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MotoGP Brno: Crutchlow bags historic first-ever win

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow is the first British rider since Barry Sheene 35 years ago to win a race in the premier class, and the MotoGP racer did it in style, and his tyre choice of a wet hard front and hard rear definitely paid off in drying conditions in Brno.

Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi is now second in the overall standings and leap frogs Lorenzo in the process. The Doctor did not have a good start, but as other riders experienced tyre wear with the soft front and rear compounds, Rossi opted for the harder rear option and soft front, and throughout the 22 lapper the Italian gained pace, while others dropped off.

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez had to manage his tyres during the latter part of the race as he went for the full wet soft options, but managed to hold on to take third. At the start of the race the Czech track was wet, but it soon began to dry out as the rain stopped overhead before the race had even started.

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Some rider’s did opt for a flag-to-flag option, but the three rostrum finishers stayed out on track to the very end. Initially it was Marquez who got the hole-shot followed very closely by the Ducati’s of Dovizioso and Iannone, with the quickest man in warm up, Scott Redding up to fifth on the opening lap in wet conditions.

Meanwhile it was not the best of starts for the Movistar M1’s of Lorenzo and Rossi, who found themselves in eleventh and twelfth at the end of the first lap. On the second rotation Dovizioso on his Desmosedici got the better of Marquez coming out of the final corner, and soon there were three Ducati’s in front of Marquez with twenty laps to go as Iannone and Redding out-paced the Spaniard on the straight. The leading Ducati’s all opted for the soft rear and soft front wet Michelin’s.

It had been raining heavily all day, but just before the race the rain stopped, but the Czech track was still wet, but this did not appear to faze Redding who went up to second after five rotations, with Dovi going wide, allowing for his team-mate to take the lead. Elsewhere with sixteen laps remaining Rossi and Lorenzo fell further down the pack, with the younger of the pair going outside the points in sixteenth, with Rossi in thirteenth. Further up the field Marquez did lose a place to Barbera.

As the track started to dry up on lap seven Crutchlow set the fastest lap of the race so far and pushed past both Rossi, Smith and Espargaro to go up to ninth on his harder rear and front tyre combination.

But while in third Dovizioso had a technical issue and appeared to have a problem with the soft front tyre, and rode back to his garage and after a word with his pit crew changed bikes and on to the intermediate front and rear tyres. It did look like the riders who opted for the harder wet compounds found some added pace with twelve laps to go, with Crutchlow, Rossi and Lorenzo gaining some places with the Brit up to fourth after making a move on Marquez.

With nine laps left Smith pitted and went for the slick rear and front tyres, but there was drama at the front with Crutchlow gaining pace and was up to second after passing both Barbera and Redding at Kevin Schwantz corner, and the Isle of Man resident had Iannone as his next target.

Lorenzo then went into the pits to change bikes and jumped on his M1 with slicks in the rear and back, but while all that was going on Crutchlow went into the lead coming out of turn 12 on lap fourteen. But then Lorenzo went back into the pits for a second time with a different tyre change.

But it was paving out to be a better race for his team-mate, with Rossi deciding not to pit and charged on ahead of Marquez and Barbera coming down the straight with five laps remaining. Then fellow compatriot Iannone was the Doctor’s next target and he subsequently over took the Ducati at turn 12.

When the chequered flag appeared, Baz finished just ahead of his team-mate, Barbera and it was a Avintia Racing fourth and fifth. Aspar’s Eugene Laverty finished well inside the top ten in sixth, followed closely by Petrucci, Iannone (who’s front tyre was completely destroyed) Vinales and Rabat completing the top ten.

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Britain‘s Scott Redding could not sustain the softer option compounds and in the end slipped back on the penultimate lap to fifteenth. It was another race that Lorenzo failed to bag any points, as he finished in seventeenth. Dovizioso and Smith later retired to the pits.

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