Brno MotoGP Images Gallery B
Brno MotoGP Images Gallery B – Images by AJRN
Lorenzo and Rossi now tied on points
Unstoppable Lorenzo emerges triumphant in the Battle of Brno to lead championship standings
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 5th 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 42˚C. 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 tyre 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.
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, and continuing his run of having finished on the podium at every race this season.
Jorge Lorenzo – P1 – “I didn’t need to push at the end, so this was not a perfect race, because I could have been a little bit faster. I had a margin, not enough to be comfortable but enough to risk less. I pushed so much at the beginning of the race and I gave my maximum to escape from Marc, who stayed behind me for a lot of laps. I expected the race to be a little bit quicker at the beginning and to be riding 1’55,9, but with a full fuel tank, and also after the Moto2 the track seemed to have a little less grip, it was not possible. Luckily for me after a few laps I started to brake better with less fuel in the tank and enter corners faster than before. I improved my times only by one tenth of a second, but it gave me a 0,6s advantage in one lap and that went up to one second and I was able to get away little by little and win the race.”
Marc Marquez – P2 – “Today Jorge rode a very good race. We knew we were not far off him, but we were not close enough and we tried to stick with him, at least at the beginning of the race. After six or seven laps I began to lose performance and he was able maintain his pace. That’s where the difference was made. We achieved the goal we had for today: to try and open a gap to Valentino and the others from the start so I’m happy about that. When we have difficulties, as we did this weekend, we still have to score points. I think that this second position is good.”
Valentino Rossi – P3 – “This weekend Jorge always rode very fast, but at the same time I had hoped to be closer and that I was able to stay with Marc, because during the practices my pace was not so bad. Unfortunately I wasn’t fast and strong enough and also my rhythm was quite slow. It’s true that I had a bad start and lost time, but that was not the problem, I simply didn’t have a good enough rhythm and that’s a shame. I expected Brno to be difficult, because it had been difficult for the last few years, but I expected a better race, so we have to understand why and try to be stronger at the next races. It’s unbelievable that after eleven races Jorge and I are on the same level of points. It’s difficult, because it looks like Jorge came back very strong after the break and he is in a great shape, but we will have to keep trying.”
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone (+13.071s) finished in fourth as he 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 9th on the grid. With 6 laps remaining, he caught Iannone and Dovizioso who were involved in a fight of their own and were 4th and 5th 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).
Andrea Iannone – P4 – “Today we have to be optimistic about the result because I believe I did the best I could do. It was a race in which I could have fought for the podium and so we really have to find out what happened, seeing as my engine didn’t have as much sprint as it did during the rest of the weekend. I was losing a lot on the straights and so I had to make up time by pushing too hard with the braking. In any case I am pleased to have obtained this result despite the problem, because it means that we have reached an excellent set-up on my GP15. Together with the team we have been able to improve the bike in each session and we have done an incredible job. Finally we are back to being competitive again and this gives us a lot of motivation for the next few races.”
Dani Pedrosa – P5 – “Today I did not make a perfect start, but it was not that bad. However, when I entered the first corner Hernandez went very hard up the inside and I had to pick the bike up. I was able to save it but when I leant back over, coming out of the corner, his teammate caught up and also moved me off my line, so I lost positions and a lot of time. My pace was not as good as this morning and I did not have as good a feeling with the bike due to some problems with the front. It was hard for me to recover but eventually I caught up with Dovizioso and Iannone. The Ducatis are hard to overtake – on the straight they are very fast – but I managed to pass Dovi on the final lap. It’s been a difficult weekend, even though today I could work better thanks to the physiotherapist and some medication.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P6 – “I am quite satisfied with how the race went today because before the start I didn’t have a great feeling with my GP15 and I was quite some way off the race pace. However we must find out how to improve the front because the bike does not turn the way we would like it to: this is a big handicap because I am not able to push hard, and that is what happened to me today in the race. Next week we will be testing at Misano which will surely also be useful to try and solve these problems.”
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 7th. 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 ten.
Bradley Smith – P7 – “It’s a good achievement to finish as the top satellite bike again and the result concludes a positive weekend for us in the Czech Republic. Having said that, it is quite frustrating to finish 21 seconds behind the leader but this seems to be our level at the moment. All weekend the team has done a fantastic job and I really enjoyed fighting for the front row in qualifying yesterday. In the race today we took a bit of a gamble due to the hot weather conditions and I rode the medium front tyre and when I was following the Ducati riders at the beginning, I overheated it slightly, which caused me to drop back a bit. However, from the halfway point onwards, I felt more comfortable. It seems that we lose too much time at the start and so this is the weakest point. It is limiting us a little but despite that, I know that the guys are working really hard to find any kind of solution. Another positive is that I extended my lead over Pol in the championship standings, plus I didn’t lose too many points to Dovizioso. We’re fifth and we will continue to fight as hard as possible to remain in that position so I am super excited about continuing this run at my home GP.”
Pol Espargaro – P8 – “Of course, I can’t be completely satisfied with today’s result, but compared to the race in Indianapolis we finally made a good step forward as we completely made up the gap to Bradley. We were able to improve the behaviour of the bike in the braking areas as well as the turning which was where I was stronger than my teammate today. Unfortunately, we are still lacking rear grip and I’m quite surprised that the other riders don’t seem to face the same difficulties. However I’m convinced that if we can solve this issue then we will be able to ride a lot faster. Therefore, we have still plenty of work ahead of us, but it has definitely been a productive day and we were able to draw some positive conclusions which should help us to make further steps forward during the next races. In addition, another encouraging point of the weekend was that I moved up one position in the championship standings and I’m keen to collect another top result at Silverstone to boost my placement further.”
Aleix Espargaro – P9 – “I cannot say I’m happy with the weekend because once again I struggled to find a good feeling with the bike. It is positive that we finished the race and I got into the points, but overall we still need to work a lot harder. I feel disappointed, not only for the result, which is under our expectations, but most of all because I cannot understand why we can’t find the good confidence we had in the first part of the season any more. After six or seven laps, when the tyre drops in performance, I can’t keep the corner-speed and the back-end slides a lot under acceleration. My pace was too slow and we must investigate and understand why we are not performing as we did before.”
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).
Scott Redding – P12 – “It was another difficult weekend and in the race I was struggling to keep the speed. I feel so on the limit I don’t know where to push to find more time. The group in front can pull away easily and although it was another tough race I tried my best. I passed Yonny on the penultimate lap but made a mistake and he got back through. The longer we go without any results the more frustrating it is getting, My home race Silverstone is next and hopefully my previous success there, and a big home crowd can spur me on. We are certainly not going to give up.”
Alvaro Bautista – P13 – “This was a hard but fun race. I had a good start, but on the first lap I lost the advantage I had gained. So I set my pace. At the beginning I was struggling a bit to stop the bike but lap after lap the situation improved. I had a lot of riders in front of me and that complicated matters. I enjoyed overtaking but the fact that I had the pace to make a play for eleventh place leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Our work keeps going. Even during the warmup a small change helped me to find more feeling with the bike over race distance. I would like to thank my team for all of their help on such a demanding weekend.”
Stefan Bradl – P14 – “I think the team can be very happy with our result today. I had set the goal of being faster in the race than I was at Indianapolis and I was successful, plus it was fun battling with Bautista. I was able to stay ahead of Bautista for quite a few laps and then toward the end he managed to overtake me with a clean move: he earned the spot ahead of me. The team is working well and I hope we’ll be able to continue like this to further improve our race performance. In qualifiers I am able to get the most out of the bike for a few flying laps, but our priority is still to improve race performance. Today we took a step forward even if the bike became more difficult to ride in the second half of the race. In the last two laps I was also feeling pain in my injured wrist, but despite everything we managed to bring home a nice result.”
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.
Loris Baz – P15 – “It was a really tough race, but I’m satisfied with the result. We made some small changes just before the race and I managed to stay in the fight all the time with my rivals in the Open category. I can only thank one by one to all the guys: we found ourselves in a difficult situation, but everyone continued to work at his very best. I went on track convinced I could do well and the victory is the only way to thank them for what they did.”
Nicky Hayden – P17 – “It was a tough race at the end of a tough weekend. We made a small change to the bike this morning that gave us more grip and my pace was pretty good on used tyres. I’d say I made my best start and best first lap of the season, making up five positions, and my fastest lap was the fourteenth fastest of the race but I couldn’t stay in the 1’58s, where I needed to be. The grip was really poor and the bike was sliding around a lot. Barberá tried to escape but I pushed hard to catch him and was finally able to make a move with five or six laps to go. At that point the pace was pretty good but I made a mistake in turn nine and then got my braking wrong into turn ten. Barberá and Baz came past, I didn’t realise there were two of them, and I tried to race them to the finish but the grip was gone. It’s a shame because we had the Open victory in sight almost until the end of the race but it wasn’t to be.”
Jack Miller recovered from an off-track excursion and grip issues late in the race to take a hard-fought nineteenth-placed finish in today’s Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno.
The CWM LCR Honda youngster did well not to go down himself when another rider crashed in front of him on the fifth lap but after running wide and returning to the track he quickly recovered the lost ground.
After making one pass the Australian youngster was hot on the heels of the riders in front of him but lost feeling in the latter stages of the race and needed to ride a mature final few laps to bring it home.
Jack Miller – P19 – “I didn’t have the best start but I was getting into a rhythm when Eugene (Laverty) crashed in front of me and I had to avoid him. I really pushed to try and close the gap to Baz and once I got past Di Meglio I was really doing it. I started putting together a good race rhythm but after I pushed for five or six laps the bike started to feel a bit shaky. It was spinning up a lot so I had to back off and bring it home. I couldn’t do anything to stop Di Meglio coming back past me, the bike was wheelying on the straight and I couldn’t brake how I wanted. It’s a bit of a shame but I am happy-ish with today because we got some good time on the bike, learnt a lot and now we can look forward to the test tomorrow.”
Claudio Corti – P20 – “I expected more from the race, but overall I’m happy with how the weekend went. It was important to do kilometres and finish the race after retiring in my opening event at the Sachsenring. I am confident and I am convinced that at Silverstone we will be closer to the other Open bikes. Well done to Loris for the win, it is a major achievement for the whole team.”
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.
Cal Crutchlow – DNF – “I’m very disappointed with today’s race. First and foremost I want to say sorry to the team because I made a mistake in the race and crashed. We have not been feeling comfortable with our package all weekend and we’ve tried hard to improve it but even in the race I had a lot of difficulty trying to maintain the pace I needed to set. Tomorrow we have a test here, which will be important because the next round is my home Grand Prix at Silverstone and we need to make some improvements before we go there. All in all we feel disappointed right now but hopeful that things will be better next time.”
Maverick Viñales – DNF – “Of course on one side I am disappointed because I crashed and couldn’t finish the race, but on the other side I am really happy because I was very close to the top, only less than 20 seconds from the leader with only six laps to go; and this is incredible and a big-step forward for us. We know how much we lose with the lack of horsepower and therefore the other aspects of the machine are performing very well. Today I tried to push very hard and finally crashed but these are things that happen in racing. I’m proud of the work I’ve done with my crew, I also want to thank all of them, because we are finding a very positive approach to the race that makes me feel totally comfortable. This is one of the reasons why I feel at ease in trying to push more, the first part of the season was devoted to get acquainted with the bike and now it’s time to be more daring. I made a positive start, improving my performance in the early laps, and my race-pace was closer to what we deserve, finally fighting with other factory riders. The crash is all part of the game, luckily I had no injuries and it gave me some more points of reference for the future. Today I was pushing and I crashed, maybe the next time I will push again but without crashing. This has been the best weekend since my start in MotoGP™, I have the feeling that we are becoming stronger and stronger and this gives me further motivation.”
Eugene Laverty – DNF – “When I crashed Jack [Miller] ran into me so I was lucky to come out uninjured, which is at least something positive. In Q1 yesterday we had a faulty tyre and I knew something wasn’t right from the start today. I pushed during the warm-up lap to see if it was the tyre and it was sliding a lot. It is strange because the Bridgestones are usually so consistent and I have never had a problem with them before. The crash was a shame but we can’t do anything about it now, just keep working. The team have done a great job developing the bike over the past two races and I’d like to be talking about good results at the end of the race rather than sounding like I’m making excuses. A few races ago we were a little lost but this is my first season in MotoGP and I am still getting to know this bike. Now our feeling with it is much better and I hope I can prove it soon.”
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.
Dominant Zarco takes 4th Moto2 win of the season
Ajo Motorsports Johann Zarco extended his lead in the Moto2 World Championship standings after taking his fourth victory of the season at the bwin Grand Prix České republiky. Zarco eventually crossed the line 1.421s ahead of Tito Rabat on the EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex, with Paginas Amarillas HP40’s rookie Alex Rins (+1.785s) completing the podium.
The sun had come out for the Moto2 race with track temperatures reaching 38˚C at the iconic Automotodrom Brno but it was Zarco who would shine in front of the passionate Czech fans. The Frenchman took the lead on just the second lap and after Rabat had a huge moment at turn 9, he went onto open up a 1-second lead at the front. Zarco managed this gap perfectly to take the race win and extend his lead in the Moto2 standings to 79 points.
Rabat crossed the line in second, after a great start that saw him lead into the first corner. The Spaniard then lost at least three-tenths of a second after his near highside at turn 9 and try as he might, he simply could not make any meaningful dent into Zarco’s lead. Rabat looked comfortable through the race, but found himself coming under the attention of Rins on the final lap. Rins had chosen the harder rear tyre, and appeared to have better grip as the riders worked their way through the final few corners. It looked like he was lining up a move into the final chicane, but Rabat managed to hold him off to cross the line 0.364s ahead of his compatriot. This meant that Rabat moves up to second in the championship standings at the expense of Rins.
Rabat’s teammate Alex Marquez (+2.608s) completed his best result of the season in fourth. The reigning Moto3 World Champion beating his previous best placed finishes of 8th at Jerez and Assen after an excellent battle early on with his old Moto3 rival Rins.
Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes (+7.844s) recovered from having to start in 13th to finish in 5th. The British rider experienced technical issues in Qualifying and was forced to fight his way through the pack during the race in a case of damage limitation to secure 11 championship points.
AGR Team’s Jonas Folger (8.056s) finished in sixth, ahead of the Derendinger Racing Interwetten Kalex of Thomas Luthi in seventh. Luthi had actually led the race on the first lap, but found himself dropping back through the field as the race progressed.
Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Luis Salom (Paginas Amarillas HP40), and Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing team) completed the top ten. Robin Mulhauser, Lorenzo Baldassari, Florian Alt, Louis Rossi and Xavi Vierge all recorded DNF’s.
Zarco (224pts) now leads the Moto2 championship standings by 71 points from Tito Rabat (145pts), with Alex Rins (144pts) in third.
Antonelli claims maiden Moto3 victory
Ongetta-Rivacold’s Niccolo Antonelli claimed his maiden Moto3 victory in a exhilarating 12–lap race after the original was red flagged. The Italian took the race win by just 0.152s from Gresini Racing Team Moto3’s Enea Bastianini, with Brad Binder completing the podium on the Red Bull KTM Ajo.
There were dramatic scenes at the legendary Automotodrom Brno as the original race saw two four-rider crashes, with the second resulting in the red flag being shown. The first incident occurred at turn 1 and involved Tatsuki Suzuki, Niklas Ajo, Phillip Oettl and Jules Danilo. The second was a turn 3 and saw Andrea Locatelli, Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Gabriel Rodrigo and Hiroki Ono crash. Rodrigo and Ono were taken to the Medical Centre for checks on their left leg and right foot respectively, with Rodrigo being taken to Brno Hospital for further checks and both riders missing the restart. Ajo and Locatelli also failed to re-take their starting spots on the grid.
The re-started race saw a number of riders switch to the soft tyre option due to the reduced length. The race itself was a frantic sprint which saw 11 riders break away at the front and open up a 2 second gap after the first 7 laps. There were incredibly dramatic scenes as at times riders were eight abreast entering into corners, and the lead swapped hands multiple times between Antonelli, Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder, Danny Kent and Efren Vazquez.
Antonelli took the lead with 2 laps remaining and didn’t look back, going on to claim his first GP victory, and his first podium finish on his 62nd attempt. His compatriot Bastianini fought his way back from 15th on the grid to claim second. South African Brad Binder had been dicing for the lead the entire race, but had to settle for third, 0.376s behind the winner.
Leopard Racing’s Efren Vazquez (+0.540s) crossed the line in fourth, ahead of the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda of Jorge Navarro (+0.560s). Romano Fenati (+0.821s) on the SKY Racing Team VR46 KTM had a brilliant race to finish in sixth. The Italian had to claw his way through the field after starting from 22nd due to receiving a 3-place penalty from Race Direction for riding slowly on the racing line during Qualifying. On lap 6 he was up to eighth, and was in second on the final lap before dropping back to sixth in the last few corners.
Championship leader Danny Kent (Leopard Racing) looked like he was managing the race superbly from the middle of the leading group. Unfortunately contact with Navarro on the penultimate lap knocked the British rider out of his rhythm and he could only manage to finish in seventh.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), local hero Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC), and Scottish rider John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG) completed the top ten.
Remy Gardner – P17 – “I’ve finished just one second behind the 14th position after battling in the second race group during the race. My pace was not so bad but it’s been difficult to keep close to first riders of my group. This is the second race in a row battling for the points and this shows our consistency and progression. Let’s keep working on this way”.
Fabio Quartararo, Isaac Viñales, Karel Hanika and Jules Danilo crashed out on just the second lap, with the latter two managing to re-join to finish 26th and 27th respectively. Alexis Masbou and Kevin Hanus also recorded DNF’s.
Kent (199pts) still tops the Moto3 standings but his lead over Bastianini (154pts) has been reduced to 41 points with 7 races remaining. Fenati remains in third with 122 points.