BRNO, Czech Republic — Marc Marquez timed a pit stop to perfection and jumped ahead of his rivals early in a masterful performance that ultimately saw him claim his second-consecutive MotoGP win and third of the season Sunday in the Czech Republic.
His Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa rode home behind him to give the team a one-two finish.
The race started on damp track with everyone starting on wet tires, but with the sun out and dry spots appearing around the circuit, a switch to dry tires was inevitable.
Marquez started on pole, but lost the lead to Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo at Turn 5. His choice of the soft rear wet tire initially proving to be a disastrous choice. He began to drop down the order and pitted for dry tires at the end of lap two.
The following lap saw many of the other riders come in for their dry bikes. However Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, and Johann Zarco all stayed out in the front. This proved to be a mistake, as Marquez on his dry tires began to lap close to 10 seconds faster than the lead group on their worn wet tires.
Lorenzo lost the lead to Rossi and came in at the end of lap four. His bike was not ready when he arrived and this would drop him even further down the field.
Rossi and Dovizioso stayed out until the end of lap five, which left Zarco in the lead until he was passed by the flying Marquez halfway around the lap. When Zarco came in at the end of the lap, Marquez held a 20 second lead over the rest of the field.
Dani Pedrosa came out fifth following the pitstops, but quickly caught and passed Karel Abraham, Scott Redding and Aleix Espagaro to finish second behind his Honda teammate.
The Yamaha duo came out outside the top 10 following their pit stops, but the pair carved their way up to the third and fourth with Maverick Viñales leading Rossi.
Crutchlow held third until being passed, first by Viñales, and then by Rossi on the final lap at Turn 5.
Dovizioso was the best of the Ducati runners in sixth, while his teammate Lorenzo never recovered from his poor stop and finished 15th and scored the final championship point.
Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci was seventh with Aprilia’s Aleix Espagaro behind him, though the Spaniard received a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Austria following a collision with Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone in the pits because of an unsafe release.
The top 10 was rounded out by Pol Espargaro, scoring KTM’s best ever result in ninth, and the two-stopping Jonas Folger.
Suzuki’s Alex Rins, Zarco, Karel Abraham (who ran as high as fourth at one stage), Jack Miller and Lorenzo were the rest of the points-scoring drivers.
Marquez, who increased his championship lead to 14 points over Viñales after his 32nd career premier class victory, admitted his decision to start on the soft wet rear was “risky.”
“Today, I don’t know why, but when I got up I said, ‘I want to take the risk’,” Marquez explained. “I don’t know why … but in the end 25 points is important for the championship.”
“We will enjoy this victory, because every victory is important, but then we have an important test tomorrow to try a few set-ups, a few things to try to understand better for the Red Bull Ring. Last year it was a circuit that we struggled a little bit … but we were there – not very far.”
MotoGP will resume action on Aug. 13 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Full race results can be viewed on the next page…