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GP Week : Issue 188
Marc Marquez isn’t merely merciless. He’s also magnificent, marvellous, amazing, and a man in a million. Aged just 20 and in his first “learning year” on a MotoGP bike, the Repsol Honda rider chalked up his fourth win in a row and his fifth this year at Brno, with a fighting performance where he put his two spanish rivals firmly in their place. Neither of his broken-collarbone pursuers could point to physical weakness this time. Well, perhaps second-placed team-mate Dani Pedrosa could a bit, but only a bit. And at least he was within half-a -second at the end. All the same, Marquez – on the rostrum at every race bar the Italian GP, where he crashed out of second – now has a one-race cushion in the championship. He leads Pedrosa by 26 points, with Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) falling even further behind. The fourth win in a row was yet another record for the reigning Moto2 champion, who has been knocking down the ‘youngest-ever ’ statistics from race two at Austin: youngest- ever pole qualifier, to lead the World Championship, to win his second race. There are no age qualifications for the latest. No rookie has won five races in his first season, and certainly not four in a row. Who would now bet against him becoming the youngest-ever World Champion? The race, over 22 laps of the fine, fast and sweeping Brno circuit, was watched by more than 140,000 fans thronging the natural hillside grandstands. They got their money’s worth, for it was no foregone conclusion. Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha) had qualified on pole for a second time, with Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda) second after following third- placed Marquez, pushing Pedrosa and Lorenzo to row two. But it was Lorenzo away from the start, gaining a lead of a second on the first lap as he strove to escape. To no avail. He had the two Hondas in pursuit from the off, Marquez ahead, and well before half distance they were on him. Jorge fought hard, repulsing Marquez’s first attack and then reversing his first overtake on lap 16 two laps later. Next time, however, he had no answer. And though he stayed close until a couple of laps from the end, when Pedrosa also got by with three laps left, that was the end of him. He had to settle for third. Pedrosa then closed on Marquez, and said later he’d timed it wrong. “If I’d passed Jorge a lap earlier, I had a chance to win ... this is the first race since my crash that I could do more than just try to finish,” He was 0.313 seconds behind over the line. For Marquez, it was all a pleasant surprise. “I didn’t expect this win, because Dani is strong here and won last year, and the Yamahas tested here in the summer break.” The finishing order was the same as at Indy, just one week ago. Valentine Rossi (Yamaha) fought back to reclaim fourth from Bautista on the last lap, a replay of their Indy battle; Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) was a lone sixth and the Marlboro Ducati pair Dovizioso and Hayden finished in that order, glued together all race long, 35 seconds adrift, and 15 clear of Energy TI Ducati rider Andrea Iannone. Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics ART) was tenth, again top CRT rider, but only a second clear of a much- revived Colin Edwards (NGM Mobile FTR Kawasaki). Michele Pirro (Ignite Ducati), Danilo Petrucci (Came Ioda Suter BMW), Hiro Aoyama (Avintia Blusens FTR Kawasaki) and Randy de Puniet (Power Electronics ART) took the last points. Crutchlow crashed out of fourth, battling with Bautista, after eight laps, remounting for 17th. Team-mate Bradley Smith also joined a four- strong crash list. Marquez now has 213 points, Pedrosa 187, Lorenzo 169, then Rossi (143) and Crutchlow (127). Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Kalex) took a first Moto2 win, narrowly ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Kalex) and Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Suter). Title rivals Pol Espargaro (Tuenti Kalex) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Kalex) were fourth and eighth respectively, Redding’s points lead shrunk to 21 points. In the Moto3 race, Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM) overcame his foot fractures as well as Maverick Vinales (Calvo KTM) and Jonas Folger (Mapfre KTM) to extend his title lead. The top five (Rins and Alex Marquez behind) finished within just over a second. MOTOGP >>> nEWs FOuR In A ROW FOR ThE ROOkIE-In-A-MIllIOn CZeCH GRAND PRIX 14 GPWEEK.com // 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: