2014 Brno MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Breaking The Streak

The hot-hand fallacy finally caught up with Marc Marquez. His amazing streak of consecutive wins stays at ten, the Spaniard being beaten for the first time this year. In his twenty-ninth race in the MotoGP class, Marquez and his crew finally failed to find a good enough set up to win, or even make it onto the podium. The Repsol Honda man has only missed out on the podium twice before, once at Mugello last year, when he crashed, and once at Phillip Island, when he was disqualified from the tire fiasco race.

Defeat had been waiting in the wings for Marquez for a while now. Look solely at the points table, and his dominance looks complete. But go back and look at his winning margin, and his advantage has not looked quite so large. Of his ten wins, only two were by a considerable margin: one at Austin, where he has always been better than the rest; one at Assen, where rain created large gaps. His advantage at Argentina and Indianapolis was 1.8 seconds, at Jerez, Le Mans and the Sachsenring under a second and a half. Marquez could only eke out victory at Qatar, Mugello and Barcelona, races he won by a half a second or less. At most races, Marquez was winning by a slender margin indeed, lapping on average just five or six hundredths of a second quicker than his rivals. It was enough, but it was really not very much at all.

Marquez' slender advantage over his rivals was a sign of just how close they really were. Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa had all come close to beating Marquez, and in the case of Pedrosa at Barcelona, Marquez had been forced to delve deep into his bag of tricks to beat his teammate. Marquez' talent may have loaded the dice he was rolling, but eventually they would fall another way. "People said winning was easy for me," Marquez told the Spanish media, "but I know how hard it was."

What went wrong? All weekend long, Marquez and his crew had struggled to find rear grip in acceleration. Try as they might, they could not find a solution, during practice, during qualifying, even during the warm up. Out of sheer desperation, they tried a big change ahead of the race, but that didn't work either. With no grip, Marquez was losing ground out of the corner, and trying to make it up in braking. He was pushing right to the limit for as long as possible, but the risks he was taking were not sustainable. "You can do that for three, four laps," Marquez said, "but not for the whole race." It was visible on TV throughout the race, Marquez repeatedly losing then saving the front in corner after corner. His assessment of why he lost was honest, and simple: "Today, we were not ready to win the race." But he also acknowledged it was bound to happen one day. "In a championship over eighteen races, you can always have a day like this."

Was it easier to accept losing to his teammate rather than either Lorenzo or Rossi? "I lost to all of them," he said. If he was forced to choose, then at least it was good for the team that Pedrosa won. But really, all that mattered was that the other three had ended the race ahead of him. If there was an upside to losing the race, it meant there would be a little less pressure on him. In press conferences and interviews, he wouldn't face yet more questions about the record books, and how long he thought the streak would go on. Instead, he can just focus on winning races again. If anything, he will return with a new fire in his belly. Marquez is unaccustomed to losing, and even less accustomed to not finishing on the podium. The only time he was not on the podium when he finished a race was in Mugello in 2012. Before that, it was Estoril in 2011. That is quite the streak.

That it should be Dani Pedrosa to break Marquez' streak was both well deserved and unsurprising. The Spaniard has almost won at Barcelona, and had been viciously quick all weekend. Pedrosa's strength slipped under the radar, as all eyes focused on Marquez. Pedrosa had a strong start, but ended up stuck behind the two Ducatis on the early laps alongside Jorge Lorenzo. When Lorenzo pushed past Andrea Dovizioso and then Andrea Iannone, Pedrosa knew he had to follow quickly. He seized his chance as soon as it presented itself, and set about chasing down Lorenzo. It took him three laps, and was soon past. From that point on, he eked out a gap, fast enough to manage his advantage over Lorenzo. It was only in the final stages that the Movistar Yamaha man started catching him again, but in the end, Lorenzo had left it too late to launch an attack.

Lorenzo had gambled on using the softer front tire, after setting a blistering pace on it in the morning. The cold morning temperatures saw Lorenzo string a whole host of low 1'56s together, and he felt that this was the better option for the race. The medium front tire – the tire of choice for the rest of the grid, with the exception of Bradley Smith – was too stiff over the bumps which surround the track, the softer tire providing the grip as well as absorbing the bumps. Under overcast skies with a cold wind cooling the track, Lorenzo got a strong start and could push hard in the early laps. Once the tire dropped off a little, and as the fuel level dropped, Lorenzo found he could not maintain the same pace. He was forced to let Pedrosa by, unable to match the Repsol Honda man's pace. Only in the final laps, with the tank nearing empty, did he once again find a burst of speed, but it came just a fraction too late.

Could the weather have been a factor? Possibly, Lorenzo's team manager Wilco Zeelenberg postulated. "If they sun hadn't come out for ten laps, maybe we would have been faster," he said. "In the morning, when the asphalt was cold, we were much faster." When I asked him if this performance meant that the old Lorenzo was back, he replied it was a little more complicated than that. Yes, Lorenzo's improved fitness had helped, but the work that Yamaha had done also needed to be taken into account. "The total package wasn't as good early in the season as it is now." Now, Lorenzo had a bike he was much more comfortable on, and capable of riding to its limit. With Silverstone coming up next week – a track that suits the Yamaha even more than Brno, and where he beat Marquez in a most satisfying way – Lorenzo is going to be a threat.

Last man on the podium was a personal triumph, snatched from the jaws of defeat. Valentino Rossi had made a mistake at a crucial point in FP4, crashing out just as he was about to test an important set up change. Even worse, he had injured his little finger on his left hand, taking the skin off and creating a very painful injury. He had tried to ride in the morning warm up without any pain killers, but that had been almost impossible. Pain-killing injections for the race had made the difference, Rossi getting stronger as the race progressed. He had been unable to match the pace of Pedrosa and Lorenzo, but he could at least shake off Marquez.

That in itself had been pleasing for Rossi. During the press conference, he was asked about Marquez' streak coming to an end, and the credit given to Marquez for those wins. It was difficult to understand, Rossi said. When he was at Honda in 2001, 2002, 2003, people said he was winning because of the bike, the Italian said. Then, when he went to Yamaha, it was because his rivals were weaker. Rossi could not pass up the opportunity to have a dig at his arch rival, Max Biaggi. "Sincerely, we are better rivals than I had, because more or less we never complain about the bike. In the past, especially when I beat Biaggi, he always complained it was because of the bike!"

There was also an odd moment in the press conference from Dani Pedrosa. The Spaniard was asked if the rumors that he was considering replacing his crew chief, Mike Leitner, were true. In response, Pedrosa muttered some platitudes about the importance of a good atmosphere in the team, and it still being a long way to the end of the season. It was a very long way from being an outright denial. That will only fan the flames of the rumors, which suggest that Jorge Lorenzo is considering getting rid of Ramon Forcada, and Dani Pedrosa would want to take Forcada to replace Mike Leitner. None of these rumors have been verified, and it would be a very strange move indeed by both men, given their long and successful histories with their respective crew chiefs. One can only speculate that Valentino Rossi's example has raised a few question marks in their minds.

There was good news and bad over at Ducati, the good news being that once again, the gap to the front had been cut. Andrea Iannone had an excellent race, taking a very strong fifth position and finishing ahead of Andrea Dovizioso. Afterward, Dovizioso said he had been hampered by a loss of power from his engine, and unable to use his strength in corner exit to shake off the Pramac Ducati. Dovizioso's loss of power is a bit of a concern, given that this was the new-spec engine which he had first started using at Indianapolis. Dovizioso was phlegmatic, however, saying it was one of the risks of doing so much development during the season. Sometimes you try something, and this was the result, he said.

It was another weekend to forget for Cal Crutchlow, the Englishman crashing out of the race. He pulled something in his shoulder after running off the track and trying to hold on to the bike. It had not prevented him from crashing, and once he returned to the track, the Ducati's electronics lost their way after being switched on and off. Not knowing where it was on the track, it was supplying the wrong levels of power at the wrong points in the track. It is a common problem with the Ducati, the electronics getting confused if it can't locate itself using the timing loops under the track, and the second time this happened to Crutchlow after Qatar.

If the MotoGP race was intriguing, the Moto2 race was eminently forgettable. Tito Rabat's victory was utterly deserved, the Spaniard riding inch-perfect to claim the win. He beat his teammate by a comfortable margin. Mika Kallio, in turn, was over three seconds ahead of Sandro Cortese, the German finally starting to show some of his promise. Cortese explained that his problems this year had started in Qatar, where he had injured himself. He had continued to ride, despite not being fully fit, and it was only over the summer break that he had sorted himself out physically. A strong result at Indianapolis and a podium at Brno were the start of more to come, he promised.

Rabat's victory over Kallio allowed the Spaniard to extend his championship lead to twelve points. There are still seven races to go, so the championship is far from over. It should be a close and thrilling race, yet Moto2 lacks all of the excitement it had in previous years. Whoever wins the Moto2 title will be a worthy and well-deserved champion, of that there is no doubt. Yet they face the undeserved fate of their title soon being forgotten. It is cruel, and inexplicable, but Moto2 simply lacks any buzz this year.

The same cannot be said for Moto3. Almost always the race of the weekend, and Brno was no exception. A group of seventeen battled all the way to the end, the race decided in the final corner. Jack Miller placed an attack at Turn 13, but Alexis Masbou defended stoutly, putting Miller wide, and dropping him down to fifth. Masbou went on to take a well-deserved first win, with Enea Bastianini finishing second. That was quite the performance from the young Italian, who had to be carried into the press conference room on piggy back, Bastianini having fractured his heel earlier in the week. Danny Kent made a welcome return to the podium, taking third. Having such a large group allowed Kent to take his time, the Husqvarna rider struggling with grip on new tires all season. Hanging in left him in a strong position towards the end of the race, and he capitalized on his position.

Alex Marquez finished in fourth, and ahead of Jack Miller, but Marquez' mission had failed. He came to Brno hoping to pull back as many points as possible from Miller, but had managed to recover only two points. Miller still has a twenty three point lead over Marquez, though there are still a lot of races left in the year. The biggest mistake of the Moto3 race was by Alex Rins, who sat up a lap too soon thinking the race had finished. The Spaniard just inched across the line ahead of Miller, then flung his arms in the air. What he didn't realize was there was one lap left to go, and he was lucky not to be hit from behind by the other riders.

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His mistake was near tragic, but I am happy to see the fire in him again. He has too long been a stuck to a supporting role this season. There is still time for him to bag some wins and make it all more exciting and complicated.

Is he going to Moto2 next year??

That's hilarious, really, Rossi saying he and his rivals never complain about the bike. They all do, to some extent. 'I could not get a good feeling from the front....the rear was sliding too much....I struggle for grip....the tyres wore out too quickly....we lack power...we have too much power....' rinse, repeat. it's kind of standard pitlane speak for people that didn't finish on the top step and Rossi is no different from anyone else.

Being an Aussie I'm of course a Jack Miller fan but to be honest I found his shenanigans disturbing, obviously frustrated by the amount of people cruising on the racing line looking for a tow yet again, and lashing out. But what was more disturbing to me - at one stage the cameras showed Jack sitting in his pitbox, a thunderously black look on his face, with a white piece of paper taped up for the benefit of the cameras with the words 'No 1 Likes Me' scrawled in pen. Maybe I'm blowing this up a bit - but having followed Casey for all his MotopGP career - this is very similar to the same affliction that Stoner suffered from in the paddock. The more you think people are against you - even when they aren't - the more you push them away. Just hope that Jack is stronger and lives out his career to the fullest.

And really, really happy for Dani :)


Rossi was asked to make a comparison. His days at Honda compared to Marquez. He said Marquez gets all the credit but when Vale was at Honda everyone said it was the bike. The bike was the reason he kept winning championships, three in a row aboard a Honda.

Biaggi was the biggest whiner of them all, whining about Rossi having the best bike, and that was the only reason he kept winning. But then Max got a RC211V and still couldn't beat Rossi so it was all a bunch of bs. In 2003 he was on the Camel Honda and continued to whine that his bike wasn't the same spec as Rossi's factory bike. Rossi offered to switch bikes for a race, Honda said no. Rossi went to Yamaha, left the V5 with a bow tied on it, and still beat Biaggi. Then Biaggi went to Repsol and got beat some more.

From 2001 through 2005 the excuses ranged from, "he has the best bike", then it was "he grew up on those tracks", then "he has the best crew chief", or "overnight tires!" Meanwhile all the factory riders got overnights from Michelin. Hayden revealing this to Jules. There was always an excuse from competitors. That became silence when spec tires were introduced and Rossi again, continued to win races, and championships.

So again, in the press conference the journalist asked Rossi about this. On how come Marquez gets all the credit for being a genius rider while when Rossi was at Honda dominating it was all the bike. He said he didn't understand the difference.

Marquez copped it in Moto2 with allegations of cheating going on with his bike. Also, he's on the best bike now, and there are plenty of people questioning how he'd be if he didn't have the golden path laid out in front of him. Also, I think it is pretty rich for Rossi to 'not understand' because he completely does. If his rivals got the better of him the Italian press machine were pretty quick to point their finger at 'the bike'. Think 2007, it started by the 2nd or 3rd race. By the time Marquez came into MotoGP, Rossi was already beatable so Rossi hasn't been in a position to assert his pre-ordained eminence.

Great MotoGP race, pity Marc Marquez did not at least finish on the podium. But this had to happen sometime. Good to see Pedrosa win though I would have preferred a Yamaha win because that would have been breaking the grip of Honda on the Championship as well. Hope Crutchlow is not so destroyed mentally that he can't find form on the LCR Honda next year.

My main problem is with Moto2. What is this category anyway? I can understand the reasons why it was introduced in this way in the first place. But what I cannot understand is its continuance in the same format. Why cannot Dorna let people choose their own engines? That would add some variety to the grid. Moto2 represents dumbed down racing in its worst form. Please Dorna show some imagination. If find it so ridiculous to see a motorcycle being called Suter, Kalex etc. If Suter can build an entire motorcycle for Mahindra in Moto3, is it not possible for them to do an entire motorcycle as well? So maybe the chassis makers can also become engine constructors by collaborating with Oral, Ilmor, AVL, Ricardo and Rotax etc. Then it will all make sense.

This hasn't been the best season obviously and the past 2 races were definitely snoozers, but Germany was pretty exciting watching Aegerter and Kallio fight it out. last year and the year before the moto2 races were the best reasons to watch imo. despite what we've seen this year the races are usually way closer.
i think one of the big problems is that this year all the "stars" are gone. first it was Bradl and Marquez, then Pol and Redding and Iannone and now you've got Rabat, who i really don't know much about, Aegerter who just one his first race ever, Kallio, old hat. Really their biggest "star" is in his rookie season and is leaving for Suzuki right after.
And you're right, there is little to no creativity as far as the bikes go. And I HATE seeing the chassis names showing up as the "manufacturer". BUT what i love about moto2 is that everyone is on "equal" machinery. I always wonder what would happen if you put Pedrosa, Rossi, Lorenzo, Marquez, hell, even the rest of the field on a (well, it would have to be nuetral machinery so lets say) BMW S1000RR for a weekend and see who wins the race on Sunday. Like an IROC-Z series! haha
and i think moto2 is the closest we get. i like that they're all on the same engine. but at the same time i think the series has matured and is stable enough now that they really should consider starting to let other engine manufacturers in.
The other problem the series has is apparently riders are pointing out it really isn't the greatest way to transition into GP which was exactly the point.

I'm actually starting to get kinda sick of moto3. I mean sure theres tons of passing and theyre 6 wide heading into most turns, but you might as well just flip it on for the last 5 minutes haha the first 90% is exciting but means nothing. Hell most these tracks it could be any of the 5 to 10 guys who came out of the last turn decent. Which is great, but makes me think that the bikes are hindering some great talent and polishing some well not so great talent.

Anyway, I'll say this, don't give up on moto2! it'll get better :)

Rabat is such a nice guy, I met him when working on the Dover ferries as they returned from Silverstone a few years ago. Stood on the car deck chatting away for ages, even forgot to do my job :-)

I still have his hat, and he has one of my P&O woolly hats as I thought that was a fair exchange!

The old guard always moves on, and new names have to be assimilated into our discussions.

Of course riders are going to move on and I just feel this crop in particular has less... personality (?). I know it's not a popularity contest but the previous years just felt like there was more rivalry. Redding vs Pol, Marquez vs Pol vs Redding vs Iannone, and Marquez vs Bradl. The Rabat vs Kallio battle doesn't intrigue me as much. Just an opinion/observation.
Cool you got to talk to Rabat though! I don't dislike him or anything, I just haven't (as you said) assimilated with this group :)

Marc VDS seem a tremendously professional team, and are obviously putting a lot of money into it. I've read in a couple of places that they are like a GP team in a Moto2 paddock, with Pons the only other team you could attribute that to.

By extension I think their bikes are pretty well sorted. It will be interesting to see if, when Marc VDS go to GPs as they are predicted to, less funds are available for Moto2 and so we see a little bit of a more level playing field with the other teams.

Not saying this is the only reason that the Marc VDS riders (who are both extremely fast) are at the front every weekend but I think it is certainly part of it.

I know what you mean R6, when Doohan retired I thought it was the end of the world but after a few seasons without focus the natural order resumes again for the next generation of riders and rivalries.

Tito and Kallio are never going to be econtroversial enough - we need some of these arm waving angry Moto3 characters to head on up!

is all about making sure it remains a career path for the Moto3 aces. So Dorna should not get excited about any of them being fast tracked into MotoGP.

Have to hand it to the kid for making it "look" so simple. Without doubt, it was a great set of 3 competitors to be ahead of for the 10 races, race after race. And it's good to see that he is more level headed than the press. Everybody kept saying that Dani beat him. But that wasn't the case, with him and Dani fighting for the top step. Three riders beat him in the race and not just Dani ending his streak and that's the way he saw it too. BTW when he was lining up at the starting grid it looked like he was testing his front and looking at it quizzically. That was right then when I wanted to change my bet.

Marc (and most of them) do that every race. Marc does three hard pulls on the front brake, and then is looking at the front to check his wheel position on the grid slot marking.

not to call a guy out but what was that DP26 "moderate rider" garbage you were talking about? Must've been all the bike

I have enjoyed Moto3 the most but as usual the headline is on MotoGP.
As much as it was exciting to see the streak going on I am very happy for Dani who got the win and hopefully the credit he deserves.
On a good day he's almost unbeatable (unless maybe Marquez is too).

The bashing between Marquez and Iannone was good, two real fighters! When Andrea will find a bit more speed and mature a bit he can step up as a podium contender.

I have a feeling Marc will be soon back at the front .....

BTW I have never heard any of the top rider saying "I lost to Marc because he's on a Honda" but rather "we are not fast enough in ...." which is a different thing. So it would be unfair to say that Jorge, Dani or Vale said that. Rossi in particular has praised Marquez talent many times.

Great run by Marquez...Finally, in his 29th MotoGP race, he actually missed on his setup a little. Absolutely amazing that he went this long without suffering through this and missing a podium (he had podiums in the bag at PI and Mugello last year before the incidents). Shame to see his win streak end since the championship is all but an inevitability barring something very unfortunate happing.

Nothing surprised me about this race. We all know that on the days when everything clicks for Pedrosa, he is nearly unbeatable. His problem is that on the days when it doesn't click, he doesn't seem to get the maximum out of his package. His riding this weekend was very impressive, even fun to watch as far as watching Pedrosa goes (his style seemed more spectacular than usual this weekend, looked like he might actually get a shoulder down LOL), and good to see him get to celebrate, it had been a long time having to watch the other side of the garage celebrating and laughing every single weekend.

To me, the thing that most stands out after this race is the continued consistency and pace of Rossi. Last year, on only two occasions, did he beat any one of Marquez, Lorenzo or Pedrosa, at Qatar and Assen. We had all but written him off. But this year, he has beaten at least one of those three in every race except two, Argentina and Germany. What he is doing at this age and with such humility is bringing so much to this sport. To see all his fans going nuts at the track, and his humor and personality throughout the weekend is fantastic (yes, I'm a fan of Rossi). He is comedic gold in in what would otherwise be boring press conferences. If he can just dig deep and find a couple tenths in the second half of this year and going into next year, we could be in for some real excitement.

Excitement...I will watch every race with the same excitement as always, but now that Marquez lost his win streak, it will be interesting to see what gets us all excited in these remaining races...I mean excitement other than the fastest dudes in the world sliding 200 HP motorbikes around within centimeters of each other. :)

Not sure if it was Estoril? He had got the lap count wrong and therefore the timing of his attack. He didn't get up early (must have realised when he didn't see the chequered flag) but he reckoned it cost him the race.

Sean Emmett's in BSB was a good one, doing a celebration crossing the line to win but then nearly lost control and got passed on the line finishing second.

Re. Rins - has there been any clarification of who was at fault? BT Sport mentioned that the team were 'apologetic' which would seem to imply it was their error.

Great write-up by way David!

I think that was 'commiserating'. There was a suggestion they gave him the wrong count-down on his board, but they later said it was Rins' own error.

He really is unbeatable on his day. But his days are few and far between, as always.

I was a bit confused by the way the post-race press conference ended. Rossi said something I didn't catch then stood up, winked at the audience and walked away thus ending the conference. Pedrosa and Lorenzo seemed surprised but amused as did Nick Harris and certainly Rossi didn't seem annoyed. Perhaps he was eager for a post-race painkiller for his finger.

That was part of my comment earlier about Rossi and his personality. He basically brought the press conference to a close on his own, even though some people still had more silly questions to ask. I think he said "basta" which is short for "enough" in spanish and I guess Italian too.

Throughout the press conference, the way Pedrosa and Lorenzo laughed at his jokes and reacted when he stood up implied to me that they really appreciate his personality and have a lot of respect for him (my interpretation).

When he passed Marquez on the home straight??? I just wanted to know what that was, it wasn't a glance over it looked like he was staring a whole through him! Couldn't tell if it was a "c'mon lets do this!" or a "haha! I got YOU now!"
Did anyone else catch that?

I think he said that he had trouble getting his tear-off free and was looking to see if it was behind him. I wouldn't put it past him to tease another rider even at speed but he is generally playful rather than hurtful...unless you're Biaggi...or Gibernau...or...

Okay let me revise that - He is now, as the old man of MotoGP, generally playful rather than hurtful.

I'm actually rewatching the race as I'm typing this, and I think you're 100% after second inspection it does look like he was just having a lil trouble with the tear off. Good call

Could well be VR was having tear-off trouble, but having been behind Marquez for so long and seen him struggling I wonder if he was trying to check out the state of his tyres. He seemed to be looking down at the front of MM's bike rather than back at the rider.

David, if you are reading this; I would love to read about detailed elaboration of riders debriefs once they come back to box. What they are talking about? and more importantly how they talk about? I'm not sure if it is even possible to sanitize the full script going on, but if it is it would be awesome to learn about. Of course it would be mega to have comparative scripts among the riders, but if not, even the script of a rider is more than great.

P.S: For the effectiveness of the Moto2 class; if it wasn't would we have seen a riding style likes of MM93?

Does anyone considered that perhaps Marquez are actually playing possum by letting himself in 4th position ? He said it himself that it annoy him hearing media poking about winning streak and records. Last year he is away from podium only 2 times in mugello and phillip island..also after recent victories he seem to be more eager to talk about his brother Alex win..it appears that so many podiums starting to feel bland and he might need some adrenalin shot to keep him enjoy a true motogp competition by playing mind games and letting his rival wins -or closing the points? Perhaps he realize that him riding on different level and make his rivals looks like amateur, starting to bored the spectator and the show.. after all fans tend to give better salutes on hard-earned title chase with close battles and high tension, rather than walk in park style.

Marc Marquez hated finishing fourth. I can assure you he did not do that on purpose. We spoke to him both after the race and after the test, and it was clear from his body language that he really, really hated finishing fourth.

I'm surprised at the suggestion. HRC would be able to tell from the telemetry - its not like football or baseball where you can just miss and no-one knows why (except you). The Japanese would be exceedingly upset. Of course, his half-brother may have owed loads to a drug gang, and he had to allow them to win a bet, and he had Suppo's agreement, because otherwise....or perhaps it was Suppo's idea, because the mafia wanted to win a bet.......
Must be a book here somewhere....