Andrea Dovizioso takes his second victory of the season to make it a Ducati 1-2 in a nail-biting afternoon at the Czech circuit.
The top three kept us all on the edges of our seats throughout the final 10 laps as second place finisher Jorge Lorenzo made his move on Marc Marquez and set his sights on his teammate Dovizioso. The Spaniard attempted to take first place away from his teammate but ran wide and Dovizioso regained the position. Marquez attempted a similar move with only two laps remaining, going down the inside of his future teammate but he couldn’t make it stick. The pair had a hair-raising moment at turn five as they narrowly missed making contact with one another but thankfully, neither rider suffered.
The Ducati men shared a brief, unexpected moment in Parc Ferme as they swapped congratulation, something few would have believed given the harsh words the pair exchanged via various media outlets at the start of the week. The trio seemed satisfied with their efforts when interviewed post-race.
Third-place man Marquez stated ‘the target of the weekend was to increase points in championship.’ Marquez seemed happy with his efforts but was interrupted mid-interview by an excitable Ducati roar. ‘Ducati had more. They are quite happy, long time without a win’ Said a grinning Marquez when interviewed by MotoGP.
Jorge Lorenzo described the race as ‘spectacular’ but when asked about his performance, Lorenzo stated how he had been chasing his teammate but ‘unfortunately Marquez attacked me so Dovi got away’.
A beaming Dovizioso started his interview simply with ‘what a race!’ before going on to say ‘(I) expected to be fast but not that fast. Really happy, really happy for everyone in the team’.
Fourth-place finisher Valentino Rossi clinched the place away from fifth-place man Cal Crutchlow during the very last turn of the last lap. Rossi put in a magnificent performance throughout the race but, as he predicted in qualifying, his race pace wasn’t enough to keep the veteran rider running in the podium contention. Danilo Petrucci brought his Ducati powered machine back in sixth as he was unable to make any headway in the pack. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Johann Zarco ended the afternoon in seventh after he was left behind by the front-running pack as a gap of almost three-seconds formed between himself and the Italian.
Dani Pedrosa was less than impressed with his race as he was only able to finish the afternoon in eighth, a disappointing result for the formed Brno race winner. Alvaro Bautista made up five places to take him from his 14th qualifying spot to ninth ahead of Suzuki riders Andrea Iannone in 10th and Alex Rins in 11th. Jack Miller was unable to make an impression on the eight-second gap between himself and Rins ahead of him and had to settle for 12th.
Rookies Franco Morbidelli and Hafizh Syahrin took home some vital championship points as they ended the day in 13th and 14th respectively. The rookie pair showed impressive pace throughout the weekend and are now only separated by two points. Aleix Esparagaro rode a difficult race as he continues to nurse his GermanGP warm up injuries but the Catalan rider finished in 15th, claiming the last available point. Before the race, Esparagaro posted a heartfelt message to brother Pol Esparagaro on Instagram after the Catalan rider crashed during the warm up session and was deemed unfit to race. Esparagaro simply wrote (once translated) ‘Never give up Polyccio! U will be back soon! T’estimo‘.
Once again, Thomas Luthi finished out of the points but he equalled his best MotoGP finish in 16th. You could easily forgive Takaaki Nakagami for his low placement after a less than relaxing summer break saw the Japanese rider competing in the Suzuka eight-hour only a week ago where he and his team finished in second.
Local man Karal Abraham was unable to deliver the same success as his countryman Moto3 rider Jakub Kornfeil and only managed 18th position ahead of Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli in 19th and Xavier Simeon who rounded out the race finishers in 20th.
Maverick Viñales’ horrible weekend did not let up as the Spanish rider was caught up in an incident at turn three on the first lap after Stefan Bradl collected both Viñales and KTM rider Bradley Smith, sending the trio for a trip into the gravel. The Yamaha rider was originally shown pointing the finger of blame towards Smith but later realised there were three riders involved. Viñales and Bradl were forced to retire immediately whereas Smith attempted to continue but was forced to retire after four laps.
Scott Redding added another crash to his weekend with an early trip into the gravel at turn 13. The Brit is still unsure of where or if he will be racing next year but his name is linked to many, if not all, available seats throughout the two-wheeled racing world.
Tito Rabat was the last of the retirees, suffering a mechanical malfunction eight laps in meaning he had to push his Reale Avintia Racing bike back to safety.
After a frantic day of racing, there are only five days to get heart rates back to normal before it starts all over again. Can ‘Desmo Dovi’ make a return or will Marquez come back swinging? We’ll soon find out.
Next stop, Austria.
Full results here.