Cal Crutchlow first Briton in 35 years to win MotoGP race
After a torrential Moto2 race at the Automotodrom Brno, it was the turn of the MotoGP machines to head out as the rain was just starting to stop – leaving the prospect of a flag-to-flag hanging over the race. In the end it wasn’t to be, and it was Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) who sliced through the field in one of the most spectacular victories in recent years, taking the flag to become the first British winner for 35 years. He also follows Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) into the history books as a winner with an independent team in 2016, with wet weather opening the door for many on the grid.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) completed the podium in a chaotic race, with the 9-time champion making a small gain on title rival Marquez as the two crossed the line in P2 and P3 respectively.
Polesitter Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) had the worst start off the front row as Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) swept past the championship leader, before both Movistar Yamaha riders Lorenzo and teammate Valentino Rossi began to drop through the field on the harder option rear tyre. Marquez played it safe to slot into the middle of the top ten as his title challengers suffered, as Iannone, teammate Dovizioso and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) escaped at the front.
Cal Crutchlow then proved the man on the charge, with a tyre combination of a hard front and hard rear coming into its own as the Brit charged from P15 to catch the front of the race in stunning style. Dovizioso suffered a tyre problem that saw him pull in, as Crutchlow fought to take over at the front on an incredible roll.
The softer tyre compounds of the frontrunners soon began to see them suffer, and it was Crutchlow leading the charge ahead of Valentino Rossi as the 9-time world champion suddenly clicked into gear and followed the Brit into the lead. The two, after seeming an almost lost cause after Lap 1 as they circulated well outside the top ten, proved unstoppable in their climb through the field and overcame what had seemed almost impossible to take the 1-2 on the harder option tyres.
Marc Marquez then chose his moment to fight back, taking Andrea Iannone and Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) in the squabble for the podium and protecting his title lead with a steady ride home behind Rossi. Now 53 points clear of Rossi, who took over in P2 in the title fight, Marquez has seen his lead grow through some of the most challenging races of the season – and ridden with a level head to make sure that was the case.
Late chargers as the tyre wear proved decisive saw Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) suddenly appear and overtake his teammate Hector Barbera for a career-best equaling P4, and Eugene Laverty (PULL&BEAR Aspar) join the fight as he overtook Iannone for P6.
Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) also overtook his compatriot Iannone to end the race in P7, with Iannone limping home on a worn front tyre, just ahead of Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who crossed the line in P9.
Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) kept his head to take his first top ten finish in MotoGP, ahead of Yonny Hernandez (PULL&BEAR Aspar). Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) had a tough race to come home in P12, with old rival Jorge Lorenzo suffering the worst in Brno as the title contender suffered with a front tyre problem.
Lorenzo fell backwards through the field in the early laps like teammate Rossi, and when he got back on the pace proved to be one of the fastest out there – also like teammate Rossi. With 7 laps to go the ‘Spartan’ then seemed to make the shocking decision to come into the pits to change bikes, but later revealed the front tyre on the first bike was too damaged to continue. The Mallorcan headed back out in the race for a lap on the second bike in order to not simply retire, before switching back to his first machine with different front rubber and trying to salvage a better finish.
Next up? Silverstone, as Crutchlow heads back to his home track for the British GP.
MotoGP Race Results
Cal Crutchlow (GBR) HONDA 44’44.290
Valentino Rossi (ITA) YAMAHA + 7.298
Marc Marquez (SPA) HONDA + 9.587
Folger takes faultless wet win
Dynavolt Intact GP rider Jonas Folger has taken an incredible win in torrential conditions at the Automotodrom Brno, taking his first win in more than a year. Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) and Sam Lowes (Gresini Racing Moto2) completed the podium in P2 and P3 respectively, both taking a chunk out of championship leader Johann Zarco’s (Ajo Motorsport) lead as the title defender crossed the line in only eleventh place.
Folger took the lead by sweeping round the outside into Turn 1, and the German was simply unstoppable for the rest of the race. With one small wobble the only drama for the Dynavolt Intact rider, he managed the gap to perfection to cross the line for his first win in 2016, ahead of his graduation to MotoGP™ next season.
Alex Rins had a stunning turnaround in the wet on race day, as the Spaniard took a solid P2 after having struggled so much more in the dry in Brno. The ride to the podium cut the gap to title leader Zarco by 15 points, keeping the championship in the balance in the second half of the season.
Sam Lowes also benefitted from the wet in Brno, as the Brit impressed with a calm ride to complete the podium. With Zarco having such a difficult day at the office, Lowes was able to capitalize – along with Rins – to keep his title hopes alive.
There was drama on the final lap as Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) collided, with Cortese unable to collect his top 5 finish after an impressive ride through the field, and Pasini crossing the line in fourth.
Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) had a fantastic ride into P5, as the Spaniard converted his front row start into a top five finish. Marquez, who slotted through Turn 1 impressively on the inside off the line, fought with the front before choosing a solid finish at the flag, calm under pressure as he rebuilds his confidence with another top result. Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) made good on his nickname of “the Fish” to finish in P6, ahead of Leopard Racing’s Danny Kent in P7 after both moved up the timesheets in the wet.
Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) crossed the line in P8 after taking less risks than those that saw him crash out of contention in the wet German GP, with the second Leopard Racing machine of Miguel Oliveira crossing the line in ninth.
The man in tenth place was Anthony West (Montaze Broz Racing Team), who went from last row on the grid into the top ten – as a wildcard – in one of the most stunning displays of the day.
Moto2 Race Results
Jonas Folger (GER) KALEX 45’30.342
Alex Rins (SPA) KALEX +5.175
Sam Lowes (GBR) KALEX +9.021
Immaculate McPhee shows his wet weather prowess
Peugeot MC Saxoprint rider John McPhee has won the Moto3 race at the Automotodrom Brno, as the Scot had a calm, collected and almost faultless ride to the flag as his rivals fell away. Championsip leader Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) crashed out of the lead with 4 laps to go, before podium contender Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia) also ended up in the gravel in a dramatic change for the race in the final few laps.
Binder kept the lead off the line, before losing places on a cautious first lap as Jorge Martin (PULL&BEAR Aspar Mahindra) took the lead and set off trying to make a gap, with a breakaway group of Martin, Binder, McPhee and Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) heading off from the pack.
As Binder upped the pace McPhee stayed calm in P2, before that proved the perfect strategy as the South African crashed out of the lead.It took Malaysian rider Khairul Idham Pawi – winner in the wet in Argentina and Germany – until 14 laps to go to get to the front of the chasing group, before crashing out of podium contention close to the end of the race. The Malaysia had gained 25 places from his grid position.
McPhee stayed calm and continued his solid pace at the front as he inherited the lead, until an almost-highside saw the Scot out the seat and desperately hanging onto his bike. Saving the moment and retaining the lead, the Brit kept his head and rode through a faultless last lap to cross the line for his first Moto3 win.
Jorge Martin (PULL&BEAR Aspar Mahindra) had a drama-free ride to P2 as those around him pushed too hard, taking his first podium in some of the most difficult conditions in the season so far. The Spaniard led early before letting others take the risk; a strategy that paid off at the flag.
Fabio DiGiannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) was the rookie star of the race, as the Italian completed the podium after originally moving through the field following wet weather expert Pawi. Keeping his own pace and his head, the Italian took another podium in his rookie year as he crossed the line ahead of his more experienced teammate – Enea Bastianini.
Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold), last year’s winner, completed the top five ahead of Czech rider Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing) in a great home result of P6. Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was seventh in an impressive rookie display, ahead of fellow rookies Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46).
Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) completed the top ten to gain some points back on Brad Binder in the title fight, but had been further up the field until the final stages. The gap between the two now sees the South African clear of his Spanish rival by 61 points.
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