After a torrential Moto2 race at the Automotodrom Brno, it was the turn of the MotoGP machines to head out as the rain was just starting to stop – leaving the prospect of a flag-to-flag hanging over the race. In the end it wasn’t to be, and it was Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) who sliced through the field in one of the most spectacular victories in recent years, taking the flag to become the first British winner for 35 years.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) completed the podium in a chaotic race, with the 9-time champion making a small gain on title rival Marquez as the two crossed the line in P2 and P3 respectively.
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Polesitter Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) had the worst start off the front row as Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) swept past the championship leader, before both Movistar Yamaha riders Lorenzo and teammate Valentino Rossi began to drop through the field. Marquez played it safe to slot into the middle of the top ten as his title challengers suffered, as Iannone, teammate Dovizioso and Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) escaped at the front.
Cal Crutchlow then proved the man on the charge, with a tyre combination of a hard front and hard rear coming into its own as the Brit charged from P15 to stunningly catch the front of the race. Dovizioso suffered a tyre problem that saw him pull in, as Crutchlow fought to take over at the front on an incredible roll.
The softer tyre compounds of the frontrunners soon began to see them suffer, and it was Crutchlow leading the charge ahead of Valentino Rossi as the 9-time world champion suddenly clicked into gear and followed the Brit into the lead. The two, after seeming an almost lost cause after Lap 1 as they circulated well outside the top ten, proved unstoppable in their climb through the field and overcame what had seemed almost impossible to take the 1-2.
Marc Marquez then chose his moment to fight back, taking Andrea Iannone and Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) in the squabble for the podium and protecting his title lead with a steady ride home behind Rossi. Now 53 points clear of Rossi, who took over in P2 in the title fight, Marquez has seen his lead grow through some of the most challenging races of the season – and ridden with a level head to make sure that was the case.
Late chargers as the tyre wear proved decisive saw Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) suddenly appear and overtake his teammate Barbera, and Eugene Laverty (PULL&BEAR Aspar) join the fight as he overtook Iannone for P6.
Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) also overtook his compatriot to end the race in P7, with Iannone coming home just ahead of Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who crossed the line in P9.
Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) kept his head to take his first top ten finish in MotoGP, ahead of Yonny Hernandez (PULL&BEAR Aspar). Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) had a tough race to come home in P12, with old rival Jorge Lorenzo suffering the worst in Brno as the title contender suffered with a front tyre problem.
Lorenzo fell backwards through the field in the early laps like teammate Rossi, and when he got back on the pace proved to be one of the fastest out there – also like teammate Rossi. With 7 laps to go the ‘Spartan’ then seemed to make the shocking decision to come into the pits to change bikes, but later revealed the front tyre on the first bike was unridable. The Mallorcan headed back out in the race for a number of laps on the second bike in order to not retire, before switching back to his first machine with different front rubber and trying to salvage a better finish.