The MotoGP™ classes treated fans to some exciting racing this weekend at the bwin Grand Prix České republiky in Brno with Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa storming to a thrilling victory in the premier-class ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow, opening up the championship race once more.
Despite dark clouds looming, the track was dry, much to the delight of riders and fans, and it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo who got the holeshot off the line, holing off Pedrosa and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow. Yamaha’s Ben Spies looked to continue his bad luck as he dropped back drastically after a few corners with a slipping clutch. This left Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi to chase down Crutchlow in third.
With 17 laps to go, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl was involved in a tight battle with San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, with the German taking the Spaniard for sixth after dicing for numerous turns. Meanwhile, Spies looked to have re-found his stride with the issue sorted, and was fighting his way back through the pack after dropping down to 13th. Three laps later, Bradl was dicing with Rossi for fifth place, getting the better of the Italian after a few attempts. On the same lap, Spies’ race came to an end after he crashed out of his charge.
Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva suffered a technical issue with 12 laps remaining, while Lorenzo and Pedrosa were neck and neck at the front of the race, having pulled out a significant gap over Crutchlow. On the same lap Bautista overtook Rossi, whose Desmosedici looked to be slowing. A lap later Pedrosa sparked some life into the battle at the front, as he got past Lorenzo on the inside, though the Mallorcan continued to stick to his rear wheel.
On the last lap it was MotoGP racing at its best with Lorenzo forcing his way past Pedrosa with a tough move, with the Repsol Honda rider fighting back almost immediately, and the two almost neck-and-neck into the final turn. With Pedrosa on the better line coming into the final turn, he got the best drive to the line to take his third victory of the season.
Crutchlow recorded his own milestone by taking his first ever podium in the MotoGP class, and ending a 12-year premier-class podium drought for a British rider. It was a fitting way to celebrate his contract extension with the team this weekend. Pedrosa’s win has moved him to within 13 points of Lorenzo and blown the championship race wide open at the top. Fourth spot went to Dovizioso, in front of Bradl, Bautista, Rossi and Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet who finished top CRT. Cardion AB Racing’s local rider Karel Abraham and De Puniet’s teammate Aleix Espargaró completed the top ten.
Race Result – Round 12
1 Dani Pedrosa 42’51.570 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo +0.178 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
3 Cal Crutchlow +12.343 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
4 Andrea Dovizioso +18.591 ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Stefan Bradl +25.582 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
6 Alvaro Bautista +29.451 SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
7 Valentino Rossi +34.514 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
8 Randy De Puniet +1’04.285 FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
9 Karel Abraham +1’08.278 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
10 Aleix Espargaro +1’09.972 ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
11 Toni Elías +1’10.003 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
12 Yonny Hernandez +1’24.040 COL BQR-FTR BQR
13 Colin Edwards +1’27.898 USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
14 Michele Pirro +1’36.165 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
15 James Ellison +1’40.565 GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
16 Mattia Pasini +1’41.226 ITA ART Speed Master
17 Danilo Petrucci +1 lap ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
18 Ivan Silva DNF SPA BQR-FTR BQR
19 Ben Spies DNF USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
20 Casey Stoner DNS AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
1 Jorge Lorenzo 245 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
2 Dani Pedrosa 232 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Casey Stoner 186 pts AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Andrea Dovizioso 150 pts ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Cal Crutchlow 122 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Stefan Bradl 105 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
7 Alvaro Bautista 102 pts SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
8 Valentino Rossi 100 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Nicky Hayden 84 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Ben Spies 66 pts USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
11 Hector Barbera 60 pts SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
12 Aleix Espargaro 45 pts ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
13 Randy De Puniet 41 pts FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
14 Karel Abraham 25 pts CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
15 Yonny Hernandez 21 pts COL BQR-FTR BQR
It was Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez who took a stunning win in a close-fought Moto2™ race at the bwin Grand Prix České republiky in Brno in front of Tom Lüthi and Pol Espargaró.
The track had dried out sufficiently to be declared a dry race, with Interwetten-Paddock’s Lüthi making the best of the conditions at the start taking the lead early on ahead of Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Espargaró and Márquez. Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding’s race was unfortunately ended very early, as the Brit crashed out after three turns.
It was Márquez who made his intentions known early on as he fought past his compatriot into second. Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone, not wishing the leading trio to pull away, overtook Came IodaRacing Project’s Simone Corsi with 17 laps to go, pushing past Espargaró shortly after. With track conditions still not ideal after the wet track before, riders were tentative to make rash moves, leading to uncharacteristically cautions racing. Eight laps before the end however Espargaró sized up Iannone and took him on the inside, as further down the grid Tech 3 Racing’s Xavier Siméon and Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Gino Rea both crashed out.
As Márquez looked for a way past Lüthi, Espargaró went past him into second, although was taken straight back. He was subsequently ordered to drop a place, after being sighted for passing under a yellow flag. Espargaró did however not see the pit board instantly, yet Iannone helped him by passing him with four laps remaining. This ignited an entertaining battle between the pair, as Lüthi lost the lead to Márquez. The dice for fifth place was also gaining momentum a few laps before the end with JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis swapping positions frequently.
The final lap was a thrilling affair with Lüthi and Espargaró desperate for the lead, with Iannone mixing it up as well. The Swiss rider looked to be lining up a move in the final turn, yet did not have enough drive on to the straight, meaning it was Márquez who took the chequered flag, with Lüthi and Espargaró completing the rostrum. Márquez now holds a 48-point lead at top of the championship standings in front of Espargaró. Fourth spot went to Iannone, followed by Corsi, De Angelis, Zarco, Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio and Pons’ Esteve Rabat.
In an enthralling Moto3™ race at the bwin Grand Prix České republiky in Brno it was Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger who held his nerve in drying conditions to take victory in front of Luis Salom and Sandro Cortese.
Despite no rain falling it was declared a wet race from the start, with most of the riders opting for slick tyres as a dry line was forming quickly. It was AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin who got the holeshot, yet it was JHK T-Shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez, on wet tyres, who soon took the lead on the still very damp track. With 18 laps left he was however being chased down by Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger, who had made his way into second.
It was two laps later that Folger, on slicks, pushed past for the lead, as the ever-drying track was causing Vázquez problems. Behind the two, Mahindra Racing’s local replacement for the injured Danny Webb, Miroslav Popov, Redox-Ongetta-Centro Seta’s Jakub Kornfeil and Racing steps Foundation KRP’s John McPhee were having a great race dicing for podium positions. Half way through the race, both Khairuddin and McPhee had gone past Vázquez, as the pursuing group containing Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Sandro Cortese closed in on that fifth spot. In the meantime, MZ Racing’s Toni Finsterbusch retired with a mechanical issue.
Caretta Technology’s Michael Ruben Rinaldi was forced to retire with six laps remaining, whilst Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales had slowly fought his way up into fourth place. It was heartache for Khairuddin as he crashed out of the race with four laps left, as Popov fell coming onto the straight. The final laps provided the typical battle between Cortese and Viñales for the final podium spot, with Kornfeil struggling to keep the pair off. Going into the final lap, RW racing GP’s Luis Salom, who had been stalking behind, snuck behind Cortese, with Viñales and Kornfeil behind.
In the end was Folger who crossed the finish line first with a near six-second gap to take his second-ever GP win ahead of Salom, who had pushed passed Cortese in the final turns. This now gives Cortese a 32-point lead at the top of the championship standings ahead of Viñales, who came in fourth. Behind him were Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins, Kornfeil, Cortese’s teammate Danny Kent, Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati, Rins’ teammate Miguel Oliveira and Fenati’s teammate Alessandro Tonucci.
— HRC Report
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) scored a magnificent and crucial victory at Brno this afternoon, defeating World Championship rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) in a breathtaking last-lap duel. Pedrosa’s second win in eight days confirms that he is on the charge and reduces Lorenzo’s series advantage to 13 points with six races remaining.
With Pedrosa’s team-mate Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) absent due to an injury sustained at last weekend’s Indianapolis Grand Prix, the two Spaniards were in a class of their own today, quickly pulling clear of the pack and settling into a tense duel. Throughout the 22 laps they were never separated by more than half a second, the pair usually just a few metres apart around the majestic Czech circuit.
Lorenzo led into the first corner from pole position, with Pedrosa right behind him. From there on the pair traded fastest laps, Pedrosa taking the lead for the first time at turn three on lap 12. He stayed there until the last lap when Lorenzo managed to get pass on the inside at turn seven. Half a lap later, as they sped up the hill towards the final esses, Pedrosa was able to use his Honda’s superior power to retake the lead. Lorenzo then tried to go round the outside into the esses, but that pushed him wide and Pedrosa was ahead once more. He crossed the line 0.178s in front, triggering jubilant celebrations in the Repsol Honda camp.
Pedrosa’s third victory of the year (following wins at the Sachsenring and Indianapolis) is also his 11th podium finish from the first 12 races. So far the only race he has finished outside the top three was the rain-lashed French GP, which he finished in fourth position.
MotoGP rookie Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) had a great ride to fifth place, the reigning Moto2 World Champion enjoying a mid-race skirmish with Valentino Rossi (Ducati). Earlier in the race he had lost some time when Rossi’s machine started smoking, throwing oil onto his visor. Once back in the groove the German was fast and consistent, moving past several riders to record another strong result in what is turning out to be a very impressive rookie MotoGP season.
Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) ran with Bradl and Rossi, also getting the better of the Ducati rider, but the Spaniard was unable to run Bradl’s pace and he finished the race four seconds behind his fellow RCV rider in sixth place. Bautista believes that today’s cooler conditions caused him some issues with front-end chatter and rear-end grip.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) had another challenging weekend, but his crew worked hard to solve their problems and the Italian was able to score some points in 14th place, a morale booster following several DNFs at recent events.
Stoner is currently in Australia awaiting surgery on his right ankle, which sustained complex ligament, cartilage and bone damage when he crashed heavily during Indy GP qualifying nine days ago. He heroically rode to fourth place in the race but on arrival at Brno he was told by his Australian surgeon that he risked doing permanent damage if he continued riding. Thus Stoner flew to Australia the same day and will undergo an operation within the next few days, once the swelling has subsided.
In the Moto2 class Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter) won a tense four-way tussle with Thomas Luthi (Interwetten-Paddock-Suter), Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) and Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) to take his sixth victory of 2012 in the always thrilling Honda-powered series. Marquez’s winning margin over Luthi was just 0.061s, while the four riders were covered by just half a second. With six races to go, Marquez heads Espargaro by 48 points.
The ever-impressive Marquez played his hand perfectly, spending nearly all the race in second place, while Luthi did all the leading. Right behind them Espargaro and Iannone swapped places frequently. Both of them briefly made it into second place but didn’t quite have the pace to stay there.
Marquez made his winning move at turn three with three laps to go, sweeping past Luthi, backing into the corner and yet keeping his Suter perfectly on line. Luthi was able to stay with the 19-year-old and tried everything he knew to retake the lead but couldn’t quite make it.
The duel between Espargaro and Iannone was just as intense, and complicated somewhat when Espargaro made a pass under yellow flags. He was ordered to drop back to fourth to escape punishment and although he tried everything to get back on terms with the leading duo – including setting the fastest lap – he could not get close enough to attack. Espargaro finished less than three tenths behind Luthi, with last year’s Brno winner Iannone less than a tenth further back in fourth.
Simone Corsi (Came Ioda Racing Project – FTR) led the rest of the pack, finishing just ahead of Alex De Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing – FTR) who rode a brave race after taking a big tumble yesterday. Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2 – Motobi) was top rookie in seventh, just in front of Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing – Tech 3) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team – Kalex). Just 1.2 seconds separated Kallio in ninth from Corsi in fifth.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) had a tough ride to fourth place in today’s opening race, the 11th round of the 17-event Moto3 series. The 19-lap race got underway on a partially damp track, so there were plenty of position changes in the early stages as some riders were braver than others in the treacherous conditions.
All but two riders chose slick tyres despite damp patches all round the track, but title rivals Vinales and Sandro Cortese (KTM) made steady starts, fully aware of what they would be throwing away if they crashed out.
The man who made the best of the drying circuit was Jonas Folger, who took the lead on lap four from Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda), one of the two riders who had started on rain tyres. Vazquez finished the race in 25th position. At the end Folger crossed the line almost six seconds ahead of fellow KTM rider Luis Salom. It was rookie Folger’s first Grand Prix victory, just two races after he had switched teams.
Cortese lost out to Salom at the final esses, but won his duel with Vinales to finish third and further extend his championship lead over Vinales to 32 points. Vinales did everything he knew how, but he lacked top-end performance at a track where horsepower has always counted.
The next two Honda riders were both rookies and both of them finished fractions of a second behind Vinales: Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) in fifth and local star Jakub Kornfeil (Thomas Sabo GP Team – Honda) in sixth. Kornfeil’s result was his best so far, but also a bit of a disappointment because he had held second place for much of the race, before being overcome by Cortese, Vinales and others.
Spanish GP winner Romano Fenati (Team Italian FMI – FTR- Honda) finished eighth, just ahead of Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda).
MotoGP riders will stay on at Brno for a day of testing tomorrow. The paddock reconvenes at Misano for the San Marino Grand Prix on September 16.
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: race winner “Today was one of my best races in MotoGP ever. To win with a big gap is always nice, but to have a battle like today with Jorge, it’s sometimes more rewarding. It was a difficult last lap because I knew that Jorge was very fast in the middle of the corners and I could hear the bike right on me and I knew that just the smallest gap would allow him to pass. In fact, in that left corner I opened the door just a little more than normal and ‘boom’ he was there. I could see his bike in my face! With just half a lap to go, I was a little more nervous than before, but I knew I had some strong points coming to the end of the lap. I tried to get the best drive up the hill and then in the last corner I was beside him. When I released the brakes we were side by side in the corner and I was able to take my line and win the race. It was amazing and I’m really happy with this victory, for all my team and also for my father because it is his birthday! For the Championship we must keep up this momentum as Jorge is riding very strong and consistently in the top two. Testing will be important to set us up for the final part of the season, so let’s see what we can do.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 5th “I am quite happy because after some technical issues we found a good race set-up. I could not push as hard as I wanted yesterday and the warm-up session was wet so we could not test the last adjustments, but the team made a very good job and I could make another positive race. During the race I was quite confident and motivated: I took a good start and Rossi was in front of me in the beginning but suddenly he had a technical problem and some smoke came out from his exhaust. After that I thought he was having an engine problem and some oil soiled my visor, which cost me a bit of time because I did not what was going on. Also Spies slowed down and Bautista overtook me, but after that I started to set my pace. It took some laps to pass Bautista and Rossi again to do my own race. I had a better speed compared to the guys behind me so it’s a pity that we lost the race at the beginning, but in any case it was a strong race from my side and I want to thank my crew for their concentration and their efforts.”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 6th “I am not happy because the change in conditions from yesterday to today created a lot of front-end chatter on our bike and I was close to crashing on several occasions. I also had a problem on the rear with the bike sliding around so much that it felt like I was running the hard tyre. I couldn’t push it like I wanted to and it wasn’t a good race for us because of this. Tomorrow we have a day of tests and I hope we can use it to resolve our problems.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 14th “The only good thing about the weekend is that we managed to finish the race. Other than that it has been nothing, but problems. We have had some annoying setbacks in every session here and I hope we can improve the situation soon so that we can finish off the season in better shape.”
Moto2 rider quotes
Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter: race winner “Yesterday in practice I felt very comfortable; I knew that I was ready for the race and that I could be up at the front, and also that nobody could escape with us all running a similar pace. That was how it panned out, because there was less grip today, but I still rode comfortably. That was how I was able to study Luthi over the course of the race. The pace was slower than I had expected and I was able to make a plan for the final laps. When there were three to go I gave 100% to get in front, then on the last lap I closed every door in order to win. It was a different tactic to normal, but this track is a difficult one for me and I wanted to keep something in reserve.”
Thomas Luthi, Interwetten-Paddock-Suter: 2nd “For sure it’s a little frustrating to lead so much of a race and not to win. But the result is okay and my team did a good job. My plan was to stay in front if no one came past, to keep my rhythm, to save the tyres by using round lines and to prepare for the end of the race. When Marc passed me he tried to break away, but I could follow him and I was strong into the corners. But his bike was so fast, so I couldn’t attack and I had to settle for second place.”
Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex: 3rd “I pushed so hard in the last few laps. I had tried to follow Marc and Tom, but finally it was impossible. I could stay with them in the middle of the race, but I couldn’t get with them at the very end to battle for the win. Anyway, third position isn’t so bad. We have to improve a lot of things; maybe one of them is the aerodynamics, to compete with the Suters.”
Moto3 rider quotes
Maverick Vinales, Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda: 4th “We could possibly have done better, but when the race began we had to take things with care because the track was wet. On the opening laps I focused on following Cortese. I lacked a bit of power and he was getting away from me. I tried to do everything within my power, but when I tried to pass him the bike didn’t respond. I didn’t want to risk things. We were able to up our pace at the end, because we were riding in the dry, and we are happy because in Germany when the conditions were similar I placed 15th. We also recovered confidence in the wet and the conditions were difficult, so we have to continue fighting and going for it.”
Alex Rins, Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda: 5th “The moments before the race on the grid were very difficult and I was a little nervous about the tyre choice. However, once the race started I calmed down a bit. I got a good start and was able to push alongside Cortese until I got into fifth, so I am happy with the result. I focused on following the riders in front and I was able to keep up with them, which put me close to the podium. I want to thank my team and the sponsors for their support.”
Jakub Kornfeil, Thomas Sabo GP Team – Honda: 6th “We decided for the semi-dry settings before the race. The bike was perfect in the early stages of the race, but later on I was not able to ride so quickly. Cortese and the others in the group behind me had the setup for complete dry track. They were a bit slower in the beginning, but the drying track helped them a lot. I knew they are coming. I knew they would probably chase and overtake me. Cortese was behind me at the start of the last lap. I was pushing so hard but they were closer and closer. I was able to fight only with Alex Rins who got me in the last chicane. To ride the whole race in second is simply amazing. Ten points are a very good help for me. Being back in the fight for top-ten position currently is very positive for me. I would like to thank all my fans and sponsors that came to this race. I could hear their cheering every lap and it was a very good feeling for me.”
— Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory racing rider Jorge Lorenzo put on an incredible show today in the Grand Prix of Czech Republic, dueling with rival Dani Pedrosa for an incredible 22 laps to take second at the line. Lorenzo took the hole shot from pole and led for the first 11 laps with Pedrosa running consistently half a second or less behind. The pair swapped positions mid-race and continued their Spanish duel, racing at speeds in excess of 300km/hr less than half a second apart until a dramatic final lap showdown. The Yamaha rider made a brave pass inside Pedrosa heading into the final chicane, only to run slightly wide and allow the fellow Spaniard back through. The drama continued through the final corner and to the line, Pedrosa claiming victory by a margin of just 0.178 seconds.
Team-mate Ben Spies had a promising weekend compromised yet again as his run of bad luck continues to haunt him. The Texan’s clutch overheated from the race start, taking a couple of laps to cool down before it became 100% effective again. The issue initially dropped the unlucky rider down to 14th before he made a spirited comeback, climbing six places to eighth by lap eight where unfortunately he crashed.
Today’s race results keep Lorenzo leading the Championship with a 13-point advantage of Pedrosa. Spies remains in 10th position. The Yamaha Factory Racing Team will remain in Brno for a one-day test tomorrow.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position 2nd – Time: +0.178
“I really enjoyed that race, mainly in the last laps, Dani and I tried everything for the win. We are so close in the Championship that every point is important. It was a very strategic race, in some parts of it I was slowing down to relax a bit and get some air and I think Dani was a little later on as well, staying calm and preparing for the last laps. When Dani was pushing a lot I took a lot of risks to stay with him and finally I had to try to pass him, the victory was so close I had to try. This time Dani was cleverer than me and braver so congratulations to him, next time maybe it will be different! A big thank you to my team as well who worked really hard and made a very competitive bike for me.”
Ben Spies / DNF
“The crash today was no other fault than myself, I was trying to get back into a rhythm and catch the group in front of me because I could see they were coming back and I had a good lap times for coming through. I’m really disappointed not just for me but for the team as they’ve done an excellent job this weekend, we’ve showed speed and motivation all weekend which is hard to do after Laguna and Indy. The race was really over for me before turn one because the clutch overheated off the line. It was no one’s fault; we checked the data and my practice starts are identical to my race starts. We checked the clutch and there is nothing wrong with it, it just overheated and took over two laps to cool down enough to give it 100% by which time the race was over. I still tried to get the best out of it I could and just made a small mistake.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“That was a fantastic MotoGP race today, the last lap was amazing to watch. Second place is not completely satisfying but anyway they both made a great show and if they had continued for another ten laps I think they would still have been right there together. Dani deserved to win today because finally he passed the line first. Jorge behaved really well and tried to do all he could to win it. To take so many risks when you are eighteen points in the lead is very brave so I’m proud of him.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“It’s tough to say that we had another issue. From the start Ben’s clutch slipped for almost two laps which compromised the beginning of the race. Having checked the data we know Ben didn’t do anything unusual in his race start. Jorge rode yet another perfect race, his pass on Dani at the end was incredible, unfortunately Dani was able to get back past him to cross the line first. We’re looking forward to testing here tomorrow and in two weeks in Aragon to take another step forward with the 1000cc M1. Tomorrow Jorge will test the first 2013 prototype 1000cc M1 and Ben will be testing 2012 M1 set up solutions.”
Classy Crutchlow claims stunning first MotoGP podium
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow rounded off a memorable weekend with a stunning ride to his first MotoGP podium finish in today’s bwin Grand Prix Ceske Republiky at the Brno circuit.
After signing a new one-year deal to remain with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in 2013 yesterday, the 26-year-old then powered his YZR-M1 to second place in qualifying to score a career best grid position.
He then capped the best weekend of his MotoGP career with a fantastic ride to third position in today’s 22-lap race, a result that saw him become the first British rider since 2000 to finish on a MotoGP podium.
Crutchlow brilliantly capitalised on his fourth front row start of the season to lead the pursuit of fast starting Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa in the early laps. He was immediately able to set a fast and consistent rhythm and he impressively pulled away from Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in fourth.
The Italian was doing everything within his power to cut the gap to Crutchlow as he went in search of a sixth podium in eight races. But Crutchlow demonstrated fantastic concentration and speed to ensure Dovizioso never threatened to deny him a landmark first rostrum.
Dovizioso was able to comfortably secure his seventh successive top four finish after he had held off an early challenge from compatriot Valentino Rossi.
Today’s result continued a phenomenal season for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad. Crutchlow’s third position was the sixth podium in the last eight races for the French-based squad. And with 272-points in the Team World Championship standings, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team trails Yamaha’s Factory squad by just 39-points with six races of the 2012 campaign remaining.
Cal Crutchlow / Position 3rd – Time: +12.343
“It feels fantastic to finally score my first podium in MotoGP. This has been the perfect weekend for me because I signed a new contract with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team and then scored my best ever qualifying result yesterday. So to cap it all off with a podium is a great feeling and hopefully I’ve already gone a little way to repaying the faith Tech 3, Yamaha and Monster have shown in me. It wasn’t an easy race because I was on my own for most of it and it was a real test of concentration. The pleasing aspect is my pace was really consistent throughout, but it had to be because I knew Andrea was behind. I basically raced my pit board so I knew where he was but I knew he was going to be hard to beat when you look at how well he has been riding lately. I felt comfortable holding the gap to him but I couldn’t afford to make a mistake because I knew he’d be ready to pounce. It felt great when I came across the line and saw my crew celebrating because they have given me unbelievable support. I feel the pressure is off a little bit now, so hopefully today’s podium is the first of many. To end a 12-year drought for a British rider to get on a MotoGP podium is also a great feeling. It seems a long t ime since Jeremy McWilliams did it, so I hope the British fans don’t have to wait that long for the next one!”
Andrea Dovizioso / Position 4th – Time: +18.591
“I was confident going into the race that I could fight for the podium. But there is no doubt that Cal did a better job than me and I congratulate him for getting his first podium in MotoGP. When I was close to him in the early laps I could see he gained some time in corner entry and he had more corner speed than me. But he lost on the exit but for sure he was gaining more than he lost. I spent the whole race pushing at my maximum to recover the gap to him but it was not possible. He was very consistent and I couldn’t push him into making a mistake, so he did a great job. We have finished inside the top four again today but this result demonstrates that we still have some margin to improve. We have collected a lot of data and we will analyse that now to understand how we can be faster.”
Hervé Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
“I am so happy for Cal because the step he has made this season compared to 2011 has been incredible. He has worked so hard to get that first podium and today he finally got it, and I couldn’t be happier for him and his crew. It has been an incredible weekend for Cal. We thought it was great to sign him on a new contract yesterday and then he got his best ever qualifying position. This gave us a lot of optimism but he rode the perfect race. He got a good start and pushed hard right from the first corner and that is what you need to do in this class. He was very consistent too and he never gave Andrea one chance to close the gap. We know that Andrea is a great rider and he has been in tremendous form, so for Cal to beat him today confirmed he did a truly remarkable job. This season has been beyond our wildest dreams and we have now been on the podium in 50% of the races. I’m sure this will take some pressure of Cal and we are going to see him battling for the podium again in the last six races. Andrea had another very good ride too. He really pushed Cal as hard as he could and he showed what a great sportsman he is today by acknowledging that he was beaten by the better man. We are now looking forward to going to Misano where we will give our maximum effort to extend this incredible run of results.”
— Ducati Report
Following a very promising warm-up session on a wet track, Valentino Rossi’s race in the Czech Republic proved to be more difficult than anticipated. An oil leak, which didn’t hurt engine performance, nonetheless certainly affected riding conditions for the Italian. When he also suffered a loss of tyre grip, he was forced to slow and eventually finished seventh.
The Ducati Team will now travel to the Misano circuit, where Valentino will participate in a two-day test on Tuesday and Wednesday. His teammate Nicky Hayden will miss the test while he recuperates in the United States, but he is expected to return for the Grand Prix of San Marino.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 7th
“I started well and the early laps weren’t bad, although the bike started to lose oil right from the beginning. It went on the footrests and the brake- and shift levers, which bothered me, as my feet were slipping everywhere. I probably could have done a bit better without that inconvenience, and maybe I would have finished close to Dovizioso. Anyway, I also had to slow down because the rear tyre began sliding too much after some laps, which has been our problem. Now we’ll see in the test at Misano in two days if we can manage to find something to help us in the last races.”
Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager
“The weekend started well. We improved steadily in every session, but the race didn’t play out positively for us. After the early laps, the bike suffered a loss of grip with the rear tyre, and Valentino lost contact with the leaders. As for the oil leak, we analysed the engine data and we have confirmed that there’s nothing unusual and that engine performance wasn’t affected. It certainly made riding more difficult because it made the footrests very slippery. We have a two-day test with Valentino at Misano on Tuesday and Wednesday, and we’ll work primarily on the chassis.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Extra-hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 20-20°C; Track 23-23°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa came out on top of a momentous last lap battle with Factory Yamaha Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo to score his second successive MotoGP™ victory and move even closer to his compatriot in the championship standings.
The race started at a fierce pace with Lorenzo leading Pedrosa for the first half of the race, the two riders pushing each other to set a new circuit lap record on six consecutive laps, with a new mark of 1’56.274 set by Lorenzo on lap eight. After Pedrosa made his way past Lorenzo on lap eleven, the two riders held position until the last lap where Lorenzo squeezed past Pedrosa, before the Repsol Honda rider hit back at the final corner, getting the better drive to the line to win the race by 0.178 seconds. Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow also rode a faultless race to claim his first ever MotoGP™ podium by taking third place, while Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet made the most of his good qualifying performance to cross the finish line in eighth position to be the highest placed CRT rider.
Rain fell overnight and on Sunday morning at Brno, causing less than ideal grip levels on the circuit, while a cool breeze and cloud cover kept track temperatures low. These conditions placed a premium on greater edge grip and warm-up performance for the rear tyre, resulting in every rider selecting the softer rear option, the medium compound slick for the race. Front tyre choice was also uniform across the field with every rider selecting the harder front slick; the extra-hard compound providing optimum cornering and braking stability with only a slight compromise in grip compared to the softer option. Although track conditions weren’t particularly favourable, the wider operating temperature range of the 2012 specification tyres allowed riders to effectively use the extra power of the 1000cc machines in the cool temperatures.
Pedrosa’s consecutive victories at Indianapolis and Brno have closed the gap to Lorenzo in the MotoGP™ championship to just thirteen points with six rounds remaining.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The weather today was as forecast so the race simulations that took place yesterday in similar weather and track conditions ensured teams had a good setup for today’s race. The cool conditions resulted in every rider selecting the softer rear and harder front slicks, with this selection offering the optimal combination of rear edge grip and front-end stability given today’s conditions. This tyre selection worked very well today as despite track conditions being less than ideal, riders could still effectively get the power of the 1000cc engines to the ground, with a new circuit record lap being set and the overall race time being twenty five seconds quicker than last year. Our work here at Brno is only half done however, we now turn our attention to tomorrow’s group test where we will debut a new rubber compound we have developed, so I look forward to seeing how this is received.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda – Race winner
“It was a difficult last lap because I knew Jorge was very fast in the middle of the corner and I could hear his bike right behind me. I knew a small opening would be enough for him to come past and going through a corner I opened the door a little more than normal and he was able to overtake me. Going into the last corner I was head to head with him but I kept my line and managed to win the race and I am so happy to get this win for all my team as well as my dad as it is his birthday.”
— Red Bull Rookies
Livio Loi won Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Race 2 of the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic, lapping Brno over a second quicker than anyone else in the field. The 15 year old Belgian won by almost 6 seconds and it would have been more had the race not been red flagged with 10 of the 14 laps complete. Heading the fierce pack behind, American 15 year old Joe Roberts took 2nd just ahead of Italian 13 year old Stefano Manzi.
It was a dramatic event from the beginning, Cup leader Florian Alt did not get a great start from the middle of the front row and it was the 14 year old Spaniards Jorge Martin and Marcos Ramirez who had qualified 3rd and 4th who got the jump.
Saturday’s winner Karel Hanika, the 16 year old Czech, crashed out on the 1st lap when he got onto the astroturf edging the track in the stadium section, it was wet from rain early in the day and offered no grip. He crashed hard but got up and remounted to finish 16th.
From there it was the usual intense Rookies Cup battle, very different to Saturday’s race where Loi and Alt had opened up an early advantage. This time it was 3 or 4 abreast for much of the lap and no one could get clear. Loi was in the midst of it but looking very cool while those around him thrashed it out.
Alt hit the front but could not get away from the pack, as far as Cup points are concerned a crucial fact was that Philipp Oettl did not make the start. The 16 year old German, 3rd in the points coming into the weekend, finished Race 1 exhausted and was running a high temperature through into Sunday, he was advised not to race.
Scott Deroue, 2nd in the points chase, had only finished 9th in Race 1 but was optimistic of better after raising the rear of the bike in the hope that it would stop the bike running wide, his major problem from Saturday. It seemed to be working as he was right in the midst of the lead pack but on lap 9 he crashed out in spectacular style and looked fortunate to walk away unscathed.
So Alt was gifted a further points advantage as long as he crossed the finish line. He did not know that Deroue had fallen behind him so he pressed on. Loi had taken the lead on lap 6 and did so at such a pace that no one had any kind of response. He romped away in a most un-Rookies Cup like fashion.
“I didn’t make a great start,” explained Loi who set off from 6th on the grid. “I felt good though, I was confident from yesterday and I just had to work my way up to the front. I knew I could go faster than the pack. I got in front and just kept pushing, it didn’t seem too hard and I wanted to make sure it didn’t happen like yesterday. It’s brilliant to win, I’m so happy.”
The race was red flagged when Jorge Martin and Willi Albert crashed as Albert needed attention at the track side. Roberts had been 2nd across the line on the previous lap and took that place on the podium. “I think that was the most intense race I’ve ever been in,” he said. “We were rubbing elbows everywhere, it was incredible, so much fun. This year has been tough but we’ve been working at getting the bike sorted and that paid off today,” concluded the lap record holder who’s time was not quite matched by Loi.
Manzi was equally thrilled with his 3rd. “It was a great race, absolutely fantastic. I got a good start and was 7th into the 1st corner, I was in the pack and fighting with everyone else, we were having a great time and I am so happy to be on the podium again,” said the tiny Italian who was 2nd in Race 2 at the Sachsenring.
Jorge Martin broke his left collarbone and bones in his right hand in the crash that brought out the red flag. Willi Albert was concussed in the same incident and complained of pain in his right shoulder so has been taken to hospital for further checks.
Simon Danilo, the 15 year old Frenchman who crashed on the last lap of Saturday’s race was air lifted to the Brno Hospital where he underwent an operation that evening to stabilise vertebra 8 and 9. He had broken his leg and arm and these were also operated on. He has neurological injuries and the prognosis is not immediately clear. The thoughts of everyone in the Rookies Cup, his friends, fellow racers and fans are with him.