The hunt for the MotoGP championship title just got a little tighter with a win for Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa at this past weekend’s bwin Grand Prix Czech Republic in Brno, who crossed the finish line just ahead of current points leader Jorge Lorenzo following a dramatic last-lap battle to the finish.
Despite damp conditions earlier in the day, the premiere class enjoyed a dry racetrack under dark conditions at the 5.4km Automotodrom Brno circuit.
Factory Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo got off to a great start to claim the holeshot, while Pedrosa was quickly on his fellow countryman’s heals. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, who enjoyed a front row start, got off the line in third.
While Lorenzo and Pedrosa quickly started to separate themselves from the rest of the field, it was Factory Yamaha’s Ben Spies who would experience yet a further fun of bad luck as he lost positions quickly during the first lap of the race, this time due to a slipping clutch.
Cal Crutchlow managed to maintain a solid third place position, ahead of teammate Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati’s Valentino Rossi. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was involved in a tight battle for sixth with San Carlo Honda’s Alvaro Bautista, while Spies tried to climb his way back towards the top through the CRT machines.
Lorenzo would continue to lead for much of the first half of the race, with Pedrosa pacing the Factory Yamaha every step of the way. With 14 laps remaining, yet a further run of bad luck would strike Ben Spies, who low-sided his Yamaha and would not be able to finish the race.
With 12 laps remaining, Alvaro Bautista would get around Valentino Rossi for 6th place, while Stefan Bradl held steady in 5th, following Andrea Dovizioso in 4th.
With 11 laps remaining, Pedrosa made his move on Lorenzo to take the lead, cutting up the inside of the Factory Yamaha. Determined to hold on, Lorenzo held onto the wheel of Pedrosa, studying his opponent until the final lap of the race where he would make a dramatic last-lap pass to regain the lead. Pedrosa was relentless. With a quarter lap remaining on the last lap, the Repsol Honda rider made another pass to regain the lead and hold onto the checkered flag. Britain’s Cal Crutchlow trailed behind to round out the podium in third position—marking the first time in 12 years that a British rider has stood on top of the MotoGP podium.
Andrea Dovizioso would cross the line in 4th, followed by Stefan Bradl, Alvaro Bautista and Valentino Rossi. Top CRT honours went to Randy de Puniet aboard his Power Electronics Aspar machine. Defending World Champion Casey Stoner was absent from the race as he undergoes surgery on his ankle back in Australia due to an injury sustained at Indianapolis. Nicky Hayden also missed the Brno round as he is back home in the U.S.A. recovering from a concussion sustained at Indianapolis.
Dani Pedrosa commented on his win, “Today was one of my best races in MotoGP ever, to win with a big gap is always nice, but to have a battle like today with Jorge, it’s sometimes more rewarding. It was a difficult last lap because I knew that Jorge was very fast in the middle of the corner and I could hear the bike right on me and I knew that just the smallest gap would allow him to pass. In fact, in that left corner I opened the door just a little more than normal and ‘boom’ he was there, I could see his bike in my face! With just half a lap to go, I was a little more nervous than before but I knew I had some strong points coming to the end of the lap. I tried to get the best drive out of the hill and then in the last corner I was beside him, when I released the brakes we were side by side in the corner and I was able to take my line and win the race. It was amazing and I’m really happy with this victory, for all my team and also for my father because it is his birthday! For the Championship we must keep up this momentum as Jorge is riding very strong and consistently in the top two. Testing will be important to set us up for the final part of the season, so let’s see what we can do”.
With his second win in a row, Pedrosa has now blown the MotoGP championship wide open, trailing current championship leader Jorge Lorenzo by only 13 points with 6 races remaining in the 18-round championship.
The series takes a two-week break before heading to the Misano circuit in San Marino, Italy September 14-16.