MotoGP: Last-Lap Thriller at the Czech GP

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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:

Pos. Rider Nation Team Bike Time
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
Not Classified
Ivan SILVA SPA Avintia Blusens BQR 13 Laps
Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha 14 Laps

Source: MotoGP; Photo: Honda