Photography by Gold & Goose
With each passing week Marc Marquez is looking more and more like the 2013 MotoGP World Champion. The young Spaniard rookie rode a classic race at Brno, biding his time in the first half of the race behind rival Jorge Lorenzo and then passing and battling with the defending world champ, before pulling clear in the closing stages and holding off his Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa.
It marked Marquez’ fifth win this season and his fourth in a row, new records for a rookie. He also equaled Valentino Rossi’s record of 10 podiums in his rookie MotoGP season.
Marquez now owns a 26-point lead over Pedrosa in the championship, Lorenzo 44 points down in third. That's significant for Marquez, who now has more than a race win’s worth of points lead in the series going into next week’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Many considered Brno the track where Yamaha could make a stand. In the early stages it looked that way. Lorenzo got a flyer and immediately opened a gap on the Honda pair of Marquez and Pedrosa. Pole winner Crutchlow motioned to his crew on the starting grid and seemed to be trying to adjust the front brake lever on his bike. He dropped from first to fourth in the first few turns. Bautista slotted into fifth.
Hector Barbera crashed and collected an innocent Claudio Corti in the early going. Lukas Pesek and Bradley Smith were other early fallers.
Crutchlow and Bautista battled fiercely and on lap four the two swapped fourth place several times.
Lorenzo built his lead up to nearly a full second in the early going, but the Hondas starting matching the pace and then began to gradually chip away at the lead starting at about lap five.
On lap eight, just after clocking a faster time than the leading trio, Crutchlow, while running fourth, low-sided in a downhill lefthander. Unhurt, he ran to his bike hoping to get back in the race, but he found it too damaged and slowly made his way back to the pits.
Meanwhile in the middle section of the race Rossi and Bautista battled over fourth about four seconds back from the leading trio. Stefan Bradl rode alone in sixth.
Just past halfway the Honda’s of Marquez and Pedrosa, who looked content to follow leading Lorenzo, began to apply pressure to the leader. Just then a light rain began. Wet weather bikes were prepped and ready to go in pit lane. Fortunately they were not needed as the mino precipitation was only temporary.
With seven laps to go Marquez made a failed attempt to pass and stay in front of Lorenzo. But then later that lap Marquez made a second attempt and this time was able to make it stick and the world championship leader had the lead for the first time. At first Lorenzo attacked right back and even made one solid attempt to get back the lead, but on the straights Marquez’ Honda was able to open the slightest of gaps on Lorenzo’s Yamaha.
In the closing laps Bautista moved past Rossi, but the two continued to battle.
Lorenzo refused to give up the fight. He briefly took the lead again coming out of the last turn with four laps to go, but Marquez quickly came back to the front. And this time he started pulling away.
With a little over two laps to go Pedrosa made the move into second past Lorenzo, as Marquez had opened up his biggest lead. Pedrosa was desperate to catch his teammate and Lorenzo followed in his draft, perhaps with one more card in his vest.
But it was not to be. Marquez proved to be a tremendous leader, never putting a wheel wrong as Pedrosa made a futile last ditch effort to close, but came up just 0.313 seconds short at the checkered flag. Lorenzo succumbed to the inevitable and gave up the chase on the final lap, crossing the line 2.3 seconds behind the leader.
Rossi nipped Bautista in an excellent battle for fourth, but Rossi was shaking his head after the race, frustrated that he was 10 seconds off the race pace of the leaders.
Bradl was a lonely sixth. Then, as in Indianapolis, came the Ducati factory pair, but this time it was Andrea Dovizioso ahead of Nicky Hayden in their battle for seventh.
Andrea Iannone was ninth on the first Pramac Ducati and Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro just held off Colin Edwards on the NGM Forward Racing entry in tenth for the honor of top CRT finisher.
“Today I enjoyed a lot,” said a beaming Marquez after the race. “I enjoyed the victory, but also the battle with Jorge and also Dani was there. I’m very, very happy because obviously I didn’t expect a victory here. I know that Yamaha is very strong here and they did a test. I didn’t expect a victory; I expected to finish on the podium. But I am so happy for earning the points and for the battle with Jorge, because it was so nice.”
Grand Prix of the Czech Republic MotoGP results – Aug. 25, 2013
1. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 42m 50.729s
2. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 42m 51.042s
3. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 42m 53.006s
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 43m 0.830s
5. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 43m 0.907s
6. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 43m 10.536s
7. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP13) 43m 25.744s
8. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP13) 43m 26.083s
9. Andrea Iannone ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing (GP13) 43m 41.878s
10. Aleix Espargaro ESP Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 43m 47.121s
11. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 43m 48.149s
12. Michele Pirro ITA Ignite Pramac Racing (GP13) 43m 56.159s
13. Danilo Petrucci ITA Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT) 44m 3.093s
14. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 44m 4.229s
15. Randy De Puniet FRA Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 44m 4.857s
16. Yonny Hernandez COL Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT) 44m 5.720s
17. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 44m 11.369s
18. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART CRT) 44m 25.191s
19. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (ART CRT) 44m 40.442s
20. Bryan Staring AUS Go&Fun Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT) 44m 40.753s
21. Martin Bauer AUT Remus Racing Team (S&B Suter-BMW CRT) +1 lap
Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) DNF
Lukas Pesek CZE Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT) DNF
Claudio Corti ITA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) DNF
Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) DNF