Vintage lap of honour celebrates 50 glorious years of the Brno MotoGP
The MotoGP riders kicked off the Czech MotoGP in customary style on Thursday with a lap of honour around the streets of Brno on some vintage race machinery.
The lap is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Brno GP, hence the retro metal, but Local rider Karel Abraham actually rode his own 2015 MotoGP bike around the city.
Abraham was joined by two other Czech riders – Karel Hanika & Jakub Kornfeil – as well as Danilo Petrucci, Aleix Espargaro, Stefan Bradl, Tom Luthi, Livio Loi, Karel Hanika and Remy Gardner.
Remy had the extra honour of riding with his father, since Wayne Gardner also took part in the lap, joined by fellow MotoGP Legend Phil Read.
Marquez motivated for the #CzechGP
Round 11 of the MotoGP World Championship kicked off at the Brno circuit with the official press conference. Riders are right back to work after the Indianapolis round, flying directly to the bwin Grand Prix České republiky.
The first rider to answer was Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), who currently sits top of the World Championship table. He maintains a nine-point lead over his teammate after his third in Indianapolis. The difficult weekend in Indianapolis has prepared Rossi for this weekend: “For me we didn’t start with a good pace. We didn’t have the base setting on Friday so we’ll have to try harder here from FP1. Also in Indy I suffered a lot in Qualifying and I was too far behind. We have to work on this area because Q2 is my most difficult area. We have to start more in front. Having to fight with Jorge and Marc, they’re fast from the start so if you lose a little time it’s hard to catch up.”
A strong second from Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) saw him claw back yet more points in the title hunt. Brno is a circuit that Lorenzo has classically enjoyed, last claiming victory in 2010, “We now arrive at a track that is theoretically and historically good for my riding. But as you know, you can’t know until Friday morning what problems you’ll have. I’m curious for FP1 to see where we are. I think now our bike is good to keep the pace at the end of the race. Hopefully we can have a strong weekend to be in a position to push in the final laps.”
Hot off the back of back-to-back wins, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has proved many wrong by turning around his 2015 season. Brno ended his run of consecutive wins last year: “Last year we of course arrived here in a different place. Maybe I’m more motivated this year after two good races. Also we’re improving more and more and this gives me good confidence. Last year was a good weekend, just a bad Sunday with some problems.”
Despite closing the gap in Indy, Marquez is still not thinking of the championship: “Honestly, I don’t want to think about that because I need too many points. I prefer to go race by race, in Indy we were 65 and now we are 56. We are closer but we still know there are many points between me Valentino and Jorge. We will push with the same mentality as always to try and be there.”
Recent rounds have been increasingly difficult for Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) especially compared to his incredible run of form in the opening three rounds. However, he remains confident of a change in fortune: “I mean in the last few races I didn’t get what we where able to get. After five races we haven’t made big points, it’s not my style. It’s the first time in my career. I think this has happened for a few reasons, some unlucky and some small mistakes. I’m here to comeback. I think now is more the reality of the championship. No one has a perfect answer but the first four riders keep raising their level. Our bike is fully new so we are in a different situation to Yamaha and Honda and they have been able to spend years on the small details.”
Turn 2 in Indianapolis saw any hopes of a podium challenge fade for Cal Crutchlow (CWM LCR Honda) as a lack of brakes sent him wide. 2015 has had a variety of ups and downs for Crutchlow: “We’ve still had some great results in Argentina and Jerez and there’s no reason we can’t get back there. We’re at about 7 and a half thousand kilometres on the Honda now and similar to Dovi we need to reduce the gap to the front guys. . I’ve had some great races here and my first podium. Hopefully we can do better than last year as we only managed a lap! Hopefully we can go fast and keep the momentum up.”
Making his return to MotoGP is Karel Abraham (AB Motoracing) who has not raced since Mugello, having suffered a dislocated toe during the Catalan GP weekend. Abraham is the only rider participating in the MotoGP class and is eager to get back on his Open Honda: “I can ride! I was almost 100% sure, but I’m not feeling great. I was hoping to be fully fit but the foot still hurts. I struggle a little getting into the boot, I’m sure there will be a lot of pain but I think I can ride. I thought it was just a little injury, done in a month. Unfortunately it was worse than that due to the complexity of the foot, the broken bone was nothing. The tearing of tendons was worse. The dislocation was bad as I had wires in my foot holding it together for almost a month; luckily it’s ok now.