The Monster Energy Grand Prix České republiky was the kind of procession that gives MotoGP a bad name. Marc Marquez led wire-to-wire without breaking a sweat for his 50th premier class win and a 63-point lead heading to Austria. A bit of a scramble behind him left Ducati pilots Andrea Dovizioso and Jack Miller on the side steps of the podium. Golden Boy Fabio Quartararo finished in P7, finally showing some respect for his elders. The season grinds on.
15 years ago, if you happened to find yourself in the lead late in a MotoGP race, the last person you wanted materializing on your rear tire was #46, Valentino Rossi. That was, at the time, a portent of almost certain doom – for you – as Rossi was king of the jungle, until impudents like Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo came along. Today, the guy you don’t want to see bearing down on you is Marc Marquez, all hunkered down on his Honda RC213V to where you can barely tell where he stops and the bike starts. Turning laps four tenths faster than you, with plenty of tire left.
The 2017 Czech Motorcycle Grand Prix, after much pre-race sturm und drang, turned out to be a fascinating six-lap race with a 16-lap warm down. Series leader Marc Marquez, with the best meteorologists of any crew, pitted at the end of Lap 2 and changed from soft rain tires to slicks before the thought occurred to many of his competitors. He summarily seized the lead on Lap 6 and never looked back.
MotoGP has been cleared for landing at historic Brno, nestled in the rolling Moravian region of the Czech Republic and host to the most widely-attended GP on the calendar. Five riders have formed the first group, tight as ticks, but the next two races favor the Yamahas and Ducatis. If Marc Marquez can hold serve this week and next, his chances of a title in 2017 will take a great leap forward. Chápeš? ¿Entiendes?
With three wet/dry races in the last four rounds, MotoGP fans should be getting accustomed to strange results. Aussie Jack Miller came out of nowhere to win at Assen on his satellite Honda. Marc Marquez held serve at The Sachsenring, but was joined on the podium by Cal Crutchlow and Ducati pilot Andrea Dovizioso. Today, the abrasive #CalCulator won his first ever premier class race ahead of Yamaha icon Valentino Rossi and Marquez. Cosmic justice prevailed – the biggest day in modern British racing history had virtually no impact on the 2016 season series.
Factory Yamaha kingpins Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, a mere nine points between them, would probably enjoy fighting things out for the rest of the season in a series of match races, going one-on-one on empty tracks for bragging rights in 2015. While attendance on Sundays probably would not decline by all that much, the rest of the grid, most notably Repsol Honda threats Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, would prefer to be involved. By “involved” I mean trading paint in tight spaces, hoping to disrupt things sufficiently for Marquez, at least, to have a shot at MotoGP title #3.
Most of the 131,800 fanatics who attended Sunday’s Czech Grand Prix at Brno – hoping to boast to their grandkids that they were there the day Repsol Honda icon Marc Marquez broke the record for consecutive wins to start a season – were reduced, at best, to bragging they were at the race Marquez lost in 2014, when he went 17 for 18 on the way to his second premier class title in two seasons. With Yamaha studs Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi joining winner Dani Pedrosa on the podium, it was just like the good old days, before the annoying Marquez came along, in 2012, when the three of them used to win everything.
An idea that was once viewed as preposterous is now causing some MotoGP fans to become bored. The notion that one rider could sweep an entire 18 race season, in the midst of Aliens, bad weather, reckless competitors, a bunch of ticky-tacky rules, and plain old bad luck, has been widely dismissed for the last 40 years, since the ancient days of Giacomo Agostini. And yet here we are, on the cusp of one of the most amazing feats in motorsports history.
Repsol Honda wonder Marc Marquez won today’s Czech Grand Prix by 3/10ths over teammate Dani Pedrosa, with Yamaha double-champion Jorge Lorenzo another two seconds behind. Once again making it look easy, Marquez now leads Pedrosa by 26 points and a disheartened Lorenzo by 44 with seven rounds left in the 2013 season. Had the rookie not crashed out of the lead at Mugello back in June, this thing would be over already.
Fresh off his fantasy weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, rookie Marc Marquez leads Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa and the rest of the grid to eastern Europe for the bwin Grand Prix České republiky. Between 2007 and 2011 the winner here went on to win the premier class championship. Pedrosa put an end to all that last year, edging eventual factory Yamaha champion Jorge Lorenzo by 2/10ths of a second. Will the race revert to its historical pattern in 2013?