BRNO, Czech Republic — Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa stormed to a thrilling victory at this weekend’s Grand Prix České republiky in Brno ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Cal Crutchlow, opening up the championship race once more.
Despite dark clouds looming, the track was dry, much to the delight of riders and fans, and it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo who got the holeshot off the line, holing off Pedrosa and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow. Yamaha’s Ben Spies looked to continue his bad luck as he dropped back drastically after a few corners with a slipping clutch. This left Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi to chase down Crutchlow in third.
With 17 laps to go, LCR Honda MotoGP’s was involved in a tight battle with San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, with the German taking the Spaniard for sixth after dicing for numerous turns. Meanwhile, Spies looked to have re-found his stride with the issue sorted, and was fighting his way back through the pack after dropping down to 13th. Three laps later, Bradl was dicing with Rossi for fifth place, getting the better of the Italian after a few attempts. On the same lap, Spies’ race came to an end after he crashed out of his charge.
Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva suffered a technical issue with 12 laps remaining, while Lorenzo and Pedrosa were neck and neck at the front of the race, having pulled out a significant gap over Crutchlow. On the same lap Bautista overtook Rossi, whose Desmosedici looked to be slowing. A lap later Pedrosa sparked some life into the battle at the front, as he got past Lorenzo on the inside, though the Mallorcan continued to stick to his rear wheel.
On the last lap it was MotoGP racing at its best with Lorenzo forcing his way past Pedrosa with a tough move, with the Repsol Honda rider fighting back almost immediately, and the two almost neck-and-neck into the final turn. With Pedrosa on the better line coming into the final turn, he had the most drive to the line to take his third victory of the season.
Crutchlow recorded his own milestone by taking his first ever podium in the MotoGP class, a fitting way to celebrate his contract extension with the team this weekend. Pedrosa’s win has moved him to within 13 points of Lorenzo and blown the championship race wide open at the top. Fourth spot went to Dovizioso, in front of Bradl, Bautista, Rossi and Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet who finished top CRT. Cardion AB Racing’s local rider Karel Abraham and De Puniet’s teammate Aleix Espargaró completed the top 10.
Colin Edwards was the best finishing American in 13th.