Marc Marquez took a back-to-back victory at Brno today in challenging conditions, his third this year and the 58th in his career, extending his championship lead to 14 points over his closest follower.
It was the fifth flag-to-flag race that Marc has perfectly mastered thanks to a mix of tactics, determination, and teamwork (Assen 2014, Misano 2015, Argentina and Sachsenring 2016, Brno 2017). On this occasion the Spaniard found himself struggling soon after the lights went off, having fit a soft rear tyre that he wasn’t at ease with on a drying track. He therefore decided to change bikes quite soon and entered the pit on lap two, where his team was ready with his second bike fitted with slick tyres. That allowed him to pull a great gap on his opponents, which he managed until the chequered flag.
To complete the excellent day of the Repsol Honda Team, Dani Pedrosa achieved a strong second place, bringing his career podium tally to 150 (and his MotoGP podium tally to 109, one more than Jorge Lorenzo). Dani switched to his second bike on lap four and re-entered the race in eighth position. He immediately started riding at a very fast pace, fighting his way forward to second and setting the fastest lap of the race along the way.
Marc and Dani were happy to have been able to honour the “Maestro” Angel Nieto, 12+1 World Champion, with their great performance. Nieto passed away on Thursday.
Tomorrow the Repsol Honda Team will remain at Brno for a one-day test before heading to the Red Bull Ring for the next Sunday’s Austrian GP.
“This was a very special Sunday because everyone was racing for Angel Nieto, but it was also a very challenging race. On the grid, I took the risk to use the soft rear tyre because I thought it would give me extra grip for five laps before pitting to change bikes, but it didn’t go like that. I soon started to struggle a lot and lost many positions. When I saw that, I decided to immediately get in and take the risk of the slicks. When I re-joined the race, honestly it was still too damp in some parts and I nearly crashed during the first lap out. When you go out for the flag-to-flag, it’s so difficult to get the feeling with the bike again, but I tried to quickly understand the grip. Honestly, today I took some risks but it was one of those days when you just have to do it. After pulling a great gap, I just tried to manage, to ride well, and to finish the race. I’m really very happy with the result. It’s a track I normally struggle at, one I worry about every year, and getting 25 points was very important. Thanks to the team for another great job! We did the correct strategy during the summer break, coming here to test, and we arrived here prepared. We’re improving step by step. The Championship is still very, very tight; we must be able to be fast in every condition.”
“This weekend we were competitive in all situations, yesterday in qualifying and today, with this podium. I’m really very happy with the performances and with how I felt on the bike. I’m generally feeling stronger than in the first part of the season. We must improve some details—today it was knowing the right lap to stop on, but we’ll learn from it. Normally, when it’s still a bit wet and you have to switch to slicks you must be super focused and super committed. This is usually a strong point for Marc, as he’s always very good in these conditions; we have to be able to keep the same concentration in the future because these details are very important. Anyway, thanks to the team and to Michelin for the amazing feeling I had on the bike. We lost five points to Marc on top but we recovered some on our other rivals. I think the strategy of the team to come test during the summer break was right, as it was good to have the bike setting, especially at this track. We also improved on some little details of the bike and now I feel more comfortable going into the second part of the season. Now we have to not focus too much on the Championship and just concentrate and perform well at every race.”
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