Ducati Team scores a fantastic 1-2 victory at Brno. Andrea Dovizioso wins the Czech Grand Prix ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, second at the flag
Both Ducati Team riders put in great performances today at the Automotodrom circuit near Brno, with Andrea Dovizioso celebrating his 100th GP for Ducati by winning the Czech Grand Prix ahead of his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who finished a close runner-up.
The Italian rider, who started from pole position, led for 18 of the scheduled 21 laps, battling first with Rossi, then in the final stages holding off the attacks from his team-mate and Marquez and he crossed the finish-line in first place with an advantage of 178 thousandths of a second over Lorenzo. Thanks to today’s win, Dovizioso moves into third place in the Riders’ championship standings with 113 points, 68 behind leader Marquez.
It was also a great race for Jorge Lorenzo, who after powering away from the second row, was a bit behind the leading group until two-thirds of the race but he then caught the two leaders and engaged in a spectacular battle with Dovizioso and Marquez right down to the chequered flag, which he took in second place behind his team-mate. Today the Spanish rider also notched up the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1’56.640, which he set on the final lap, and he has now moved up to fifth place in the championship with 105 points.
The next event will be the Austrian Grand Prix, which will be held in one week’s time at the Red Bull Ring circuit near Zeltweg.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st
“It was an incredible win! Before this weekend I was excited because I felt that we could do well, but I never expected such a spectacular victory. I was very quick right from the first session on Friday, yesterday I did an awesome qualifying, today in the race I had a perfect strategy, and so I’m very pleased with everything. I managed the race lap by lap, trying to interpret what was happening around me and see how the other guys were riding: I raced well without ever misusing the rear tyre and, even though I was having a bit of difficulty in the final stages, in any case I was able to fight off Jorge and Marc, who today were both really on top form.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 2nd
“I’m very happy about my second place but also for the team’s 1-2 result and I’m very proud about the way we were able to overturn the situation from Friday, when we were in a bit of difficulty. Bit by bit we improved the bike to make it very competitive and we found a setting and a strategy for the race that worked well. Today I managed the situation calmly, because it was vital to look after the tyres and get to the end of the race in the best possible condition in order to try and attack and play my cards. I was feeling good and the bike was very stable, but I was struggling a bit in acceleration and it was a pity because I could have fought for the win, but my pass on Marquez two laps from the end allowed Dovizioso to gain a small advantage and it wasn’t possible to pass Andrea, who did a really great race.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“We’re obviously very pleased, especially because unlike our closest rival, we didn’t have the advantage of having tested here in Brno and so finishing first and second is an amazing result. I believe that it clearly demonstrates the great job we’ve done to give our riders a competitive bike and I’d like to thank everyone in Ducati Corse, both back in Borgo Panigale and at the track. It was an awesome, exciting race, and both Andrea and Jorge were so good today!”
FIM MotoGP™ Stewards:
No further action in incident involving #6 #25 and #38
During the first lap of the MotoGP™ race at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky there was an incident involving riders #6 Stefan Bradl, #25 Maverick Viñales and #38 Bradley Smith.
Following an investigation by the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards, it has been decided that no further action will be taken.
The gloves come off as the two Ducatis take on Marquez…
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) has taken his second win of the season in incredible style in the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky as a three-way fight for the win raged between the 04, his Ducati teammate Jorge Lorenzo and reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). By the flag it was a Lorenzo vs Marquez classic on the final lap to decide the podium positions, with the ‘Spartan’ taking second and Marquez, on his 100th MotoGP™ start, forced to settle for third – nevertheless marginally extending his Championship lead. It was also an anniversary for ‘DesmoDovi’ as the Italian celebrated his 100th race for Ducati with the win.
It was Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) who took the holeshot from second on the grid, with polesitter Dovizioso just losing out and shuffled back a place as Marquez retained his P3 through the first corner. Lorenzo wasn’t able to make a move from the second row and settled into fourth, with drama then hitting the early stages as a multi-rider incident saw Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and wildcard Stefan Bradl (HRC Honda Team) crash out.
At the front ‘DesmoDovi’ was quick to strike for the lead and he and Rossi dueled it out, but it was the 04 Ducati ahead over the line. Marquez then began to attack Rossi, before Lorenzo struck instead and picked the pocket of the number 93. Dovi led Rossi led Lorenzo led Marquez and it seemed it could be in for another Dutch GP battle royal – but that wasn’t to become the story of the race.
It first became a long train with Dovizioso at the front and squabbles breaking out throughout, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) vs Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) vs both and the fight at the front stretching all the way from Dovi through Rossi, Marquez, Petrucci, Crutchlow, Zarco, Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team).
By ten laps to go, however, a group of six had begun to emerge, including those who would fight for the win. Dovizioso, Marquez, Rossi, Crutchlow, Lorenzo and Petrucci had pulled out a gap, and the final showdown would be whittled down further. With expected race pace within the 1:56s and no one putting that in, it was a game of high speed chess – before five laps to go saw Lorenzo take Crutchlow to put Marquez in the middle of the Ducati duo at the front. The pin was soon to be pulled.
A lap later and the laptimes dropped – with Dovizioso, Marquez and Lorenzo all bolting in unison to suddenly pull out a gap on Crutchlow and Rossi on the chase. The trio slammed down into the 1:56s and showed their hand, setting up the Czech GP for an incredible final few laps.
Lorenzo was the first to make a serious move, attacking Marquez on the inside of Turn 14 and carrying the momentum up the inside of Dovizioso at the final corner in a stunning almost-double overtake…but it didn’t stick. ‘DesmoDovi’ took it back as Lorenzo headed a bit wide and was forced back into second, but the gloves were off. On the penultimate lap Lorenzo attacked for the lead again but again headed wide, with Dovi slicing back through before Marquez tried it near the end of the lap against Lorenzo. It was, however, as-you-were over the line for the final lap…
Marquez attacked Lorenzo at Turn 4 as the duel began, but the ‘Spartan’ hit back with a stunner into Turn 6 that sat up the reigning Champion. With Dovizioso then with a bit of margin at the front, the number 99 Ducati threw everything at it to chase down his teammate – but through the final corner neither was just close enough for that final attack. That made it an impressive second win of the season for Dovizioso and his first at Brno, with Lorenzo second and Marquez completing the podium on his 100th MotoGP™ start.
The fight wasn’t over, however. Just behind the breathless battle for the lead, another duel was lighting up the final lap, and it was Rossi who was able to pick the pocket of Crutchlow and beat the Brit to the line by just hundredths – taking the rider from Tavullia over the 6000 career points mark 22 years after his first ever GP win taken at Brno. Petrucci took sixth ahead of Zarco, with Pedrosa pouncing on the Suzuki riders to take eighth by the end. Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) was also able to move forward and took ninth in his 150th premier class race, with Iannone beating Rins to the honour of completing the top ten.
Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) was P12 ahead of top rookie Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) back from injury, with fellow debutant Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) for pretty close company in fourteenth. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), also returning from injury, completed the points scorers.
So that’s it from a frenetic fight for the win at the incredible Czech adrenaline factory of the Automotodrom Brno – but don’t worry, there’s not long to wait for more as MotoGP™ heads for the hills of Austria and the Red Bull Ring for a back-to-back thriller.
Brno (Czech Republic), 5th August 2018
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi had predicted that he would have a challenging end to the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky race and acted accordingly. He made a strong charge in the first half of the race, taking the lead several times. Though he had to relinquish P1, he still secured solid championship points with a well-earned fourth place. Maverick Viñales was fortunately mostly unharmed but unable to continue after an unlucky race incident on the opening lap.
Rossi had a brilliant start from second place on the grid and took the holeshot. The opening laps were a continuous back and forth between him and fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso, while Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo followed. The Doctor spent most of the early stages in second position, carefully observing his compatriot until, with 14 laps to go, he felt ready to make a break for it. He overtook Dovizioso and put his head down.
The nine-time World Champion held the provisional first place for three laps before another battle at the front unfolded. The number 46 rider fell back to fifth place, but he made sure to stay in contact with the leading group. He stalked Cal Crutchlow around the track and made a decisive overtake in the final chicane of the last lap to secure fourth place over the line, 2.902s from first.
Viñales experienced a disappointing end to the Czech GP weekend. Starting from 12th place on the grid he soon found himself mixed up in the busy mid-pack of the rider field. He had hoped to make the medium front – soft rear tyre combination work for him on the first lap to make up ground, but a race incident involving him, Stefan Bradl, and Bradley Smith ended his challenge prematurely. The Spaniard was able to walk away from the crash without serious injuries and will be looking for redemption at the upcoming Grand Prix in Austria next weekend.
The fourth place made Rossi the first rider to secure more than 6000 Grand Prix championship points over all classes. It also keeps him in second position in the championship standings with 49 points to first and 23 points ahead of teammate Viñales, who is now in fourth position. Yamaha holds third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Brno, with a 43-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team remain in first position in the team standings with a 3-point gap to the second team.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Automotodrom Brno tomorrow for a one-day Official IRTA Test.
It wasn‘t an easy race weekend at all for our team and also the last day is filled with mixed emotions. On the one hand we had Valentino starting from first row and fighting at the front. He put in the maximum and scored the best result possible given the circumstances. Of course on the other hand we feel sorry for Maverick, who‘s race ended early, but starting from the fourth row you know accidents like today’s can happen. It‘s unfortunate that the mishap cost him his third place in the championship standings, especially since the set-up that he tried in this morning’s Warm Up gave him a really good feeling and the decision to use the soft rear tyre could have played out well. Tomorrow we have an extra day here at the Brno circuit to get some testing done.
I think that at the end for me it was a good race because I made a good start, a good first few laps, and I always stayed in the front group. The problem was that I wasn’t fast enough to fight with Dovizioso, Marquez, and Lorenzo. I didn’t have enough pace, unfortunately, and that was a shame because I wanted to try to arrive on the podium, for sure. At the end I did a very good battle with Cal. I was able to overtake him in the last chicane and recovered one place, but it wasn’t enough for the podium.
When I was already on the ground I was trying to pick up my bike, but it was too late. I don’t know who made the mistake, but it’s lucky in any case that I don’t have any significant injuries. It was a difficult weekend, for sure. We found a new set-up in the Warm Up and I felt really good, so I was very enthusiastic about the race. We need to stay focused and keep doing our job. I think the crash was a consequence of starting from twelfth place, so we have to pay really close attention to which direction we follow with the set-up, and let’s see what happens at the test tomorrow.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team went into the tenth Grand Prix of the year at a hot Brno circuit optimistic of their race pace with the KTM RC16 and with the knowledge that a bright start would see Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith again challenging the top ten of the premier class.
Espargaro was focussed on making key final tweaks to his set-up in the morning warm-up session but his day and weekend was wrecked by a fall after just eight laps. The Spaniard was given medical treatment and a broken collarbone meant he was ruled out of the 21-lap sprint later in the afternoon. The team are waiting for a more detailed diagnosis of the injury but #44 will return to Barcelona on Monday morning.
Smith launched away from the fifth row of the grid and was determined to be in the heart of the action in the opening throes but ended up in the gravel trap with Stefan Bradl and Maverick Viñales after the German’s overtaking move on Turn 3 skittled the other two. Smith will now recalibrate his efforts towards the post-Grand Prix test on Monday.
Smith: “It was very frustrating but it has to be expected back there when everybody is jostling for position. The whole weekend was super-tight again. I was braking into Turn3 and Stefan took a lunge up the inside and tucked the front. His bike slid into mine and then I slid into Maverick and we all went down. We’ll have a lot to do now in the test and I’ll have a busy day but we got through a lot of stuff this weekend anyway. We still have a long list and I’ll be first out on track tomorrow and the last to leave.”
Mike Leitner (Team Manager): “Not a good weekend for us. We’re happy that Bradley is OK after his crash and I think it was not his fault. His front wheel was taken by Stefan’s bike. This is just a part of racing and we know this category is very tight. We were worried about Pol. He had a big crash this morning. He is lucky he did not hurt himself more and the only clear information we have at the moment is that he has a collarbone fracture, although we don’t know yet how complicated it is. He will go back to Barcelona tomorrow morning for further checks and we can then make a plan.”
LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow claimed fifth place in the Czech Republic Grand Prix in Brno on Sunday. Starting from fifth on the grid, The Briton was always involved in the battle at the head of the field until the closing laps when a worn rear tyre hindered his chances of fighting for a place on the podium.
Along with Ducati duo Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, fellow factory Honda rider Marc Marquez and Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi, Crutchlow was part of a five-man fight at the front. Ultimately, the two Ducati riders and Marquez pulled away to claim the podium places, while Rossi pipped the LCR man on the line to snatch fourth. But Crutchlow was pleased with his performance overall and believes the is a lot to build on ahead of the next round in Austria.
Cal Crutchlow – 5th
“I wanted to get third place and have a bit of room to slide, but I had people right behind me. (Jorge) Lorenzo did a fantastic job today to come through and get where he got. I ran out of rear tyre today, I couldn’t exit the corners like them (the leading three riders), I picked the bike up a lot, but it was the floating in the middle of the corner with a used rear tyre that was our problem. That seems to be the only difference between mine and Marc’s (Marquez) bike and we need to improve that”.
“But we’re looking forward to Austria, my team did a fantastic job and so did Honda because this has never been a real strong track for Honda. We have to be pleased, to be in there in the battle, way ahead of Dani (Pedrosa) which is one thing that is important in my team and my result. We achieved a good result today, although I’m disappointed to miss the podium.”
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ STRUGGLES BUT, CLAWING HIS WAY BACK FROM 24TH AT THE START, RIDES HIS RS-GP INTO THE POINTS
SCOTT REDDING CRASHES ON THE FIFTH LAP
The Brno MotoGP race did not entirely reward the efforts of Aleix Espargaró, starting twenty-fourth on the grid and fifteenth across the finish line, but not as incisive as he would have liked. The high temperatures of the Czech track convinced both riders (Aleix and Scott alike) to choose the hard Michelin option on the front and on the rear, a combination that did not give Espargaró the right feeling.
Teammate Scott Redding also complained from the beginning of a certain difficulty braking, despite a good start and some early overtaking in the initial stages of the race. During the fifth lap, while lying sixteenth (he had started twenty-fifth), a loss of grip at the front led to him crashing and consequently retiring from the race.
“It was not a good weekend for us, to be honest. I did not expect all of these difficulties. The RS-GP performed differently compared to last year, especially in terms of the front end. When I go into corners and release the brakes, I struggle to turn and if I push, I risk crashing. We could have risked using a softer tyre, but in the end the team opted for the more conservative solution. All things told, I think that it could have been a good choice, but decisions are taken as a team, for better or for worse. Tomorrow we have an important day of tests. I am rather tired and sore, but I want to try to change the balance of the bike significantly to recover the right feeling with the Aprilia.”
“Unfortunately, today’s crash was very similar to yesterday’s. We were at the limit with the hard front tyre, especially when I fwas riding by myself. In fact, in the early laps I was able to be rather aggressive, overtaking a few riders, but then I began to lose the feeling, especially when I released the brakes, until the crash. It seems like with this bike, the front tyre’s range of use is rather restricted. As soon as you go out of the ideal window, problems begin. I could have settled for finishing the race, but I decided to have a go anyway, pushing to the maximum.”
Zarco and Syahrin deliver strong Czech Grand Prix performance
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco launched forward from the third row of the grid today in scorching Automotodrom Brno. He came off the line well, defended his starting position and kept up with the top during the initial laps. With a strong and consistent pace, the fast Frenchman fought through the 21 long laps and saw the chequered flag in seventh. After 10 of 19 rounds in 2018, Zarco now occupies seventh of the overall ranking, still well in striking distance to the top 3.
In the meantime, Hafizh Syahrin did a good start and made up some places already on the first lap. The Malaysian was giving his all while fighting with his fellow rookie Franco Morbidelli, but eventually had to play it safe and take home important two points while crossing the line in 14th in order to keep the advantage of the Rookie of the Year on his side.
Position: 7th – Championship: 6th – Points: 97
“The race was good – P7 like the Qualifying. I tried to overtake at the beginning of the race, but it was complicated as the others were quite strong and I was not able to do exactly the same riding like them. So, to stay with them, I was sliding a lot and then I had to slow down a little bit. In the second part of the race I found a better pace to follow this group and almost caught them to fight, but I was a bit too close to the limit. At the end of the race, the bike was still under control, but I think I didn’t have enough positive points to overtake Danilo (Petrucci). I just had to finish the race and be happy with that. From yesterday, my feeling on the bike is getting back better and better and I could see in the race that I was very close to the podium since a long time. Something was missing, but now I’m sure I can find it with my team, because we have many races in a row now and not a lot of rest, which will be an advantage to step forward.”
Position: 14th – Championship: 16th – Points: 24
“In the beginning I felt really good with the bike and I was very close to Bautista. But after the middle of the race, the bike got nervous on the exit of the corners, I don’t know why. I tried to understand, but it was difficult for me to fight like this, although I tried to control the bike and work with my body. For sure it was very tiring. Now I try to come back stronger from the test tomorrow. We try to find a solution and I aim to continue working in this way. I collected two points more and it’s still very close to Morbidelli, but I try to make a good race next week.”
“What a race! I think today the spectators who took a few days off to come down to Czech Republic didn’t regret their trip because Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP have been fantastic fights. When the MotoGP race is like this, it’s just an unmatchable sport and show. I think the whole grid was really worried at the start because we were thinking it might be a replay of 2017 as we could hear and see that there were some thunderstorms and there was a high possibility of rain. We were more ready than last year, but anyway fortunately, we didn’t have to go through a flag-to-flag race and the track stayed dry and warm. Johann was one of the few riders on soft rear tyres. Although he said that he’s confident, I was a bit skeptical, but the first half of the race was good, he was there right at the end of the front group. Then we had two or three laps where he was losing a bit and I thought the gamble wouldn’t pay off. But then him and Bautista, the only ones on soft where the fastest for three laps in a row. So, we were more confident that it was a good choice. I was hoping he could catch the guy in front of him, but he never really managed to be that close. Overall, he had a really strong and good race. Three laps to go he was just 3.5 seconds off the front and in the last three laps he just took it home. Seventh is not too exciting, but all the top guys were there, he was in the group. I would say, it was the best race, we could have hoped for. The two factories that are on the podium are really strong at the moment. Clearly, they work very hard, but without an improvement you can not move forward. I think Johann did the best he can together with the team, he did the tyre gamble in order to have something, but on a regular base on a circuit like here where the machinery is very important, honestly there is not a lot we can do. We are a bit down to our competitors and it’s a bit frustrating, but this is the situation. We’ve been living this for many years and we continue to try our best. Johann is a fighter and we want to give him what he deserves to be in front. On Hafizh’ side there was a big battle as well, but of course less under the radar. He was fighting with his fellow rookie Franco Morbidelli. He was in front for quite a while and then Franco passed him, Hafizh followed, but there was nothing he could do to repass him. He is still leading the rookie championship, but he lost a point to Franco. This is exciting! He is learning and I think he did a really good weekend here in Czech Republic. In just a few days we’ll see what we can do in Austria.”
Marc Marquez celebrates his 100th MotoGP race on Brno podium, Pedrosa in eighth place
At the Czech GP, Marc Marquez celebrated from the third step of the podium the special milestone of 100 MotoGP races, showing once again the reasons behind the impressive numbers of his still relatively short Premier Class career.
His 71st MotoGP podium out of 100 starts (71%) was the best result the young Spaniard could achieve today, so after sticking with Lorenzo and eventual winner Dovizioso until the last lap of the race, he ultimately settled for third. At the same time, he achieved his weekend goal of extending his Championship lead at a track where he did not feel totally comfortable. He arrived in the Czech Republic with a 46-point advantage on Valentino Rossi and left with +49.
The other statistics related to his special 100th MotoGP milestone are 40 wins (40%), 68 Pole positions (68%), and 42 race-fastest-laps (42%).
Teammate Dani Pedrosa, who started from 10th on the grid, continued to struggle in corner exits; only at the end of the race was he able to recover two positions and cross the finish line in eighth place.
Tomorrow, the Repsol Honda Team will remain at Brno for a one-day post-race test before moving on to Austria for next Sunday’s Grand Prix von Österreich at the Red Bull Ring Circuit.
“Our target for the weekend was to extend our lead in the Championship, and we achieved that. We arrived here with a 46-point edge, and we leave with 49, which is very good. Already yesterday I was expecting that Lorenzo and Dovi would be the strongest opponents, maybe with Valentino, and they were all there today. I was ready to fight as well, but honestly it was difficult to fight against the two Ducatisti as they had strong acceleration and braking stability. I tried but it wasn’t possible, so we took this positive third place. Today was my 100th race in MotoGP, and I used the experience that comes with that; if it had been my second or third MotoGP race, I probably would have tried for the win and either got it or crashed, but it was the 100th and I used wisdom. Third is my worst useable result this year, and I’m happy with it because we finished very close to the top at a track where we often struggle. I’m confident, as better tracks for us will come.”
“I wasn’t comfortable on the bike and I wasn’t able to exit fast from the corners, so I was trying to recover in the entries. I was doing kind of an elastic effect. Just at the end, when the other riders’ tyres dropped and they couldn’t be so effective on acceleration, I was able to make a couple of passes. It’s not easy to ride that way, but tomorrow we have a test here and I hope we can work to be able to be faster on acceleration.”
Early crash prematurely ends Czech GP for Stefan Bradl
An unlucky race incident at turn 3 on the first lap of the Czech Grand Prix prevented HRC wildcard rider Stefan Bradl from taking advantage of a very good start from the sixth row of the grid.
The German struck his right shoulder in the crash and, although medical examination ruled out serious injury, he stretched his ligaments and is experiencing pain and discomfort.
Stefan Bradl 6
Team HRC – MotoGP
“Unfortunately, I was just braking into turn 3 with Viñales not far ahead when I felt a blow and then found myself in the gravel. I looked around and saw that also Bradley was involved in the incident. Honestly, I didn’t understand exactly what happened. It’s a real shame because I had got a very good start and I’m sure I would have been able to recover some positions. Unfortunately, I’ve got a lot of pain pain in my right shoulder. At the Medical Centre, examination luckily ruled out fractures, but the ligaments are quite stretched. We have to see tomorrow how I feel for the test.”