Marc Marquez produced another tactical masterclass in changeable conditions to win the Czech Republic Grand Prix at Brno. The world champion was the first rider to change to dry tyres early on and was rewarded with an unchallenged win ahead of team-mate Dani Pedrosa, extending his championship to 14 points over Maverick Vinales who completed the podium.
Having started from pole position on a drying track, Marquez was quickly engulfed by the field with his softer rear tyre appearing to suffer. The Spaniard had slipped all the way to tenth by the end of lap two which prompted his brave decision to pit, switching to his second bike under flag-to-flag rules and re-joining the track on slicks.
Elsewhere, Valentino Rossi was busy taking the race lead from the fast-starting Jorge Lorenzo but in scenes reminiscent of Misano 2015 and Sachsenring 2016, the Italian waited an eternity to make his bike change, taking three laps longer than Marquez despite dropping nine seconds per lap to the Honda. As a result, The Doctor was a lowly thirteenth by the time he’d switched to dry tyres.
Marquez was rewarded with a 22 second lead over Aleix Espargaro, another rider to pit early, but a three place penalty for obstructing Andrea Iannone in the pit-lane would later cost the Aprilia rider dearly. Dani Pedrosa ultimately cruised through the pack for a comfortable second while Vinales charged through from tenth after his bike change to claim the final rostrum spot.
Rossi’s impressive pace in dry conditions enabled him to limit the damage to his title campaign with a last lap manoeuvre on Cal Crutchlow lifting him to fourth with Andrea Dovizioso, who pitted on the same lap as Rossi, recovering to sixth with a last-gasp move on Danilo Petrucci. Aleix Espargaro wound up in eighth, just ahead of his younger brother who rode superbly to take KTM’s best ever result in ninth, while Jonas Folger made up three spots on the last lap to take tenth, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process.
As for early leader Lorenzo, Ducati’s failure to have his second bike prepared in time for his change cost him over a dozen seconds, leaving him a frustrated fifteenth.
2017 Monster Energy Grand Prix Ceske Republiky: Result
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