Brno. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) threw down the gauntlet to his Championship rivals in the Czech GP, with the race declared wet but the track quickly drying at the start – conditions made for a tactical masterstroke for those willing to gamble. And that’s exactly what the number 93 pulled off. A second consecutive victory saw him grow his Championship lead, with teammate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) closing in on those above him in the standings with an impressive ride into second – taking his 150th podium. Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) managed to charge back up through the field to complete the rostrum, limiting the damage caused by pitting later and keeping himself second in the standings.
With Cal Crutchlow the last man in between the ‘Doctor’ and his teammate Viñales as they honed in on the top four, Rossi got his head down and pushed on – eventually catching the Brit and able to get past him on the final lap. Dovizioso followed the number 35 home and took P6, close but not quite able to shadow his compatriot over the line.
Petrucci took a solid result in seventh after losing grip in the latter stages, ahead of Aleix Espargaro after a penalty for an unsafe release in pit lane saw the Spaniard move back three places.
There was a rockstar performance in P9, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crossing the line only two tenths off his older brother, taking a stunning result in a tough race and bringing some good points home for the Austrian factory.
Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completed the top ten, with the German rookie slicing back through the field and escaping the clutches of fellow rookie Alex Rins.
Aleix Espargaró plays a key role in the race, taking a good eighth place finish in Brno despite a penalty.
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.
Aleix Espargaró: 8th
"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."