Riders reflect on Brno MotoGP – The highs and the lows…
Cal Crutchlow – P1
“This win means a lot to me. I thought the feeling might be different, but after having become a Dad two weeks ago, nothing matches that. Don’t get me wrong though, I haven’t won a race for many years, maybe six or seven, so it’s been a long time and it’s something really, really special. I’m pleased to be the British rider that’s broken the run, especially after some of the stick I’ve had. I’m also so pleased for my LCR Honda Team, because I wrecked a bike during practice yesterday and they were working until midnight to get it ready for me today. So to repay them with this win is great – they never give up. Victory has been a long time coming and I was emotional on the cool-down lap. I was playing with them in the end though, I knew I had made the right tyre choice on the grid and pushed when I needed to push. I’m ecstatic.”
Valentino Rossi – P2
“At the beginning I was desperate because I thought we made a mistake, but lap by lap the hard rear became better and it was a very long race, you have to stay concentrated not to make a mistake. I started from p12, so it was a great race and I’m happy with these 20 points, also because I’m second in the championship and I think today we did a good job and we made the right choice.”
Marc Marquez – P3
“I’m happy with the end result because the most important thing is that today I extended my advantage over second in the overall standings, as I only dropped four points to Valentino [Rossi] while Jorge [Lorenzo] didn’t score points. We proved that we’re competitive both in dry and wet conditions. This year we’re working like ants, making gradual, steady improvements and having a very complete season without changing our mindset. I made a mistake with the tyres choice, but it’s easier to judge things in hindsight. Perhaps the best choice was the hard compound on both the front and rear, but I was expecting a flag-to-flag race since the track normally dries quickly, which wasn’t the case today. When I saw that there was less than 10 laps to go and the track was still wet, I started to manage my tyre wear. I saw that [Cal] Crutchlow and Rossi had a faster pace, so I concentrated on my other rivals and I can say I won the battle with them.”
Loris Baz – P4
“We rode a great race and we took the right decision with the tyre choice. As I’m heavier than the rest of the riders, I always have to use harder compounds, and before the race we decided for the hard rear wet tyre, which was perfect. You never know if you took the right decision because you never know if the rain comes back. But we recovered from the rear step by step and with some more laps, we could haven even gone further. I think we needed more experience with this tyre, the bike was a little bit hard and it was difficult to overtake the other riders. But I’m extremely happy and this is the best way to thank the team for the new contract for next year. I was also looking forward to get a good result to dedicate to Luis Salom, and finally we did it”.
Hector Barbera – P5
“I’m happy because we did a good race. After 12 laps, I had a technical problem and I had limited performance from the bike during the last ten laps. I tried to do the maximum to stay at the front, I saved the tyres, I was riding really smoothly, but I finished the race with some difficulties. Anyway, I’m happy, because every race we get closer, and sooner or later, we’ll get the result we deserve. I want to say a big thank you to the team, because they made this possible. Big congratulations to Loris, I’m really happy for him, because he’s a good rider and an even better person, and he needed this result. To be honest, the season started to turn really difficult for him. I always support him, I encourage him, but when you get inside a hole, the best way to get out is like he did, with a good result”.
Eugene Laverty – P6
“The start was the most difficult. I went with the hard rear wet tyre and that’s why I’m a little disappointed with myself, because I braked at Turn 3 like in the warmup at the start, and because of the hard rear the bike bumped up. I lost 4 or 5 positions there and it was so hard to gain places. I could only really overtake when they started to go backwards. I’m angry with myself for the start, because the bike was good for a podium today, but we’ll save that for next time. Let’s pray for more rain at Silverstone. We know we can be strong, so I’m just hoping for more rain. I used the hard rear tyre and the guys around me had the soft tyre. Every time I was with them in the corner, the rear grip meant they disappeared. I tried to come back, and every time it happened they held me up -because I couldn’t overtake them. I was lapping slower than I wanted to. I really enjoyed the final laps. It was so important to be smooth with the gas, because there wasn’t so much grip. I started to really push on the last three laps, because I could see Marquez there. In the end, it wasn’t about how many laps were left, more the mistake I made at the start which cost us the podium today. In the wet conditions we know we can be really strong. In the warmup this morning I was fastest until one minute was left. When it’s really wet, we can be strong. Even in these conditions we can be really strong, except for the first laps. I want some more rain, so I can go after the podium.”
Danilo Petrucci – P7
“I can not say to be particularly satisfied even if P7 is a good result. It has been a strange race. We had a good pace in the warm-up and we have made many changes. The tire choice was decisive. Maybe we could have a chance with the hard front but we have goals and I wanted to do the race on my target that is the Top 10. In the end I managed to reach the seventh and is not bad. I would like to thank the team and all the people who are close to me.”
Andrea Iannone – P8
“I am disappointed about how the race went because I believe that today we once again had very high potential. I started the race without pushing really hard in order to try and save the tyres as much as possible and was still in the lead with seven laps to go, and it was only at that point that the front tyre began to show some problems. Other riders such as Dovi, Scott and Jorge had their problems before, maybe because they pushed harder right from the start, whereas I had a good margin and as a result could ride well without pushing and was in any case quick. It was really a pity that the race didn’t go the way we wanted it to go.”
Maverick Viñales – P9
“Probably we took the wrong choice with the tyres? We started with the soft thinking that the track would have gone to dry much quicker so to get to a flag-to-flag, but finally this didn’t happen so the performance finally dropped a lot. Anyway, I’m happy because if you see at the classification of those who had soft tyres, we are third, and furthermore we could make very good steps forward. Today I’m really happy, we are making solid progress in the wet, today I tried to catch-up with leaders but finally had to preserve the tyre and not crash. The bike was performing very well, I need to thank my crew because they did a very good job.”
Tito Rabat – P10
“This is a very positive result after a very difficult weekend with a lot of problems in the dry conditions. The start of the race was hard for me because I could not stay with the group ahead in the tricky conditions. But I focussed on adjusting to the conditions and our tyre choice was perfect as the track dried. When I got to tenth with two laps to go I made sure to finish and score points. Now I am looking forward to the test tomorrow to better understand the Honda RC213V, at the moment I am risking too much to try and be as fast as the other riders. I need to be faster but riding in an easier way.”
Yonny Hernández – P11
“The positive thing about today is that we finished the race and we picked up almost twice the amount of points that we had in the overall standings. It is our best result of the season. However, I leave here with a bittersweet feeling, because we started the race with an engine map that gave us little power -and on the first few laps we lost the group Laverty was in. When I saw they were breaking away, I switched to the mapping with much more power and the times dropped almost by themselves. Gradually I gathered pace and was able to manage the race when other riders lost tyre performance. In short, we added five points to our total and I hope that at Silvertsone we can maintain this trend.”
Dani Pedrosa – P12
“It has been a disappointing day. Actually I didn’t have the right feeling on the wet today while normally I’m quite fast in the rain. Since the change they made in the front rain tyre after Assen I have been struggling a lot to be fast and today my main problem was that the wheel locked when I was braking. That’s meant that I couldn’t use the front brake to stop the bike, I was forced to stop the bike a lot with the engine but obviously I was very slow and I had no chance. We never cease working hard, hopefully we will come out with a solution both for the dry and the wet”.
Pol Espargaro – P13
“This morning in the warm-up I struggled quite a lot in the wet but to be honest, we managed to improve the bike significantly for the race. Therefore, I was able to pass many riders at the beginning of the GP as I felt really comfortable. However, when the track started to dry, I began to face some difficulties because I lacked grip and traction, but I tried to keep my pace without making any mistakes so that I could take home as many points as possible. I believe that today we weren’t able to use the electronics to their best potential, plus I think the hard rear tyre would have been a better choice, especially at the end of the race. Yet, I rode this compound for two laps and I didn’t feel 100% happy with it, so we went for the option that we used in the warm up. Now I really hope that we’ll have a dry race in Silverstone because with no rain, we are usually strong and we will be able to show our true potential.”
Alvaro Bautista – P14
“The track conditions were really tricky today. This morning during warmup in the wet, the feeling was not bad, but in the race I struggled a lot, especially in braking. I always had the feeling I was losing the front, so I wasn’t able to push, whereas coming out of corners I was losing a lot more than my rivals were. Nine laps from the end I made a pit stop to change bikes, but even with the intermediate tyres we were unable to improve our position. Now we need to leave this race behind us and focus on improving the RS-GP, getting back to our level in the next round at Silverstone”.
Scott Redding – P15
“I was very happy with my race. I made a good start and was going well. I felt a great feeling and I was in control. The set up of the bike was perfect. I felt that the front tire was starting not to be performing but it was a normal thing, and I would even settle for Top 6. I was also able to recover some thents to the front group. But suddenly the uncommon degradation of the front tire cost me the race. It’s a shame.”
Stefan Bradl – P16
“Today we did not make any mistakes at the start and we finished the race, so we were not lacking in concentration. In any case, I am not satisfied with the way things went. In the first laps I had a good pace, managing to stay with the group, but then, when the asphalt began to dry out, our electronics setting did not work as well as it could have. The traction control limited me very much coming out of corners. It was a feeling I had in the warmup as well and we made some changes to try and improve it, but evidently it wasn’t enough”.
Jorge Lorenzo – P17
“It’s a big pity because I was doing a great race, only I had some difficulties stopping the bike at the beginning when there was a little bit more water and especially with the hard tyre on the exit I didn’t have grip. I needed to be very careful and that is why I was quite far from the top. Little by little, as the track dried, the rear became better and I started to gain confidence, so seven laps before the end the front tyre tore up so I had to change bike twice and finished the race on the first bike in seventeenth. Rossi was unlucky in Mugello and I was very unlucky today, a lot of bad luck this season. We have to work, so this doesn’t happen more often, because we see it happen sometimes in the dry and today in the wet and we have to try not to have more tyre mishaps in the future.”
Andrea Dovizioso – DNF
“I feel really bad about the way the things went in the race because I was very competitive and was in a position to get a good result. For the race we opted for the same tyres we had used in the morning warm-up and which, in very wet track conditions, had proved to be excellent. Before the race however it stopped raining and, even though the track stayed damp, the front tyre soon began to deteriorate in an abnormal way, so much so that I was forced to come into the pits. It was a real pity, because this was a great opportunity to score a good result and so I am a bit disheartened because I return home from Brno with no points.”
Bradley Smith – DNF
“Of course, it’s disappointing to have another DNF for a technical issue, especially as my race was running positively up until that point. The opening lap went quite well, and I was able to make up a few positions plus, I felt quite comfortable on the bike. When the track started to dry, I could increase my pace and push harder so that I could go with the guys close to me. Still, at the same time, I was looking after my tyres because I was certain that tyre management would be crucial at the end of the race. Yet, unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to prove that as I had to pit in. The riders who I was close to before I pitted, ended up finishing in 5th and 6th so this is where I would have seen myself at the end of the race and that definitely would have been a good result ahead of my home GP. Considering that it was one of the weekends where we were closer to the front from the word go, it’s a big shame, but also due to it being the second time I’ve had to retire because of a technical issue in 2016, which is just bad luck. However, with the test tomorrow, we will go over a few things which will boost my confidence for my home Grand Prix at Silverstone, which is up next.”
Aleix Espargaró – DNF
“This year is really unlucky. This morning in the warm-up we tried a modification in the very last run and I had the feeling it was correct, as I felt lot more comfortable and it helped me a lot in the start and in the first laps as I managed to stay close to the top. Then suddenly I felt something was wrong in the bike, the engine was not performing normally and I had to give up. It will be very important to go and understand what happened. At the end of the day it’s the first issue like this in two years of development, it’s frustrating, but it’s something that happens in races.”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“After seeing today’s weather forecast we knew that the game would be decided by tyre choice. We chose the hard rear for both Valentino and Jorge because we expected the track to dry very slowly and we thought that the hard option would let us finish the race without changing the bike. We were right! Of course we also expected the first laps to be difficult for both riders and they were extremely good to manage the situation. Valentino handled the beginning of the race with his usual calm and experience and he did not panic when he got back to 12th position. He was also reactive to understand when it was time to change the pace and attack. Second position is fully deserved and allows him to reduce the gap to the top of the standings. Despite the final result, Jorge’s race was impressive. Without the problem of the front tyre, he could have been on the podium. All team members worked really hard from Friday and especially today during the race, as they were ready to face all circumstances. We will now stay in Brno until tomorrow for the IRTA test to work on some new parts and have a direction for the second half of the season.”
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager
“Today’s result in terms of classification is disappointing, but from a development point of view, we must be happy. The last two races in the wet had been a real disaster, but today until middle, or even last part of race, both riders did a very good job. The race has been really difficult and the tyre choice affected our result, but Maverick did a very good run until the tyres wore-out too much. To Aleix I have to apologise; until he had the engine issue, he was having a very good race but he couldn’t finish, so we need to investigate further in order not to have this happen again. The positive is that we’ve learned a lot about the wet conditions and we have found very effective solutions, so this means that we will be able to increase our competitiveness.”
Romano Albesiano – Aprilia Racing Manager
“Something in the race evidently didn’t go right. We need to analyse the data now to take a deeper look at the problem, but my first impression is that our setup was unable to adapt to the evolving track conditions. Compared to the warmup, where we did well, the lower quantity of water on the track probably reduced grip, making us struggle harder. We need Sundays like this one to collect data and increase our experience. For similar situations in the future, we will certainly not be unprepared”.
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of Michelin MotoGP Programme
“Today we had another strange race that saw the conditions change and tyre choice become a big factor on the result. We had the first three riders all using different combinations of soft and hard rain tyres to try and get the best performance on the drying track. Cal Crutchlow made a courageous decision to go with a hard pairing and as the race progressed it was obvious to see that this was the right choice for him. Some other riders suffered extreme wear from the softer version as the track dried, this was because the tyre is designed for full wet conditions. Previous to today though we were very pleased with the performance of our slick tyres in the dry at Brno. The new rear tyres we brought here gave the riders increased traction and enabled Marc Marquez to set the best-lap ever recorded here by a motorcycle, with Jorge Lorenzo also going under the previous best-lap record. This was another step forward for us and one we will build on as the season progresses, we will now have a day-long test here tomorrow, where we will work on strategies for the remainder of this season and also on some new tyres for 2017.”