Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin after the tenth round of the championship:
Master-class win for Marquez at Brno with Pedrosa second to complete a Repsol Honda Team 1-2
Marc Marquez took a back-to-back victory at Brno today in challenging conditions, his third this year and the 58th in his career, extending his championship lead to 14 points over his closest follower.
It was the fifth flag-to-flag race that Marc has perfectly mastered thanks to a mix of tactics, determination, and teamwork (Assen 2014, Misano 2015, Argentina and Sachsenring 2016, Brno 2017). On this occasion the Spaniard found himself struggling soon after the lights went off, having fit a soft rear tyre that he wasn’t at ease with on a drying track. He therefore decided to change bikes quite soon and entered the pit on lap two, where his team was ready with his second bike fitted with slick tyres. That allowed him to pull a great gap on his opponents, which he managed until the chequered flag.
To complete the excellent day of the Repsol Honda Team, Dani Pedrosa achieved a strong second place, bringing his career podium tally to 150 (and his MotoGP podium tally to 109, one more than Jorge Lorenzo). Dani switched to his second bike on lap four and re-entered the race in eighth position. He immediately started riding at a very fast pace, fighting his way forward to second and setting the fastest lap of the race along the way.
Marc and Dani were happy to have been able to honour the “Maestro” Angel Nieto, 12+1 World Champion, with their great performance. Nieto passed away on Thursday.
Tomorrow the Repsol Honda Team will remain at Brno for a one-day test before heading to the Red Bull Ring for the next Sunday’s Austrian GP.
“This was a very special Sunday because everyone was racing for Angel Nieto, but it was also a very challenging race. On the grid, I took the risk to use the soft rear tyre because I thought it would give me extra grip for five laps before pitting to change bikes, but it didn’t go like that. I soon started to struggle a lot and lost many positions. When I saw that, I decided to immediately get in and take the risk of the slicks. When I re-joined the race, honestly it was still too damp in some parts and I nearly crashed during the first lap out. When you go out for the flag-to-flag, it’s so difficult to get the feeling with the bike again, but I tried to quickly understand the grip. Honestly, today I took some risks but it was one of those days when you just have to do it. After pulling a great gap, I just tried to manage, to ride well, and to finish the race. I’m really very happy with the result. It’s a track I normally struggle at, one I worry about every year, and getting 25 points was very important. Thanks to the team for another great job! We did the correct strategy during the summer break, coming here to test, and we arrived here prepared. We’re improving step by step. The Championship is still very, very tight; we must be able to be fast in every condition.”
“This weekend we were competitive in all situations, yesterday in qualifying and today, with this podium. I’m really very happy with the performances and with how I felt on the bike. I’m generally feeling stronger than in the first part of the season. We must improve some details—today it was knowing the right lap to stop on, but we’ll learn from it. Normally, when it’s still a bit wet and you have to switch to slicks you must be super focused and super committed. This is usually a strong point for Marc, as he’s always very good in these conditions; we have to be able to keep the same concentration in the future because these details are very important. Anyway, thanks to the team and to Michelin for the amazing feeling I had on the bike. We lost five points to Marc on top but we recovered some on our other rivals. I think the strategy of the team to come test during the summer break was right, as it was good to have the bike setting, especially at this track. We also improved on some little details of the bike and now I feel more comfortable going into the second part of the season. Now we have to not focus too much on the Championship and just concentrate and perform well at every race.”
Movistar Yamaha Clinch Third and Fourth in Czech Flag-To-Flag
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Maverick Viñales turned a difficult weekend around with a superb performance today at the Monster Energy Grand Prix Ceské republiky, working his way up to third place in a thrilling flag-to-flag race. Teammate Valentino Rossi was leading the race in the early stages and also put up a strong fight after swapping bikes, to ultimately cross the line in fourth place.
Starting the race from seventh on the grid, Viñales slotted into sixth position after the first corner. He followed his teammate past Dani Pedrosa to fifth on the opening lap, but it soon became clear the track was too dry for the wet tyres to last.
The Yamaha rider quickly headed into the pits after lap 4 to switch bikes. Back on track in 13th place, he quickly got back into the groove and gained positions as other riders came in to change bikes a lap later. He soon circulated in eleventh place and was on the move with 17 laps to go. Putting his head down, he rode a superb race. The Spaniard carried a strong pace over the next nine laps and climbed up to third, dropping a personal best on lap 16, followed by a fastest race lap of 1'57.052s. However, he was unable to close the gap to the front riders and crossed the line in third place, 18.135s from first.
Rossi had a decent start from second position, in what was declared a wet race, taking fifth place after the initial run up to the first corner. He quickly picked up a place on the opening lap and started chasing the top-3. The Doctor was flying on his second lap, passing Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez as the sun broke through the clouds.
With 20 laps ahead of him, the Italian found himself in second place, with a 1.4s gap to Jorge Lorenzo. Riding faster than anyone on track, he closed right up and took over at the front on lap 4, but had to come in to change bikes a lap later. The nine-time World Champion rejoined the pack in 14th place. Over the next 17 laps he was the star of the race, cutting through the field like a knife through butter to ultimately secure fourth position, finishing just off the podium, 20.466s from the front.
Today's race results see Viñales hold second place in the standings, 14 points from first and eight points ahead of Rossi, who holds fourth in the championship. Yamaha retains the lead in the Constructor's rankings, by nine points, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team currently lies in second place in the Team's classification, five points from the lead.
The MotoGP paddock will now move on to Spielberg, Austria, for the Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich, held at the Red Bull Ring next weekend.
Position: 3rd - Championship: 2nd - Points: 140
"I'm really happy. Honestly, third was the best we could do today. Our target was to be on the podium and we did it. We were struggling during the whole weekend. Finishing third on a tough weekend is a good result. We have to be on the podium, this has to be the norm if we want to win the championship title. I came in a little bit late, I think, but at the same time as Dani Pedrosa and some other riders, so it was good for the overall result. The track was drying out really fast. It might have been better to stop a little bit earlier, but this is the first time I finish a flag-to-flag race on the podium, so it gives me a lot of experience. In Austria it's going to be really important to have a good feeling and a good weekend, and winning on Sunday will also be really important. I think all the podiums today were dedicated to Ángel Nieto, because he was really important and one of the best."
Position: 4th - Championship: 4th - Points: 132
"It is always difficult in these conditions in a flag-to-flag. It for sure isn't our strongest point, this type of racing, but in the end the result is not so bad. We improved a lot from the last flag-to-flag and I finished fourth, but I think that before the end of my career we can defeat this flag-to-flag race situation! Anyway, I think that in a full dry or full wet race I can fight for the podium for sure. It remained a good weekend, because we worked well in the box. I felt good with the bike, that's important, and I was strong on the wet and on the dry. The race was very hard, I pushed from the beginning to the end. It's a shame that we could have taken more points and arrived on the podium, but it's like this and in this condition fourth place is not so bad."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"Our riders both were comfortable on their bikes today. They were on the pace right from the start of the race, but it soon became clear that they would have to switch back to slicks. Flag-to-flag races are by nature uncertain and a gamble. Maverick came in a lap earlier than Vale, but in the heat of the moment this is always a difficult decision to make for both the team and the riders, especially if you're leading the race. Our riders both rejoined mid-field after switching bikes and showed their speed. As soon as they had their tyres up to temperature they rode solid lap times, even dropping into the low 1'57s. It was a shame that the changing track conditions played such a big role today. We aim to fight at the front again at the Austrian Grand Prix next weekend."
Sixth place for Andrea Dovizioso in Czech GP at Brno. Jorge Lorenzo finishes in fifteenth
Andrea Dovizioso took his Ducati Desmosedici GP machine to a sixth place finish in the Czech Grand Prix, which was held today at the Brno circuit. The race, which was declared ‘wet’ by Race Direction, started on a damp track surface but this soon dried out, and the outcome was decided above all by the different strategies chosen by the riders and the teams for the change-over of the bikes.
Andrea Dovizioso powered away well from the second row and crossed the line at the end of the opening lap in third place. The Italian then came back into the pits to change his bike on lap 6 and he returned to the race in fifteenth place, managing to recover to sixth overall after passing Petrucci two laps from the end.
Jorge Lorenzo had an unlucky race, after the Spanish rider had led for the first three laps and then returned to the pits on lap 5. Unfortunately a setback during the bike change-over lost him precious time in the pit-lane, Lorenzo returned to the track in nineteenth place, a fair distance behind the other top riders, and in the end he could only make it back up to fifteenth overall.
In the overall standings Dovizioso remains in third place, twenty-one points behind leader Marquez, while Lorenzo drops to tenth with 66 points.
The Ducati Team riders will stay behind tomorrow to take part in a one-day official test at the Brno circuit and then the MotoGP circus will head to the Red Bull Ring at Zeltweg for next Sunday’s Austrian GP.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 6th
“Unfortunately it was a complicated race and we were unable to decide the right strategy. For sure I should have come in before and changed to medium slicks like my rivals did. When I returned to the track and realized that I was in sixteenth place it was a bit tough, but I gritted my teeth and pushed hard until the end to bring home at least a sixth place. Even the ten points we scored today could be useful for the championship but to be honest, after the way the weekend had gone up until this morning, we could have got a lot more from this race.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 15th
“Today’s race was a real shame. The weather was so unpredictable and it stopped raining when I was really fast on the damp track. I felt pretty good and I think we could have been able to fight for the win if the conditions had remained the same. Then we made an error with the bike change, because when the team signalled to me to return to the pits the bike wasn’t ready and we lost a bit of time, which ruined the rest of my race. For sure we’ll learn from this negative experience and won’t repeat the same error, but the positive thing from this weekend is that we were always competitive, both in the wet and the dry. Now we’re going to a circuit, where we should be amongst the favourites and so we’ll do everything possible to demonstrate it in the race.”
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN THE RACE, TAKING A GOOD EIGHTH PLACE FINISH IN BRNO DESPITE A PENALTY
ROMANO ALBESIANO: “ALEIX PENALISED BUT NOT AT FAULT”
At the end of a largely positive weekend, partially because of performance in the practice sessions, Aprilia takes a nice eighth place finish with Aleix Espargaró. But the final result on the Brno track could have been better if Aleix had not received a penalty that forced him to give up three positions in the race.
The measure was taken because, in the hectic moment when the riders were changing their bikes in the flag-to-flag race, Espargaró had left pit lane just as Andrea Iannone arrived behind him, also coming in due to the changed track conditions (from wet to dry). Close to their respective garages, the two touched and Iannone lost control of his bike. But Aleix could not see who was coming in behind him, so he suffered a penalty by no fault of his own which also led to him losing the good pace which had, until that moment, permitted him to stay among the protagonists of the race, even occupying second place at one point and battling for the spots near the podium. Sam Lowes finished his first flag-to-flag race 18th.
"The race was complicated from the start. I did not get off the line very well, but in the early laps I was making up ground. Then the track began to dry out rather quickly. I thought about going in straight away, even though I don't really like using slicks on a damp track. In any case, I was one of the first to change bikes, but unfortunately, the episode in pit lane involved Iannone. Luckily, there were no physical consequences for him and the guys on his team, but it is not easy to manage such a hectic situation. We will talk about it in Safety Commission. It seems appropriate to think of some change that would make the flag-to-flag situation less chaotic. In the second part of the race, I was unable to be incisive, both because I was using the less updated bike with which I had less feeling and because of the soft tyre choice on the rear that kept me from pushing. We definitely lost out on a good chance for an even better result, but finishing in the top ten in these difficult conditions is still an important confirmation of our level."
“The conditions today were very strange. We started in the wet, but the track dried out incredibly fast. In hindsight, maybe starting directly with slicks would not have been such a risk. In any case, this was my first flag-to-flag and I learned a lot from this new experience. You have to instantly adapt to a very different bike. Unfortunately, the evolutions that Aprilia brought this weekend were installed on the wet bike, so I did not have the same feeling. In any case, it was useful for me to confirm the big step forward with the new package, which certainly has greater potential."
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
“From a technical and competitive point of view, this was a very positive weekend overall. We were fast in all the sessions and in qualifying too. Without the crash, Aleix would have been able to start from the second or third row. The race, as always in these cases, was a lottery, but we did well with our strategy. We are firmly in a good position that it well within the top ten. We are truly pleased with the nice step forward that the RS-GP made in this race. Unfortunately, we were penalised for an episode where the rider was not at fault. And this is also a situation that must be reconsidered. When many riders come into pit lane together to change bikes, chance plays too big a role. With this penalty, Aleix lost not only the positions, but also valuable time and, most importantly, his concentration and the good pace that he had shown up to that moment.”
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
“It was a good race and we are happy with the result. The bike has grown a lot. Aprilia Racing has worked hard and well and today we are even closer to the leaders, even if we have still not fully expressed our potential. A pity about the episode with Iannone where neither rider was at fault. From this point of view, the penalty inflicted on the rider is entirely unfair. A remedy and set rules for this situation will need to be found, but it is clear that the rider was not to blame.”
RINS CLOSE TO THE TOP TEN WHILE IANNONE STRUGGLES AFTER A CRASH
Team Suzuki Press Office – Aug 6.
Alex Rins: 11th place – +33.290
Andrea Iannone: 19th place - +1'23.346
There are bittersweet feelings in Team SUZUKI ECSTAR after the Czech Republic GP, where a flag-to-flag race saw an upbeat Rins finish in 11th place and a very unlucky Iannone in 19th.
When the race was declared wet, all riders started with their rain tyres and wet setup. Rins held his starting position early and Iannone was able to improve his position. From the very beginning of the race, the track began to dry out, so the riders started to enter the pits to swap bikes. Iannone entered the pits and crossed paths with another rider who was leaving his garage, thus incurring a slide and crash that damaged his machine. He was also injured when struck both in the head and leg. In the accident he also hit Rins’ GSX-RR, which fell to the ground damaging the handlebars.
Iannone was able to rejoin the race but with a significant delay that prevented him from improving on his position, despite his lap time in the end of the race being in line with the riders in the top ten. The damage to Rins’ machine also complicated his race; however, the young Spaniard was able to fight for the top ten. Only at the last turn of the race did his position drop and he had to settle for 11th place.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
“This weekend was very important as it was the beginning of the second half of the season. The race was again in very difficult conditions, as it was a flag to flag. In these conditions Alex did a very good job. It’s a pity he couldn’t finish in the top ten, just at the end. But he managed to fight in the middle group and for sure this taught him a lot. It is also a good improvement for us and his crew. Andrea did a good job this weekend. With the new solutions we brought from Japan, we would have been able to improve our performance and take a step forward with the bike, but in the end the accident in the pit lane affected the race and removed all his chances, despite his good pace. On the positive side, we feel we increased our capability. We have one day of testing here tomorrow when we will try to finalize these improvements and then go to Austria with renewed enthusiasm.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“This has been a very unlucky weekend for Andrea. Everything happened. Yesterday he had a problem with the bike in qualifying and today the crash in the pit lane, where he hit leg and head, compromising his race. Moreover, at the race start the spare bike had the same wet setting of the race bike, and when Andrea entered the pit to swap the bike the dry setting was not ready yet and we lost some more time. Also Alex’s race was compromised by this race accident, because during the crash in the pit lane Andrea’s bike hit Alex’s bike, which also fell on the ground and the right handlebar was bent. Alex then had to ride with a machine which was not in its optimal condition. This is why we were affected with both riders by the accident. Not withstanding, we consider ourselves happy for the positive weekend of Alex. I hope it has been an important step in his growth. He gave up tenth position only in the very last lap. He managed the bike swap well and did it at the right time. He kept a consistent pace and yesterday he missed the Q2 by only 0.006s. Let’s hope that this weekend will represent a good starting point for Alex to mature, while with Andrea we will make the most of tomorrow’s test not only for testing new solutions for the bike, but also to cancel out this race and move on.”
“It has been a very complicated race because of the weather conditions. When we entered in the pit lane to change motorbikes we were well placed and I felt strong. After changing the bike, in the first few laps, it felt very strange and I couldn’t make sense of it. I could not keep up the rhythm I had and I did not know why. When I returned to the box it was explained to me that Andrea’s bike had hit my bike during the fall, and the handlebars had been damaged. So in spite of everything I am happy with what we have been able to do this weekend. We have taken an important step forward in the set-up and I have been able to enjoy a lot of driving thanks to the team's work.”
“I think I've made a good start. I'm satisfied with the positions I got back in the first laps. I think we could have had a good race. I entered the pits on the fourth lap, but we encountered the unfortunate situation that as I was entering, Aleix Espargaró was leaving. To avoid each other, I had to break on top of a draining grate; otherwise I would have hit him. In these cases the regulation speaks clearly and the Race Direction has already taken measures. I could not do more than I did. Anyway, even if we had not had this problem, our race would have been compromised because the bike was not ready with the dry setup and this is not a matter of bad luck. I am happy because I see a lot of work from Japan and they try hard to give me a competitive bike. Tomorrow we have a very important test and we will try to understand how we can improve for the future.”
First top ten result in MotoGP for KTM at Czech GP as Oliveira takes podium in Moto2
RACE 10th Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Automotodrom Brno (CZE)
In their tenth MotoGP race the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team reached their second-half-of-the-season target with a fantastic ninth place in one of the trickiest Grand Prix seen in many a years. Pol Espargaro rode bravely and brilliantly on his KTM RC16 in difficult conditions to take the ninth spot, KTM's best so far in the hugely competitive top class of motorcycle Grand Prix racing. In Moto2, another brilliant podium was taken by Miguel Oliviera on his KTM Moto2 bike to make it five podiums from ten races in the first year of KTM in the middle class. Moto3 saw Bo Bendsneyder lead the race strongly on the KTM RC250 GP before ultimately finishing just off the podium in fourth. But there is no rest as all three Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Teams look forward to their home race in Austria next weekend. Spielberg awaits!
KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer had a target for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing MotoGP team to get a top ten finish in the second half of the 2017 season, and that was achieved today at Brno with Pol Espargaro gaining a brilliant ninth position. All riders had to change motorcycles as the race had started under wet conditions but the strength of the summer sun soon made a dry line appear. Once on the a bike with dry settings and slick tyres, he bravely pushed on and but for a run off-track lost him around six seconds, he may well have been even higher at the flag, but before the team go into their home race on the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg next weekend today has been a great result. Espargaro also set his fastest lap time just 0.9 secs off the fastest lap of the race. All these results have lifted the team enormously as on going technical progress is made and the KTM RC16 motorcycle edge further up the results sheets. Team mate Bradley Smith rode equally as bravely once on the 'dry bike' but didn't quite have any luck as he had a technical problem with the bike with just one lap remaining that prevented him seeing the chequered flag.
Espargaro: "I am super happy for the team and everyone involved in this MotoGP project. Remember we started our first race in Qatar ten races ago and we finished; then we got points in Argentina and now we get a top ten in August at Brno. It's real today! After I changed bikes I made a mistake and lost six seconds going through the gravel, but away from that we've done a super job this weekend. I'm happy that I rode well this weekend but the team have done such an outstanding job. The bike is so good on the brakes but we're still missing something on the cornering but here today with what we have after ten races it was working very well. After the recent tests we can all feel the difference and upward direction in the level of the bike. In fact, we thought that after the test Mika (Kallio) had here we thought we would struggle a bit here but with what we did at Aragon it's meant the bike is so much better already. I'm riding the bike differently and more effectively and that is making the combination a tighter package. Now to Austria: Can't wait."
Smith: "These conditions make it very difficult and stressful for the whole team as it doesn't make it easy with so many different scenarios and so many ways to react. We had a long bike change after lap two but so soon after the start it doesn't give the crew a lot of time (to change the bike settings) but then later on the race wasn't going in its best direction only for the bike to have a problem so I decided it was better to save the bike and stop. What I do want to do is to congratulate the whole team on their first top ten; it's a huge amount of work from everybody. First of all, Pol is riding so he takes the majority of the credit but it's a huge team effort from not only here at the track but from the test team and everybody back at KTM Motorsport in Austria. So, a frustrating way to end the weekend as there have been many positives in the rain and also in the dry yesterday afternoon but we weren't quite able to show it today. Having said that, I'm looking forward to a full day of testing tomorrow here at Brno to work on something ready for the team's home Grand Prix in Austria next weekend."
Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsport Director): "I'm extremely happy with this special moment because this was a target for us to get into the top ten in the first season and even if it was a big target, it's now a reality. We've felt over the last races that we made steps, and then from the last test we made another step...but you only have it proven in a race, today being the point where you could see we made that step on a very difficult track for us. It's a two minute track here in Brno, but we knew we were competitive over the whole weekend and we knew we could race some of the top guys, so this is not a lucky punch as we fought hard for it. We made many passes from the start of the race so it's been a big payback for the team, the engineers and all the staff back at base in Austria. I think this has proven we're in the right direction but I can promise everyone we cannot and will not stop at his level."
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): "It was our target at the beginning of the year to at one time touch the top ten so to achieve that at the first race after the summer break is such a boost for the team, for the riders and for the belief in the project so it's unbelievable. I mean I think everybody who works on the MotoGP project is really super happy and it's really nice to see it working out. Things were very happy today on Pol's side of the garage while we feel for Bradley's side as it didn't work out in the way we expected, but races like today's usually see one rider in a good position as many things can happen. We now look forward to the home race for the team next weekend at Spielberg where there will be so many KTM staff with their families from the motorsport and production side of this amazing company. It is with their work and support that can enable us to push for results such as this today."
CRUTCHLOW CLAIMS FIFTH POSITION AT BRNO
PRESS RELEASE: 06 August 2017 | Brno Grand Prix
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow took fifth place at the Czech Republic Grand Prix on Sunday with conditions at a damp Automotodrom Brno proving decisive. After rain prior to the start, the race got underway on a drying track with riders having to make an early switch of tyres to compensate for the change. Marc Marquez’s gamble to switch to slicks earliest paid off as he went on to claim a convincing victory, with Crutchlow unable to battle for a repeat of the victory he secured at this venue last year having left it a little later.
Crutchlow’s efforts to make progress having pitted were held up by the Ducati of Danilo Petrucci which allowed his fellow Honda rider Dani Pedrosa to pull away from him. The Briton did eventually pass Petrucci, but was then overtaken by the factory Yamaha pair of Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi late on which meant he had to settle for fifth (Best Independent Team) and not the podium place he had been targeting.
Cal Crutchlow –5th
"It would have been nice to battle with Pedrosa for the podium. I came in when he came in and he did a better job of passing (Danilo) Petrucci on the restart than me. It was so difficult to pass the Ducati and once he (Pedrosa) got in front he was able to go and it took me ten more laps than him. Once I got past Petrucci I was also able to go harder, but Maverick had already passed me.
“I’m pleased with the weekend overall, to finish in the top five in Brno is good. But I did want the podium, I aimed for the podium and I didn’t get it so obviously I’m not best pleased. My team did a great job all weekend, so we have to thank Honda and the LCR team and now we go to Austria next week looking to do a good job.”
Challenging afternoon at the Czech GP for Tech3 duo
Jonas Folger produced a fully determined effort today in the dramatic Czech GP to finish inside the top ten despite the difficult circumstances. The young German leapt forward from the fifth row of the grid and quickly set into a strong race pace. He opted to swap to his dry bike shortly after the GP began due to the drying track, yet a miscalculation by the team forced him to pit again one lap later. The change over left him down in 21st, but he remained focused and ran a formidable rhythm that was comparable to the leading bikes, and he muscled his way up to 10th by the fall of the flag.
Meanwhile, Johann Zarco concluded the shootout in 12th. The rapid French rider undertook a strong start as he began the hunt for a top finish. The track proceeded to dry quickly and Zarco decided to take the risk and pit later than the rest of the field. He changed bikes on the seventh lap and rejoined the sprint in 16th, but then produced a solid pace and charged forward before crossing the finish line in 12th.
Position: 10th - Championship: 7th - Points: 77
“In the end my feeling on the bike was good, but it was a difficult race overall. When we began, it was wet but the track was drying up quickly. I was behind Marquez and I saw that he entered the pits so I decided to follow him in. Unfortunately, there was a mistake and I had to go through the pit lane but I couldn’t change bikes, so I had to pit again on the next lap. I lost some time but overall we found a good solution with the bike because we tried a different setting, which I have never tried before, so we took the risk to use this option in the race and it paid off. I rode some really good lap times, and I think that we could have been very competitive today, but I did a lot of work and overtook many riders. It was a shame about what happened but everyone makes mistakes, and this is racing. We still walked away with some championship points and we will try again in Austria.”
Position: 12th - Championship: 6th - Points: 88
"It was a tricky race and I can’t hide my disappointment. We started the GP with rain tyres and I felt good so I hoped that we wouldn’t have to pit and that I could manage the Grand Prix like this, even if it was drying. Yet, the track cleared up very quickly and the strategy was to come into the pit lane to change the bike but I did this one or two laps too late and I lost almost ten seconds. If this didn’t happen then I could have been inside the top six. It’s all about experience and it’s always complicated to analyse and know if it will rain or not. Valentino was in front of me and he pitted, so I thought that maybe if I did one more lap, it could be beneficial. Yet, I lost more time and this a shame, but it was important to finish the race, take some points and learn. I have gained a lot of knowledge this weekend and I need to stay cool so that I can be fast in Austria.”
“Today we have a bad feeling after the MotoGP race. I feel that we worked well throughout the weekend even though our qualifying positions were not ideal. Yet, we knew that the difficult weather and track conditions could benefit us. Jonas was very fast and he showed this in every session, especially at the right moments. Although he didn’t manage to make a fast lap for qualifying, his pace was really exciting and promising. He had an ok start, but the big turn of the race for the Tech3 team was when Jonas pitted and the bike, with the full slick tyres, was not ready so he had to do one more lap, which ended any hope for fighting for a top position. I was even more upset when I saw the times that he was running because his pace was strong and I don’t want to talk about what could have been, but if you look at his laps, then he would have been at the front and it would have been a podium for sure. I am really unhappy about this situation and in this kind of race you either lose it or win it with the strategy, and the bike should have been ready, which is easy to say now, but it needed to be. As for Johann, it was very exciting to see him fighting for the lead in the first part of the GP, but he made a mistake, in my opinion, because he should have pitted when Valentino did who was already late. If he had done this, it would have helped him to get a top five result. This weekend he was not as quick as his teammate because we saw that when Jonas caught and passed him, it helped Johann to up his pace. Anyway, this is a bad result for us today, and it was because we didn’t use our heads. I can only apologise to Jonas and the German fans and for Johann, he should watch what the experienced guys are doing in front of him.”
Miller pushes into the points at Brno
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller opened the second half of the MotoGP World Championship with a determined ride into 14th place in today’s Czech Republic Grand Prix.
The 22-lap race was started on a damp but quickly drying track as the threat of rain failed to materialise.
The conditions contributed to a thrilling and at times confusing race as riders tried to pick the right moment to stop for a bike swap and slick tyres.
Miller was one of the first to stop, switching to his second Honda RC213V as he quickly realised the conditions suited slick tyres.
But Miller’s clever move, virtually in parallel with race winner Marc Márquez, did not pay off, with a slow pit stop and then rear grip issues not allowing the Australian to maximise his race strategy.
Despite pushing through to ninth Miller struggled to keep the pace for a top ten finish and was frustrated not to be able to take full advantage of his early pit stop.
Miller eventually finished 14th and three spots ahead of teammate Tito Rabat, who also suffered with rear grip issues after his switch to slicks.
Rabat started 21st and was running a strong pace on rain tyres before making a later pit stop than Miller for slicks. Rabat played it safe to ensure he finished the race, just one second behind Ducati rival Scott Redding.
Jack Miller: 14th
“I lost some valuable seconds in the pit stop waiting for my second bike to be ready but still thought I had a chance of a top ten position. But then I found we did not have similar rear grip compared to practice when I could easily do 1’57s on an old tyre but in the race I could not match those times. The front felt really good but I had no rear grip and could not take advantage of my strategy. I tried to ride a smart race but a series of unfortunate issues cost me valuable points today.”
Tito Rabat: 17th
“The opening laps on rain tyres I did very well but after the change of bike to slicks I struggled a lot and made some mistakes trying to stay with the group. This track is not easy for me especially when I am riding alone. The main problem is a lack of feeling from the rear. At one point I had the possibility to follow Zarco and Lorenzo but I was too much on the limit to run the same pace. But we are working hard to understand the issue and I will never stop trying and I am now looking forward to the next race in Austria.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“Jack timed his pit stop perfectly making his switch to slick tyres at the same time as Marc Márquez. It was early and the team was not quite ready with the bike, which cost Jack a little bit of time. That was our mistake. But the main issue was the same as the warm-up; we could not create any rear grip, which meant that Jack could not take advantage of his race strategy. Tito stopped later than Jack but then had same issue with lack of rear grip. We need to understand the issue with this lack of grip and why it's not always consistent."
In an incredible #CzechGP Petrux and Scott battle for the podium but are unable to complete the mission
This Sunday at the Brno Circuit, the Octo Pramac Racing team was rich with emotions. After the initial morning drizzle, the race began under wet conditions but soon the circuit grew dry, forcing the riders to "flag to flag" by the third lap.
After a fantastic start, Petrux was in the leading group and Scott, albeit starting from the last row, was able to recover 10 positions in the first 2 laps.
In the fourth lap, the Brit entered the garage to swap his bike; the perfect decision that then enabled him to immediately jump to P2. Together with the leading group, Danilo entered into the garage on his fifth lap and immediately found a brilliant pace.
Scott’s rhythm was very competitive until the middle of the race when a technical issue with the exhaust affected his ability to be competitive, forcing him to end in the 16th position. Nevertheless, his race was still noteworthy.
Petrux raced towards the podium and ten laps from the end of the race, he overtook Espargaro and reached third place. As the rear tire started to drop, he became unable to defend himself from Vinales’ and Crutchlows’ attacks, and then those of Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso. This occurred two laps from the end of the race, subsequently robbing Danilo of being the first Ducati in the #czechGP.
7th – Danilo Petrucci
"It was a very difficult race. My one regret was that I did not have the courage to enter one or two laps prior to change my bike. We thought the circuit would have dried at a slower rate. I tried to keep up with the leading group and indeed for a couple of laps I was in the podium. I tried to be the first Independent rider and then the first Ducati but I was unable to. It is a shame but I am nevertheless very happy because we had a brillant race. I cannot wait until Austria".
16th – Scott Redding
"I feel as if I had a great race. I started really well and made the right decision to enter and change my bike. My pace was great and I felt confident amongst the riders in front. However, I did have an issue with my exhaust. I realised this when I tried to change to Map A in order to have more power. It is a huge shame because I was sure that I could have had a great race. I leave with my head held high this week and I hope to be this competitive in Austria".
Karel Abraham, 12+1 at Brno
Sunday, 06 August 2017 15:01
Pull&Bear Aspar rider runs as high as fourth in his home Grand Prix
The Pull&Bear Aspar Team paid its own homage to the late, great Ángel Nieto today with Karel Abraham taking the 12+1 position in his home Grand Prix. The Czech rider ran as high as fourth in a race that saw the riders start on wet tyres before switching to slicks after just a few laps. Abraham was one of the first in to change bikes, delighting the home crowd as he pushed towards the sharp end of the race, only for a technical issue to unfortunately cause the Brno rider to lose positions before crossing the line in 12+1.
Álvaro Bautista suffered difficulties from the start when he encountered a clutch issue that caused him to drop positions, before a brake problem and then a crash. The Spaniard had qualified in ninth position but was unable to round the weekend off positively and he leaves Brno with his mind already focused on the next round in Austria. Victory today went to Marc Márquez, who timed his bike change better than anybody to extend his overall series lead. Dani Pedrosa and Maverick Viñales joined him on an all-Spanish podium, the trio making a joint gesture to the sky in a touching tribute to Ángel Nieto.
12+1 Karel Abraham:“I think me and my team did a very, very good job all weekend. We made big steps and this morning in the wet I was not so fast but we knew exactly what to do. Before the race I was a little nervous because it started to rain and we had to start on wets but we made a plan and the bike was prepared perfectly. I had to take some risks but I overtook a couple of riders and made up some positions. The team made a great decision on timing the bike change and we came in at the perfect time. We were also fast to change the bike and I was able to push on the slick tyres. Again I was able to make up some positions but unfortunately after three laps I suffered a broken exhaust and the bike was not as good as we need from the bottom and I started to lose touch with Aleix. Then I was passed by some other riders, also in the last corner by Zarco, who was able to overtake me on the exit. It's a great shame because I believe we could have even finished in front of Aleix but we lost too much power at the bottom end. Anyway, I wanted points here and we got three. The team worked so well, we were just unlucky not to come away with more.”
Álvaro Bautista (DNF): “Everything went badly today. We had a problem with the clutch at the start and I lost a load of positions, then I started to feel good on the wet tyres and the track dried so we had to switch bikes. I don't know why but the brakes were sticking, it was a very strange feeling. I was close to coming in to the pits but I thought maybe it was a case of them overheating. In the end I went into one turn and lost the front. Now we have to look ahead to the next race, which thankfully is next week. It was difficult to ride with these problems today and even without the crash we probably wouldn't have scored points.”
Unlucky race for Reale Avintia Racing riders in Brno
The Reale Avintia Racing Team arrived in the Czech Republic eager to start the second half of the season on the right foot. On Friday, Hector Barbera had a great start and seemed to be set for a good weekend. On Saturday, Loris Baz got straight in Q2 and although Barbera failed his attempt, both riders were confident for the race. Rain would be a big help for them, because both had showed their speed in these conditions many times, and last season they achieved one of the best result for the team in MotoGP at Brno.
But in the race, both Reale Avintia Racing riders were unlucky. The rain stopped before the start and then both riders had problems when they came into the pits to swap their bikes. Hector had to come in again when he felt something was wrong with his bike and after two stops all chances of scoring points were lost. Loris hit one of his mechanics swapping bikes, but fortunately he was uninjured. Then he started to recover and was eleventh, but he lost three places later one and crashed out with six laps when he pushed to catch Jack Miller.
The MotoGP World Championship now heads to Austria next week for the eleventh round.The Reale Avintia Racing riders look forward to move on to Spielberg and put the Brno weekend behind them with a good result.
Hector Barbera | P20
“It was an up and down weekend. At some stages we seemed to go the right way, but then we got lost again. The race today was really difficult and nothing went as planned. The rain stopped before the start and it was like playing lottery. I decided to swap bikes early as I could see very quickly that the track was ready to go with slick tyres, but when I went out again something was wrong with the bike and I had to stop again. With two pit stops, the race was over for me. We had some positive aspects this weekend, the team is highly motivated and everybody wants to leave this unlucky string of races behind. Next week we have another opportunity and this time, we have to do our best on a track that suits my Ducati very much!”
Loris Baz | DNF
“It was difficult to make the tyre choice before the start. We always leave the bike with its rain settings when the track is damp and after a few laps we change for the second bike with dry settings. But the problem today was that the track was already dry on the first lap and it was time to pull in and swap the bike, but I had to wait until the bike was ready. I ended up coming in when most of the others did the same and during the change, I tore one of the mechanics to the ground. Leaving the pit lane, I was thinking of what just happened and I almost fell myself. I needed a couple of laps to find back to my concentration, but then I rode on in my normal pace. But this bike is difficult: We can do a single fast lap, but to strong many fast laps together is tough. It’s hard to get the bike to turn, we have a lot of chatter in the front and things get worse as the tyres wear off. I pushed a lot trying to catch Miller and I crashed. It’s a shame, but this is racing!”
MICHELIN SEES QUICK-CHANGE MARQUEZ TAKE BRNO GLORY
Michelin had its range of rain and slick tyres put through their paces during today’s MotoGP™ race at Brno as reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took victory in changeable conditions at the Monster Energy Grand Prix České Republiky.
The 22-lap race was declared wet and all riders started the event with MICHELIN Power Rain tyres. Marquez began from pole and was the only rider to choose the soft compound option rear tyre, which he paired with a medium front. He led into the first corner, but was passed by Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), who took the honour of leading the first time the riders went over the finishing line. The sun was now starting to shine and temperatures began to rise and start to quickly dry the track, as Marquez became the first rider to enter the pits and change to a bike fitted with MICHELIN Power Slicks. Using the front and rear medium compound option, he immediately put them to good use, cutting through the field and taking the lead on lap-six. He continued to push and soon had a 20-second advantage as all the other riders followed him into the pits to change to their respective machines fitted with slick tyres. Marquez controlled the race from the front and crossed the line to take victory and extend his lead in the championship.
With all riders choosing wet weather tyres from the start and then coming into the pits to change, it took a while for the race to settle down and positions to become clear in-front of the 87,541 fans at trackside. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) made his way through the field – after re-joining in eighth – to take second place. Third went to a hard-charging Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), the Spaniard was 13th after his pit-stop and pushed through to take third, his charge being highlighted as he set the fastest lap of the race on the 17th circulation. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was one of the last riders to come in and change bikes and he then had to set about passing other riders as he returned to the track in 14th. He did this with some impressive overtaking manoeuvres as he pushed his way to fourth at the chequered flag.
As the riders changed to their different machines within the flag-to-flag rule, the most popular pairing of Michelin slick tyres was the medium front and medium rear. Some riders chose to go with soft front and rear, whilst some others opted for medium front and soft rear, again highlighting the choice that is open to all competitors, teams and manufacturers.
Cal Crutchlow took fifth and the honour of First Independent Rider. Sixth went to Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), as he led Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Racing) across the line. Eighth was Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), a result which could have been better, but he was penalised three places following an unsafe release when he changed bikes in pit-lane. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) took an impressive ninth to give him and the KTM team their best result of the season and meant that five different manufacturers finished within the top-nine places. The top-10 was rounded out by Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3).
The three podium places were filled by Spanish riders, which was a fitting tribute to one of Spain’s, and motorcycle racing’s, greatest champions. MotoGP Legend Ángel Nieto sadly died this week following a quad-bike accident, the whole paddock gathered in tribute to the 12+1 World Champion this morning and pay their respects to a man who rode to success on Michelin tyres many times in his championship winning years.
Michelin will now remain at Brno for a one-day test around the 5,403m Brno Grand Prix circuit in the Czech Republic, before the whole paddock packs up and heads to Spielberg in Austria for round 11 of the championship next Sunday.
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:
“Today was a really tricky race, especially with it being a flag-to-flag. It was very complicated for all the riders as it was difficult to choose the tyres. I made a mistake because I chose the soft rear wet, it was too soft for the conditions so this meant I had to go in early and change. Then I started to get a rhythm with the slicks and this weekend I have felt good on the wet and dry tyres and this made a difference in the race because I felt confident. When I saw I had the gap I made sure I finished the race in a good way and with a strong rhythm. I am happy because Michelin gives us the stability with the tyres, this is important for all the riders and I am very happy with what they are doing.”
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“Today was very complicated with the weather, we had so many riders change their choice of wet tyres on the grid and then it started to dry and it was surprising how quickly some came in to change their bikes. The wet tyres worked well right at the start and after the Friday Free Practice in the rain, when we saw some very fast times, we were confident that would be the same today. Marc took an early decision to come in and that certainly paid off for him as he immediately started to set consistently fast times in the drying conditions. We were very happy to see this as it demonstrated the grip levels available on a cool – and in some places – damp track. The performances from the rest of the field with different compounds was also very pleasing and with Maverick setting the fastest time on lap-17 that was also a testament to the durability and showed no drop-off from the tyres. We will now have a one-day test here at Brno before we travel straight to Austria for the next round where we have a completely different challenge, but one we are more than ready for.
“Finally, on behalf of Michelin, I would like to pass on our condolences to the family and friends of Ángel Nieto, he was a great Michelin champion and will certainly be missed around the paddock and will be a great loss to racing.”