Photography by Gold & Goose
The streak is done. In front of an enormous crowd of 138,000 at the Brno Circuit in the Czech Republic Marc Marquez’ amazing run of victories in the 2014 MotoGP came to an end. After 10 straight victories to open 2014 and missing the outright record by a single race, Marquez finally lost and instead it was his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa running a brilliant race to score his first victory since the Malaysian round last year. Having led early, Jorge Lorenzo eventually finished second, 0.410 seconds down to Pedrosa, having closed the margin substantially on the final lap. Valentino Rossi overcame a good mid-race battle with Marquez to earn the final podium result.Rossi was a little over five-seconds back from Pedrosa.
For Marquez the fourth-place finish marked the first time the defending champion has ever finished off the podium in a race he completed.
The Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso led the race in the early going and eventually battled to the finish with Pramac’s Iannone getting fifth over the factory Ducati of Dovizioso.
Iannone and Dovizioso, using softer compound rear tires, went to the front, on the first lap while Marquez had a sub-par start and ran sixth.
Lorenzo, sensing an opportunity with Marquez struggling early, decided to try to take advantage and broke to the front and immediately put a gap on the field, setting a new circuit record of 1:56.066 in the process.
Cal Crutchlow crashed early, but rejoined the race only to retire later.
On lap five Iannone and Marquez banged bars in their battle for third. Marquez was certainly not being conservative in his quest to set a new GP record. At about the same time Pedrosa moved past Lorenzo for the lead. Marquez meanwhile broke through to third and had a clear track in front of him a couple seconds behind the leaders Pedrosa and Lorenzo.
On lap seven Pol Espargaro and Michael Laverty both crashed out in separate incidents.
The middle stages saw the race calm with Pedrosa holding a steady lead over Lorenzo, Marquez and Rossi. It looked at this stage of the race, with Pedrosa looking so solid up front, that Marquez might actually lose a race.
On lap 12 Rossi began closing in on Marquez. It perhaps proved that Marquez was not holding anything in reserve. After several attempts Rossi came through at turn six on lap 13 to take over third. Suddenly Marquez was in danger of not only having his winning streak ended, but also finishing off the podium.
In the end Pedrosa held off a late charge by Lorenzo. Rossi eventually pulled away from Marquez to score his seventh podium of the finish.
It was almost unbelievable to watch a MotoGP and Marquez not winning. It was said that an undefeated season was nearly impossible, but the way Marquez had been riding this year, he was making plenty of believers.
It marked the first race in the MotoGP era without an American rider. Alex De Angelis, who replaced Colin Edwards on the NGM forward Yamaha, finished 16th.
Leon Camier, in only his second MotoGP start, scored a world championship point in 15th.
Marquez lost 12 points from his championship lead, but still leads Pedrosa by a massive 77 points after 11 of 18 rounds.
“I did not plan the race in this way,” said Pedrosa, who scored his 26th-career MotoGP victory, matching his competition number. “Jorge was so strong in the first two laps and he opened a gap immediately. I had to change my plan and push to the limits. In the first laps I could feel my bike working well, so I really pushed. And then I keep my rhythm until the end. At the end a little struggle with the rear grip and I was not able to go out strong in the corners. Finally I could manage the gap until the last lap and win this race, which makes me feel so special, because it’s been tough races until now. Today was so special; also for my team everyone is so happy. I’m really pleased also to see them happy.”
The series resumes in two weeks with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Results of the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic at the Brno Circuit – Aug. 17, 2014
1. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 42m 47.800s
2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 42m 48.210s
3. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 42m 53.059s
4. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 42m 58.254s
5. Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 43m 5.439s
6. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 43m 5.634s
7. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 43m 11.619s
8. Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 43m 17.421s
9. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 43m 18.164s
10. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 43m 25.439s
11. Scott Redding GBR Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R) 43m 43.404s
12. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Test Rider (Desmosedici) 43m 44.527s
13. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 43m 44.708s
14. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) 43m 51.935s
15. Leon Camier GBR Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 43m 52.702s
16. Alex De Angelis RSM NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 44m 8.466s
17. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Avintia) 44m 12.082s
18. Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing (Avintia) 44m 15.236s
19. Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) 44m 26.667s
Danilo Petrucci ITA IodaRacing Project (ART) DNF
Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team (Desmosedici) DNF
Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) DNF
Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) DNF
Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) DNF