MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
Repsol Honda RC213V riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa repeated their one-two result at today’s Czech Republic GP at Brno, finishing in the same order as at Indianapolis one week ago, and improving their championship standing over third-placed Jorge Lorenzo.
The trio were spread by almost six seconds at Indy. Brno was much closer, and fierce from the first lap to the end. Marquez's Honda was 0.313 seconds ahead of team-mate Pedrosa, with Lorenzo less than two seconds behind – a feast of action for more than 142,000 fans packing the hillsides of the fast and scenic 5.403km (3.357-mile) circuit.
The battle raged throughout a thrilling 22 laps, during which spots of light rain brought out white flags (giving permission to change bikes if necessary) and hiked the tension even higher.
It stayed dry, however, as the Hondas battled with long-time leader Lorenzo's Yamaha.
The defending champion seized the lead from the second row of the grid, with third qualifier Marquez and fourth-fastest Pedrosa on his back wheel. The pre-eminent trio soon outpaced the pursuit, but remained locked in battle.
Marquez waited until the 16th lap before mounting his attack. He succeeded with a forceful move, only for Lorenzo to fight back in front two laps later. But it lasted only one lap before the 20-year-old reigning Moto2 champion reversed the positions finally.
Now it was Pedrosa's turn, and he too was successful in disposing of his long-standing rival. He closed right up on Marquez again, but ran out of time to mount a final attack.
It was star rookie Marquez's fourth win in a row, and his fifth this season. The last rider to win four consecutive races was Valentino Rossi in 2008, his last championship year, and the feat has never been achieved by a class rookie, none of whom has won five races either. Marquez has finished on the rostrum at every race this year bar one, crashing out of the Italian GP while lying second.
Marquez now has a cushion of more than one race win with a World Championship lead of 26 points over Pedrosa. The older rider had led the table until the German GP, where he was put out of the race after breaking his collarbone in practice – leaving the way open for the first of Marquez's consecutive victories.
Since then Pedrosa has been racing injured, bravely maintaining his own lead over Lorenzo in spite of the pain. He is 18 points clear, and his condition is improving race by race, in spite of an intensive restart to the season after the summer break. Brno was the middle of three races in three weekends, with the British GP at Silverstone next weekend. After the race Pedrosa said that this was the first time since he crashed that he could fight in the race rather than simply enduring the pain to finish.
Alvaro Bautista was the next-best Honda rider, finishing fifth, less than a tenth of a second behind Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) after the pair had duelled for much of the race – a repeat of their battle a week before at Indianapolis.
The Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V rider had qualified second, and was trading blows with Rossi to the end. The multi-champion only regained fourth on the final lap, with Bautista attacking to the end. The Spanish racer has a dual role with Honda, also race-developing Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, the only rider to use the Japanese equipment made by Honda associates.
German LCR Honda RC213V rider Stefan Bradl was sixth, after a lonely ride. Bradl claimed a career-best pole and second place two races ago at Laguna Seca, but found grip and confidence elusive at the difficult Brno circuit.
Australian grand prix first-timer Bryan Staring (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) was 20th on the Honda CBR1000RR-powered CRT machine, fighting to the end with Czech ART rider and former Moto2 GP winner Karel Abraham.
Tension lasted from the first lap to the last in the 20-lap Moto2 race. First-time winner in the all-Honda-powered class was Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), breaking away only in the last two laps from a seven-strong group.
Kallio had led from the third lap from pole qualifier Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), but had plenty of opposition as first Nico Terol (Aspar Team Moto2) took over for three laps; and later Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing). With three laps to go Kallio regained the lead, and by the finish managed to stay almost six-tenths of a second clear.
Nakagami was second, for a second race in a row, and Luthi third.
Inches behind the battle continued to the flag. Title contender Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) managed to hang on to fourth ahead of Frenchman Johann Zarco (Came Ioda racing Project Suter) and Terol; with Indianapolis winner Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) still close at the finish.
The race was a struggle for points leader Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), fighting in the front group until half distance, before dropping back with tyre chatter issues. He hung on for eighth, fending off a strong attack from Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up) and Sachsenring winner Jordi Torres (Aspar Team Moto2), who lost touch on the final lap.
Redding's points lead shrank from 26 to 21 as Espargaro slowly closes up, with seven rounds remaining.
Moto2 machines use identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines supplied by the organisers to guarantee close and reliable racing. In the Moto3 class, Honda faces rival manufacturers KTM and Mahindra.
Brno brought the best result of the year to the Honda hordes, with experienced French rider Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) qualifying on the front row, and finishing a close sixth, barely three seconds behind a close top five after catching and running with the leaders. Masbou is suffering from a broken scaphoid in his left wrist, the legacy of an old injury, and pain at the end meant he narrowly lost touch.
Masbou had displaced Australian Jack Miller (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda) from the front row in practice, and finished ahead of him in the race, and now equals him in the World Championship, where they each have 56 points as the most successful Honda riders.
Miller finished a gritty seventh in the race, losing touch with the leaders in the later laps. The teenager broke his collarbone at Indianapolis a week ago, had surgery the next day, and was racing despite the inevitable pain. He made a flying start from the second row, and was up to fifth before tyre grip issues forced him to slow.
Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 FTR Honda) was tenth in the next big group disputing eighth place; with Alessandro Tonucci (La Fonte Tascaracing FTR Honda) a close 12th, after displacing fast-starting John Mcphee (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda) on the final lap.
Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda) is third in the championship, but crashed out at Brno after another rider fell under his wheels. The Honda chase was left to Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda), 18th, with Alan Techer (CIP Moto3 TSR Honda) and Matteo Ferrari (Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) right on his back wheel in 19th and 20th.
The next race is the British GP at Silverstone in one week.
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|4||Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|5||Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)|
|6||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|7||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|8||Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)|
|9||Andrea IANNONE (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)|
|10||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|11||Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|12||Michele PIRRO (Ignite Pramac Racing)|
|13||Danilo PETRUCCI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|14||Hiroshi AOYAMA (Avintia Blusens)|
|15||Randy DE PUNIET (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|1||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|2||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|3||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing)|
|4||Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)|
|5||Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)|
|6||Nicolas TEROL (Aspar Team Moto2)|
|7||Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)|
|8||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|9||Simone CORSI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|10||Jordi TORRES (Aspar Team Moto2)|
|11||Xavier SIMEON (Maptag SAG Zelos Team)|
|12||Danny KENT (Tech 3)|
|13||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|14||Mattia PASINI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|15||Toni ELIAS (Blusens Avintia)|
|1||Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|2||Maverick VIÑALES (Team Calvo)|
|3||Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)|
|4||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|5||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|6||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|7||Jack MILLER (Caretta Technology - RTG)|
|8||Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox RW Racing GP)|
|9||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|
|10||Niccolò ANTONELLI (GO & FUN Gresini Moto3)|
|11||Efren VAZQUEZ (Mahindra Racing)|
|12||Alessandro TONUCCI (La Fonte Tascaracing)|
|13||John MCPHEE (Caretta Technology - RTG)|
|14||Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|15||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|