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.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) brilliantly battled his way to his second victory of the season in a phenomenal Moto2™ race at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky, fending off pole sitter Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) on the final lap as the Italian picked up his second consecutive podium. His teammate Francesco Bagnaia crossed the line third, conceding the lead in the Championship to Oliveira in the process.
In a classic Brno battle, it was Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who got the best launch as the lights went out, but it was Marini who led the pack heading into Turn 3, before the Spaniard moved to the front. It was a disastrous start for fellow Spaniard and teammate Joan Mir though, as he and the two Tech 3 Racing riders of Bo Bendsneyder and Remy Gardner crashed out of contention at Turn 5 – riders ok.
By lap four, Marquez had dropped to fifth and it was the two Sky Racing Team VR46 men who hit the front, with Oliveria and Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) keeping tabs on the two Italians. The younger Marquez brother then found his rhythm and bridged the gap to the leading quartet, getting himself into P3 before disaster struck – sliding out of contention at the final corner on lap nine.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP 40) had made ground and joined the four at the front, quickly dispatching Vierge, Oliveira and Marini, before taking the lead on lap 13. Tyres then became a major factor as grip levels started to wear thin, with Oliveira making his way to the front at Turn 3 on Lap 16, immediately creating a 0.4 gap before Marini was able to reel the Portuguese rider back in. By this time Vierge had dropped to 1.2 seconds back, with Bagnaia and Baldassarri then losing touch on the leading two with a lap to go.
Marini led the last lap after making a pass stick at Turn 3, before Oliveira fought back at the bottom of horsepower hill. The Italian then made his lunge up the inside heading into the penultimate corner, but the number 44 held the outside line to have the inside at the final turn – winning the drag race to the line and taking the Championship lead.
Bagnaia beat Baldassarri in the battle for the final podium position, with Vierge just managing to hold off Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – 5th and 6th for the two respectively. Friday’s pace setter Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) came home seventh, with Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) grabbing his second consecutive top ten in eighth as he recovers some form.
Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) recovered well from a P22 grid position to earn a P9 finish at Brno, with Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) rounding out the top ten. Fabio Quartararo (Boost – Speed Up Racing) was 11th, with Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP40) impressing again in 12th for yet more points. Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors), Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) and Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) completed the point scoring positions in 13th, 14th and 15th.
Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) produced a perfect ride to secure his first Grand Prix win at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky in a race that saw a lead battle of 22 riders at one point, with the Italian beating Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) into second and pole man and home hero Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrustelGP) claiming a fantastic podium in third.
It was the Czech rider who got a great launch from pole position to grab the holeshot with John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) – who suffered a Lap 10 crash at the final corner – and Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) slotting in behind the number 84. Kornfeil was then on a mission, opening up a 0.8 second lead by the end of the first lap, and held that lead until the gaggle of chasing riders reeled him in by the end of Lap 3.
From here on in, the lightweight class race was nothing short of spectacular as a leading group of 22 formed, with P1 swapping and changing lap-by-lap. ‘Diggia’ made his way forward and the eventual race winner was in and around the top three for the majority of the second half of the race, with Turn 7 a particular strong overtaking point for the Italian. Heading into the last lap, Kornfeil’s dream home victory was in sight, but it was Di Giannantonio and Canet who managed to get through and create a small gap – the Del Conca Gresini rider then able to hold firm to take the checkered flag. After heartbreak at Le Mans earlier in the season when the Italian had crossed the line first but was demoted from the win by a time penalty, ‘Diggia’ didn’t have to wait too long to get that victory feeling.
After languishing down outside the top ten for much of the race, Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) recovered in the final laps to earn an important P4, holding off Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) on the final lap as the Argentine rounded out the top five. At one point it looked like Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrustelGP) wouldn’t be able to take advantage of Jorge Martin’s (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) absence through injury, but a P6 finish from P14 on the grid means he re-takes the Championship lead heading to Austria – but it’s just three points the gap.
Ramirez ended up seventh after a fantastic race in the lead group, with Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) eventually coming home P8 after leading the race. Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team) and Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) rounded out the top ten in P9 and P10 respectively.
11th was Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) on board his Honda, with Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) crossing the line 12th after he had earlier briefly led the race. Kazuki Masaki (RBA BOE Skull Rider) came home 13th, Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) was 14th and Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) was the final point scorer in P15 – 2.770 seconds splitting the top 15 in the fifth closest Moto3™ race in history.
Another absolute classic lightweight race ends in jubilation for ‘Diggia’ and Kornfeil at Brno, as the Championship lead changes hands again as we head to Austria in a week’s time. Can Martin make it back onto the grid? Or will Bezzecchi and co have another chance to take some points from the Spaniard? Find out next weekend.
- “We will do our best to make our people proud of us”
- Marquez: the king of the crashers!
- PTT Thailand Grand Prix voted best of 2018
- Crowd pleasers: MotoGP™'s biggest weekends of the season
- F.C.C. to continue as official clutch supplier to Moto2™
- Argentina to host MotoGP™ until 2021
- XControllers, new official licensee of MotoGP™
- An abundance of World Champions lineup in MotoGP™ for 2019