Given the iffy weather conditions at Brno, I had a feeling the race was going to be a brilliantly chaotic event. I was so wrong.
Sure, Marquez had once again dominated in Practice and Qualifying, but the half-rain/half-sorta-rain conditions also saw Zarco lever himself onto the front row in third (the first KTM in history to have that happen to it), with Jack Miller in second after a brave qualifying performance.
Then it rained just after Moto2 finished. Then it stopped, leaving the track in a strange and perilous state. Turns 13 and 14 were wet. Turn One was wet. Half the grid spots were damp, the other half were dry. The rest of the track was dry.
The race was declared wet.
As the teams scrambled around the grid swapping tyres, Rossi, who heads the Rider Safety Phalanx, went over to Carmelo Ezpeleta and told him, with some Italian arm-waving, how this was all going to go down.
The now 20-lap race was duly delayed for 45 minutes.
Which allowed a) Iannone to wonder how he’d managed to qualify in last place behind Tito Rabat; and b) for Franco Uncini to get about 400,000-odd Safety Car laps in.
I think delaying the race was the right call. People who don’t think it was the right call clearly lack the wit to understand what will certainly happen when a bunch of slick-shod 300hp motorcycles enter a wet Turn One. It’s not a matter of balls. It’s a matter of brains.
When the race finally got underway, it very quickly became apparent Uncini putting the Safety Car sideways was to be the most exciting thing that happened that round.
Marquez made it to Turn One first and then stayed there until the end of the race.
He was joined by Dovi in second, Miller in third and Rins in fourth. Which is how they finished, all about a second apart.
Behind them Crutchlow battled heroically to avoid eating Czech gravel and brought it home in fifth, followed by Rossi and Quartararo.
It was all very processional.
Zarco rode stoically backwards to finish in 14th after starting in third. Displaying true Napoleonic “I’m a gonna invade Russia!” genius, he actually managed to ride from third to 18th in just eight laps.
Vinales was also right back to his usual form. He started in ninth and finished in 10th. He and his old enemy, Oliveira, relived their antagonism from the lesser classes, but Maverick did eventually assert his dominance and passed both him, Bagnaia and Asparagus P.
Morbidelli and Mir saw themselves off, with a bit of help from Zarco in the first lap, while the soon-to-be-unemployed Syahrin, waited a few laps before also limping back to the change-rooms.
There were a few lacklustre passes – Rins did Miller, then Miller did Rins. Rossi passed Espargaro, who was also slowly riding backwards through the field, and Crutchlow passed both him and Rossi and didn’t crash as a result. Even Quartararo didn’t seem to be his usual fabulous self, content to finish behind Rossi in seventh.
At the sharp-end, Marquez was indomitable. Again. A ruthless metronome of conquest.
The entire championship, I feel, is about beating him. Or not beating him, as it turns out. Everyone seems to be coming to terms with that – you can tell by their humourless, empty eyes and strained press conferences – except maybe Fabulous Quartararo, who’s making a bit of a name for himself with Rossi’s old bike. But even he has to be wondering about Marquez at races like Brno.
What is it going to take to beat the Spaniard, who now seems to be almost toying with the field?
No-one has the answer for this, though there’s all kinds of hopes bursting forth from the test that followed the Brno round (Test Report Here – Link). So 2020 might be something to look forward to for them. The rest of us are simply going to have to get used to Marquez looking back over his shoulder on the last lap, with his five hundred smiling teeth glinting from behind his helmet.
This weekend they’re all off to the high-speed Red Bull Ring in Austria, a track where Ducati has ruled.
It’s entirely possible that reign has also come to an end.
Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.
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