira got a better drive to the flag, and took a second win of the year by 0.070 seconds.

It was a career-best result for Marini, half-brother of Rossi, after his maiden podium at the last round in Germany.

Less than half a second behind, long-time championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) crossed the line just ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex), who had worked his way through from tenth on the grid to lead from laps 13 to 15.

Cal Crutchlow

Cal Crutchlow

Oliveira’s win to Bagnaia’s third means the Portuguese rider takes over the title lead for the first time, by just two points.

Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) had been with the leading pack, dropping away by some 2.5 seconds at the finish, but saving fifth place from German GP winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM). In turn, the South African finished narrowly ahead of Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter), with Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) and Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors KTM) moving through to tag on close behind. Front-row starter Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) rounded out the top ten.

Team-mates Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) and fast rookie Joan Mir (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) were out of luck. Mir was eliminated in a first-lap crash, while Marquez – Marc’s younger brother – had moved back to a challenging fourth place when he slipped off unhurt on lap nine. It could prove costly for his title challenge. He still lies third, but 50 points behind leader Oliveira.

Honda riders rose to the top of a volatile Moto3 race, taking three of the top four positions, including first and second.

In the enforced absence of erstwhile championship leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW), injured on the first day of practice at Brno, it was his team-mate Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) who claimed an emotional career-first win.

The 19-year-old Italian was denied victory by a penalty in spite of crossing the line first at round five at Le Mans. At Brno, he fended off the fiercest of attacks in the closing stages of the 18-lap race. The last came from fellow Honda rider Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW), who crossed the line just over a tenth behind him.

Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) only narrowly missed the podium, after a canny race-long battle. The Italian bided his time in the middle of a huge pack, then unleashed his maximum over the closing stages, climbing from 12th at half distance to a hard-fought fourth.

The race was so close that mere tenths of a second made a big difference to the result. The top 15 points-scoring finishers crossed the line within 2.77 seconds; the top eight were covered by just 1.097 seconds.

Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) was the next-best Honda finisher, in tenth; less than four hundredths ahead of Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW).

Two more Honda men were in the points. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) had a heroic ride to 14th from the back of the grid: the 20-year-old from Chiba started from the back after a tumble in qualifying. Less than two tenths behind, Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) was 15th. Then came Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW), one position out of the points.

Martin watched the race from hospital in Spain after surgery to repair his broken left radius bone, but because his closest title rival Marco Bezzecchi was only sixth today, Martin is just three points adrift of the championship lead. Di Giannantonio is now third, 14 points behind Martin and four ahead of Canet.

MotoGP will spend one more day at Brno for an official group test before making the journey across the border to the Red Bull Ring for next Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Comments

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 3rd
“Our target for the weekend was to extend our lead in the championship, and we achieved that. We arrived here with a 46-point edge, and we leave with 49, which is very good. Already yesterday I was expecting that Lorenzo and Dovi would be the strongest opponents, maybe with Valentino, and they were all there today. I was ready to fight as well, but honestly it was difficult to fight against the two Ducatis as they had strong acceleration and braking stability. I tried but it wasn’t possible, so we took this positive third place. Today was my 100th race in MotoGP, and I used the experience that comes with that; if it had been my second or third MotoGP race, I probably would have tried for the win and either got it or crashed, but it was the 100th and I used wisdom. Third is my worst useable result this year, and I’m happy with it because we finished very close to the top at a track where we often struggle. I’m confident, as better tracks for us will come.”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 5th
“I wanted to get third place and have a bit of room to slide, but I had people right behind me. Lorenzo did a fantastic job today to come through and get where he got. I ran out of rear tire, so I couldn’t exit the corners like them [the leading three riders], I picked the bike up a lot, but it was the floating in the middle of the corner with a used rear tire; that was our problem. That seems to be the only difference between mine and Marc’s bike and we need to improve that. But we’re looking forward to Austria. My team did a fantastic job and so did Honda because this has never been a real strong track for Honda. We have to be pleased, to be in there in the battle, ahead of Dani which is one thing that is important to my team. We achieved a good result today, although I’m disappointed to miss the podium.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 8th
“I wasn’t comfortable on the bike and I wasn't able to exit fast from the corners, so I was trying to recover in the entries. I was doing kind of an elastic effect. Just at the end, when the other riders’ tires dropped and they couldn’t be so effective on acceleration, I was able to make a couple of passes. It’s not easy to ride that way, but tomorrow we have a test here and I hope we can work to be able to be faster on acceleration.”

Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 13th
“I’m happy to get this position today although I had to recover some positions after a poor start. I was actually a little scared on the opening lap with the behavior of some riders but then everything became calmer. In the second half of the race I just concentrated on holding my position behind Jack Miller. I was losing the front in some corners, so this is a good result on my comeback from injury.”

Thomas Luthi, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 16th
“It was a good race apart from a couple of mistakes I made on the first lap and then lost too much time behind Sylvain Guintoli to have a chance trying to be with Alex Espargaro who finished 15th. But my rhythm was consistent and I was closer to the top guys than in recent races so this was positive.”

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 17th
“I had a good start and a good position into turns one and two, but at turn three there was a crash ahead of me and no space. I had to brake and come together with Maverick Vinales. I was lucky to stay on the track, but I lost a lot of positions. After that our plan was to lap in the mid to high 57s, but I couldn’t keep that pace on all the laps so I tried to change the mapping and my riding style to improve the lap times, but unfortunately I couldn’t do that. I’m sorry for the team, because everybody tried to give me the best bike, but this weekend I found it difficult to adapt back to the MotoGP bike.”

Stefan Bradl, HRC Honda: DNF
“I was just braking into turn three with Vinales not far ahead when I felt a blow and then found myself in the gravel. I looked around and saw that also Bradley was involved in the incident. Honestly, I didn’t understand exactly what happened. It’s a real shame because I had got a very good start and I’m sure I would have been able to recover some positions. Unfortunately, I’ve got a lot of pain in my right shoulder. At the Medical Centre the examination luckily ruled out fractures, but the ligaments are quite stretched. We have to see tomorrow how I feel for the test.”

Moto2

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 1st
“It was a very fun race. From the start I understood that the pace wasn’t going to be very fast, so the key was to overtake and not lose much time. On the final laps I knew I had to be further up at the front, then when Baldassarri passed us all I thought I maybe had something extra up my sleeve. I suffered a bit of chatter and sliding, but I wanted to be up at the front. I tried to ride smoothly and without making mistakes, and on the last lap I knew that Marini was going for the win, but finally I managed the last laps well and I was able to finish first. I’m very happy; it is an important victory for us and we hope to continue like this. Our goal now is to continue enjoying ourselves and working well. We know there are things to improve with the bike, and we are working on it tirelessly to try to make the dream come true at the end of the year.”

Luca Marini, Sky Racing Team VR46: 2nd
“I‘m very happy: two podiums in a row and the first pole position of my career. I had fun, I made a lot of overtakes, the strategy studied with the team has paid off and even physically my feelings are much better. One last crazy lap, I tried everything to overtake Miguel, I had a very aggressive style even if it is not in my characteristics. The last corner I gave the maximum, but I made a mistake, I put the second gear and Miguel overtook me. I have to thank Pecco, for his help, all the technicians, mechanics, Sky and the VR46 Riders Academy because we are doing an incredible job and we are proving to be a great team.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Sky Racing Team VR46: 3rd
“It was a pity to lose the head of the Championship, but I’m happy with the podium after the Sachsenring race that did not end in the expected way. We worked a lot this weekend, I did not have the feeling I wanted on the front, I started to lose a lot of grip after a few laps, but this morning I tried a small change in the warm up and I managed to be competitive. We were all very close, Balda was very aggressive in overtaking and I lost a lot of time. I tried to keep the pace of those in front of me and tried to recover in braking. We have to continue in this direction and to be as consistent as the first part of the season. As a team we are growing, and I am very happy also for Luca.”

Moto3

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Del Conca Gresini Moto3: 1st
“We’ve been working for this for a long, long time. I am improving and growing up as a rider and we needed to show it on the track – well, we did it. We started the race with the idea to stay at the front, but the KTM bikes were very quick, so I had to rethink my strategy. I believed in my chances like never before and we did it. Jorge’s absence is surely a shame, I hope he’ll be back on the bike soon. I can say – even if it doesn’t sound nice to say – that I made the most of the opportunity to get back into the title fight. We’re all very close now, so we need to keep our heads down.”

Aron Canet, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 2nd
“You always want a little more, but once again I was able to fight for the victory from the start. The race was very tough. The strategy was also difficult to stick to, because our rivals had bikes that were very fast on the straight and it was hard to regain that ground later on. Finally I took second position, although I am somewhat unhappy because I think we could have taken the victory on the last corner. Di Giannantonio braked very late and trying a pass was a big risk. In any case, we are well placed in the overall standings.”

Enea Bastianini, Leopard Racing: 4th
“It was a really difficult race, unfortunately I did not start well in acceleration. I was back in the early stages and today wasn’t easy to overtake the whole long group: a moment you were in front, but immediately the other guys passed you again. In the end I tried to push to the limit: the fourth place finish is not too bad as a result but here I was aiming for more points. Now let’s grit the teeth and already focus on Austria!”

Results

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2018
Round 10: Czech Republic Race

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
2 Jorge LORENZO (Ducati Team)
3 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
5 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
6 Danilo PETRUCCI (Alma Pramac Racing)
7 Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
8 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
9 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Angel Nieto Team)
10 Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
11 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
12 Jack MILLER (Alma Pramac Racing)
13 Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
14 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
15 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
16 Thomas LUTHI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
17 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
18 Karel ABRAHAM (Angel Nieto Team)
19 Sylvain GUINTOLI(Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
20 Xavier SIMEON (Reale Avintia Racing)
RT Tito RABAT (Reale Avintia Racing)
RT Scott REDDING (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
RT Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
RT Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
RT Stefan BRADL(HRC Honda Team)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
3 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
4 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Pons HP40)
5 Xavi VIERGE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
6 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
7 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
8 Jorge NAVARRO (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
9 Sam LOWES (Swiss Innovative Investors)
10 Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
11 Fabio QUARTARARO (Boost - Speed Up Racing)
12 Augusto Fernandez(Pons HP40)
13 Iker LECUONA (Swiss Innovative Investors)
14 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
15 Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
16 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
17 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)
18 Joe ROBERTS (NTS RW Racing GP)
19 Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)
20 Khairul Idham PAWI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
21 Niki TUULI(Petronas Sprinta Racing )
22 Jules DANILO (Nashi Argan SAG Team)
23 Eric GRANADO (Forward Racing Team)
24 Sheridan MORAIS(Willi Race Racing Team)
RT Danny KENT (Boost - Speed Up Racing)
RT Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
RT Romano FENATI (Marinelli Snipers Team)
RT Stefano MANZI (Forward Racing Team)
RT Xavi CARDELUS(Team Stylobike)
RT Alejandro Medina (SAG Team)
RT Joan MIR (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
RT Bo BENDSNEYDER (Tech 3 Racing)
RT Remy GARDNER (Tech 3 Racing)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
2 Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
3 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
4 Enea BASTIANINI (Leopard Racing)
5 Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
6 Marco BEZZECCHI (Redox PruestelGP)
7 Marcos RAMIREZ (Bester Capital Dubai)
8 Philipp OETTL (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing)
9 Albert ARENAS (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
10 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
11 Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
12 Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
13 Kazuki MASAKI (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
14 Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
15 Tony ARBOLINO (Marinelli Snipers Team)
16 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT (Honda Team Asia)
17 Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)
18 Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
19 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
20 Andrea MIGNO (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
21 Vicente Perez(Reale Avintia Academy 77)
22 Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
23 Darryn BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
24 Filip Salac(Cuna de Campeones Czech Talent)
RT Adam NORRODIN (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
RT Stefano Nepa(CIP - Green Power)
RT John MCPHEE (CIP - Green Power)
RT Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)

Photos