With the signing of Cal Crutchlow for another year with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad, before the Czech GP even got started it was turning the page on another chapter of the MotoGP silly season. The racing too would prove to be pivotal to the Championship. A mix of good and bad weather during the week, Brno would prove to be a dry race, despite hosting a wet warm-up session.
With Dani Pedrosa on form all through Free Practice, the Spaniard’s off in qualifying took him off a step, as he had to ride his “B” bike, which suffered from more chatter. Despite Cal Crutchlow placing second on the grid for the race, the Brit noted what everyone already knew: Sunday’s race would be between Pedrosa and Lorenzo — and he was right.
Separating from the pack early-on, Sunday’s race was defined by an on-the-track game of chess, as Pedrosa stalked Lorenzo in the early part of the race until he made his move. With 11 laps to go in the race, Pedrosa easily passed his rival, but Lorenzo answered. Getting a chance to see Pedrosa’s pace, both riders seemed ready for a duel to the finish, which finally came to a head in the final lap. A miracle pace by Lorenzo, and perfect setup by Pedrosa — answer and respond — the race came down to the final turns, with Pedrosa capitalizing on Lorenzo’s desperate final maneuvers.
The race may only mean five points lost by Jorge Lorenzo, but it also signals the gathering of steam of Dani Pedrosa. Leading only by 13 points now, Lorenzo’s Championship bid is certain to come down to the final race at Valencia, with the only x-factor being the return of Casey Stoner at some point.
With the rest of the race being mostly a procession, the big news was the crash from Ben Spies. Overheating his clutch at the start, Spies relinquished his fourth place position, as he came off the racing line and looked down at his bike. Getting things back together on the second lap, the factory Yamaha rider had to make his way thru the CRT bikes to get back up to the satellite prototypes. Once free with open track in front of him, Spies laid down the hammer, but over-estimated his pace as he low-sided himself out of another race.
Also struggling during the day was Valentino Rossi, whose bike was spewing oil through the exhaust and onto its foot controls. Hampering the nine-time World Champion, Rossi said he could have contended with the satellite Hondas better, had the oil issue not happened, though with his tires going off rather quickly into the race, seventh was likely as best as the Ducati-rider could achieve.
MotoGP takes three weeks off, and returns September 16th to race at Misano for the San Marino GP.
Race Results from the Czech GP at Brno, Czech Republic:
|1||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||42’51.570|
|2||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||+0.178|
|3||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+12.343|
|4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+18.591|
|5||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||+25.582|
|6||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||+29.451|
|7||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+34.514|
|8||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||+1’04.285|
|9||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Cardion AB Motoracing||Ducati||+1’08.278|
|10||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||+1’09.972|
|11||Toni ELIAS||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||+1’10.003|
|12||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Avintia Blusens||BQR||+1’24.040|
|13||Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||Suter||+1’27.898|
|14||Michele PIRRO||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||FTR||+1’36.165|
|15||James ELLISON||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||+1’40.565|
|16||Mattia PASINI||ITA||Speed Master||ART||+1’41.226|
|17||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda||1 Lap|
|Ivan SILVA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||BQR||13 Laps|
|Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||14 Laps|
Source: MotoGP; Photo: Honda