The second set of practice sessions started with clouds scattered around the track, to match the scattering of fans in the stands. The latter was much more welcomed than the former but rain kept away and riders got plenty of time to work on their pace and their place in the top 14. Gabriel Rodrigo set camp at the top of the timing screens early on but there were no significant improvements on the combined standings until the quick shootout at the end of the session.
Brno, Czech Republic
The 2021 MotoGP season continues to be a fluid affair. With the Argentina and Austin rounds already canceled (technically postponed, but with no real chance of them actually taking place), it is now clear that Brno will not host a MotoGP round in 2021. And there are more signs of a shake up coming.
The biggest, and saddest news is that the Automotodrom Brno circuit today announced that they would not be hosting any world championship motorcycle racing for the foreseeable future. The cancellation had been expected, but still comes as a blow to MotoGP.
MotoGP will continue into 2021, and scheduling difficulties continue to accompany it. Unlike 2020, however, Dorna and the FIM are prepared for it, however, and so today, we saw a provisional 2021 MotoGP calendar announced. It is a very conventional-looking schedule, with a giant caveat attached underneath: "All dates, events and the attendance of spectators are subject to the evolution of the pandemic and the approval of the corresponding Governments and authorities."
After two tests, at Sepang in mid February and Qatar in mid March, the 2021 season is scheduled to kick off at Qatar on March 28th. After Qatar, the series heads to the Americas, where MotoGP races in Argentina at Termas de Rio Hondo and at Austin. They then head back to Europe, for the usual round of spring races: Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello, Barcelona, Sachsenring, and Assen. They round it off with a trip to Finland, subject to the Kymiring being homologated on time.
Don’t be fooled by the glitz and glamour, this is a vicious sport, but there is beauty in there too
“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death,” said legendary Liverpool football manager Bill Shankly many years ago. “I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”
The same goes for motorcycle racing, especially if you’ve made your way to its summit and you’re fighting for the MotoGP title. You may have noticed things getting a bit ugly in the last few races at Brno and Red Bull Ring, but believe me, bike racing has always been vicious.
The starting point of this game is the joy of riding a motorcycle just as fast as it’ll go, and maybe a little bit faster. But if you want to win you’re going to have to fight for it and the higher you climb the harder you will have to fight.
MotoGP riders use the rear rake more than ever – Quartararo is one of the best at loading the rear tyre so he can get more stopping power from the rear of the bike
The four main controls on a MotoGP bike – throttle, clutch, front brake and rear brake – are tools that can be used for jobs other than those originally intended. The throttle can be used to steer the bike, the clutch can be used for traction control (at least before electronics took that job) and so on.
The busiest tool of them all is the rear brake, which riders use to stop the bike, to steer the bike and to reduce wheelies. In other words, before the corner, through the corner and out of the corner.
The current 2020 MotoGP calendar is as follows:
If there was any doubt 2020 was going to be a historic season for MotoGP, the Czech round at Brno erased the last of them. It has been a weird year, the COVID-19 pandemic throwing the calendar out of kilter, then the resumption of racing bringing excitement, drama, and a whole boatload of surprises.
There was Marc Márquez breaking his arm one week, and trying to ride the next. There was Fabio Quartararo dominating both races. There was Valentino Rossi looking lost on the first Sunday, and finishing on the podium seven days later. And that was just the tip of the iceberg of weirdness.
After the topsy-turvy events of the two Jerez races, Brno turned the MotoGP world even more upside down. In these subscriber notes, an attempt to make sense of the madness, to filter some signal from the noise. There is a lot of signal, but also plenty of noise. Here's the signals we have picked up so far:
- The rookie who finally lived up to expectations
- The new best bike on the grid?
- The consequences for the championship
- Concessions explained
- Petronas Yamaha's other rider gets what he deserves
- Yamaha's engine situation
- The Zarco vs Espargaro smackdown
- Are Ducati really as lost as they seem?
- Honda's litany of errors
Lots to get through. But there is only one place to start: with the winner.
MotoGP standings after Brno:
Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Brno: