It was another sumptuous Sunday ride for Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as he took victory in a start-delayed Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky to become the fourth-ever rider to reach 50 premier class victories. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) took second place in Brno to lead home fellow Ducati man Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), the Australian beating Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins in the latter stages to earn his second rostrum of the year.
🏆 @marcmarquez93 tallies 50 premier class wins with Brno masterclass— MotoGP™ 🇨🇿 (@MotoGP) August 4, 2019
Reigning Champion becomes just the fourth-ever rider to do so in rain-affected #CzechGP, two Ducatis join him on the podium#MotoGP | 📰 https://t.co/I24PllDfzc pic.twitter.com/dsF5cXARu3
A heavy downpour after the Moto2 race put a massive spanner in the works for the MotoGP riders ahead of the race start. The start/finish straight through to Turn 4 were completely wet when the riders went out for their sighting laps, they all went out on the wet tyres, with Race Direction declaring it a wet race. But, with the pitlane remaining open, a lot of the riders came back in and went back out on slick tires – what would the correct decision be?
A couple of menacing dark clouds were on the horizon as tensions built for the start of the race. However, with riders voicing their concerns, the start was delayed due to track conditions with Michelin confirming every rider had opted for the slick tyres. The riders and teams left the grid to get ready for a Quick Start Procedure, meaning pitlane will be open for just 60 seconds. In addition, a new race distance of 20 laps was confirmed – but questions were still being asked of the weather, with more rain expected. The safety cars were out testing conditions and at 14:20 local time (GMT+2), it was confirmed the pitlane would open at 14:35 for a 14:40 race start, with a 20-lap race now confirmed.
Once the race had fired into life, polesitter Marquez got the launch he was looking for as the lights went out, second on the grid Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) got his GP19 spinning but didn’t lose too much time, with Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) getting a sluggish start from P3 with that side of the circuit still damp from the earlier rain. Dovizioso managed to slot in behind Marquez into Turn 1 after his great start as the MotoGP field safely negotiated the opening corner. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) didn’t safely negotiate the exit of Turn 4 though after Morbidelli and Zarco made contact, with the Italian collecting the helpless Mir on the way into the gravel.
Soon enough the top four were breaking clear from the rest. Marquez, Dovizioso, Rins and Miller had created a gap over just over a second back to Pol Espargaro (Red Bull Factory Racing), who had Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) close for company. As the laps ticked by the leading quartet were line astern as 0.8 covered them and with limited dry track time throughout the weekend, the riders were wary of not jumping the gun too early. Meanwhile, Rossi eventually got the better of Espargaro’s KTM, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) quickly dispatching the latter to tuck in behind ‘The Doctor’. But by this time, the gap to the leaders was over four seconds.
Would Marquez turn the wick up? The signs were there. With 10 to go, fourth place Miller had dropped to 1.5 back of the race leader, with Marquez’ lead over second-place Dovi creeping up over the half-second mark. Then, with nine to go, Marquez was making his move. The gap increased to nearly a second but at Turn 10, Marquez had a front-end scare. However, this didn’t seem to faze the seven-time Champion as from then on in, Dovi couldn’t keep the Honda man’s pace. It quickly became a race for second and third between Dovi, Rins and Miller and with five laps remaining, would there a late twist in the tale for P2? Rins closed Dovi down slightly but soon, it was the Suzuki that was under attack.
Rins dropped to over a second behind Dovi and Miller smelt blood. The Australian hooked his sights onto the back of Rins’ GSX-RR and with two laps left, Miller went for it at Turn 1 – but the blue machine fought back up the inside. No matter, Miller got the job done a few seconds later at Turn 5 and with Rins clearly struggling with his tyres, the Spaniard gave up the ghost. Up the road, Marquez was out of sight as he took victory number six of the year – 63 points is now his advantage heading to Austria. Dovizioso returned to the podium for the first time since Mugello, Miller made it two rostrums in 2019 with a well-earned P3.
Rins had to concede a podium finish to cross the line fourth and on another day, Crutchlow could well have been in the podium hunt – the British rider finished 1.2 off Rins in P5. Rossi took a lonely sixth place to claim his best result since Le Mans, the nine-time World Champion was the leading Yamaha in the Czech Republic as he finished three seconds ahead of Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT). Danilo Petrucci’s (Ducati Team) run of top-six finishes in 2019 comes to an end with a P8 in Brno, the Italian led ninth place Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). After a bad start, Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) recovered from 15th to 10th on a disappointing day for one of the early weekend contenders.
Hafizh Syahrin (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) crashed at Turn 10 on Lap 7 – rider ok.
Another masterclass from Marquez sees the 26-year-old enter the record books once more with his 50th premier class win. The riders will be aiming to stop it become number 51 in Austria, with the action kicking off at the Red Bull Ring in under a weeks’ time. But first, a Brno test on Monday!
The Moto2 World Championship fired back into life after the Summer break at the Automotodrom Brno, for the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky. 8 riders came into the round with just 52 points covering them, meaning plenty of changes were possible. Starting from his eighth Moto2™ pole, Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) made it a fifth win of 2019, ahead of Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) and comeback rookie, Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team), with two rookies on the rostrum.
Off the line, it was a lightning start from Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), who claimed the holeshot ahead of Marquez and Lorenzo Baldassarri (FLEXBOX HP 40). By Turn 3, Marquez hit the front and by the end of the first lap, he had 0.8s on the field. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Beta Tools Speed Up) was up to third and began to hunt Lowes. The first crasher was Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) at Turn 9 but remounted.
Di Giannantonio took second place at Turn 1 on Lap 2 from Lowes, making a slick move before setting about chasing down Marquez. Straight away, he was nearly three tenths quicker than Marquez, but the Spaniard responded a lap later, keeping the gap stable between the two. It was a disaster on Lap 3 for Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), who crashed out of the top ten at Turn 5, influencing the Championship dynamic with Lüthi being placed second behind Marquez in the standings.
Behind the leading duo, Schrötter was up to third place, ahead of the SKY Racing Team VR46 pairing of Luca Marini and Nicolo Bulega. Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) confirmed the strengths of Speed Up at Brno and was placed in sixth, ahead of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), sporting the new chassis for the Austrian manufacturer.
It was a great start for Moto2 rookie Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team), who qualified down in 18th and was now up to 8th, ahead of Augusto Fernandez (FLEXBOX HP 40) and a struggling Sam Lowes, who completed the top ten. Former Moto2™ Championship leader Baldassarri was only eleventh.
However, Lowes’ day got worse on Lap 9, as the British rider crashed out at Turn 7. He wasn’t the only crasher on that lap though, as Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) also bit the dirt. Meanwhile, back at the sharp end of things, Jorge Navarro passed Bulega at Turn 1 on Lap 10, edging closer to the podium positions.
Navarro’s progress didn’t stop there, as with eight laps to go, he got ahead of Marcel Schrötter and then – a lap later – disposed of Luca Marini. Speed Up were now looking at their first double podium since MotorLand Aragon with Andrea Iannone and Gabor Talmasci, way back in the first season of Moto2™ in 2010.
With just five laps left to go, Lorenzo Baldassarri was struggling to hold on to his top ten placing, as Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) was putting pressure on the Italian. On the exit of Turn 14, tremendous drive from Lecuona gave him the ability to fly ahead of Baldassarri, who could do nothing to overcome it. It was a disaster for Brad Binder, who crashed at Turn 11 in the latter stages.
Further up the field, Enea Bastianini had now got ahead of Schrötter, placing fifth – all the way up from 18th on the grid. The rookie Italian didn’t stop there, as he then closed down Jorge Navarro in the final two laps, and suddenly, a double Speed Up podium didn’t look so likely.
Marquez took the win to go to Austria with a 33-point advantage, whilst Fabio Di Giannantonio clinched his first Moto2™ podium in second. However, in a last lap surge, Bastianini pinched the final podium slot with a good move at Turn 10, leaving Navarro no chance to respond. It was a first Moto2™ podium for ‘The Beast’, whilst Navarro and Luca Marini completed the top five.
Marcel Schrötter managed to finish sixth, whilst Nicolo Bulega took his best result in Moto2 with seventh. Augusto Fernandez was up in eighth place ahead of Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), up from 17th on the grid, whilst Iker Lecuona completed the top ten, just edging out Lorenzo Baldassarri.
Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) took back the Championship lead after producing a storming last lap to secure victory at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky, the Spaniard beat title contender Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) to the top step as the leading duo in the Championship finish 1st and 2nd, with polesitter Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) completing the podium.
Before the lights went out for the warm up lap, third on the grid Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) encountered issues and subsequently had to be wheeled off the grid, a pitlane start was enforced for the Italian – but his race was far from over. And it wouldn’t get any better for the man starting second on the grid. Huge drama unfolded as the race began for John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) as he pulled off the line, the Scotsman almost immediately had to sit up with some kind of issue. In an incredibly scary scenario, almost every rider behind somehow managed to dodge the stricken Honda, but wildcard Yuki Kunii (Asia Talent Team) couldn’t avoid McPhee and crashed into the back of him – the Japanese youngster went down but was back on his feet and headed to the medical centre, with McPhee nursing his way round to the pits. McPhee picked up what looked to be a left leg injury.
Filip Salac’s (Redox PrüstelGP) home Grand Prix ended shortly after Turn 1, the Czech rider sliding out of contention on the opening lap and emerging from the drama in the lead was Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team), the Spaniard getting the better of Arbolino from 5th on the grid. The latter was joined by teammate Romano Fenati at the front of the race after the Italian had made a great start from 11th on the grid, but the duo had plenty of riders for company including Canet, with Championship leader Dalla Porta slowly making his way to the front from P17 on the grid.
The VNE Snipers duo were exchanging the race leading baton in the early stages and meanwhile, a fellow Italian was making a swift recovery through the field. Antonelli was in the points with 11 to go having taken a second a lap out of the leaders when faced with clear air, the top 17 were split by just 2.5 seconds with 11 laps remaining. With 10 to go Dalla Porta hit the lead for the first time, but the likes of Canet, Arbolino, Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai), Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) and plenty more swarming – including Antonelli. The SIC58 rider was now well in with a shot at victory as himself, Dalla Porta, Arbolino and Canet all looked like the strongest contenders heading into the final few laps.
The Championship lead was at stake and Dalla Porta looked fairly comfortable at the front. But this is Moto3™, and leading a race with multiple hungry young guns behind is never comfortable. With three laps to go Canet produced a fantastic two-rider pass into Turn 3 to get himself up into the top three as four of the top five in the overall standings stood strong at the front: Dalla Porta, Canet, Arbolino and Antonelli. But who would emerge victorious? The last lap board was signalled and Dalla Porta held firm, but Arbolino got the better of him into Turn 3, with Canet following him through to second having started the last lap in fourth.
So Arbolino led but on the exit of Turn 9, the Italian made a slight error. This allowed Canet to come through and lead as the KTM rider produced a pitch-perfect final two sectors. Heading up horsepower hill, the chasing Hondas couldn’t reel Canet in. Dalla Porta managed to get past Arbolino before the hill but there was no stopping Canet taking his second win of the season – and the title lead. Dalla Porta finished second for the fifth time this season to now sit three behind Canet heading to Austria, Arbolino had to settle for third – his fourth rostrum of 2019.
Masia was able to get the better of Antonelli on the last lap, a good result for the Spaniard but it was an even better one for Antonelli. A stunning ride from pitlane to P5 was nothing short of sensational, and it’s a result that helps him stay five points ahead of Arbolino in the Championship. Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) finished sixth for the third time in four races, Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) grabbed his best finish since Le Mans to earn P7. Fenati finished eighth, just ahead of home favorite Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) in ninth and Binder in tenth – the top 10 covered by just 1.7 seconds in the Czech Republic.
Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Sergio Garcia and Alonso Lopez crashed together while battling in the leading group with five to go, with Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) highsiding out of contention on the same lap. Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) crashed early in the race while at the pointy end of the grid, Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) crashed twice. Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power), Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) and Ricardo Rossi (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) also crashed – riders ok.