Dani Pedrosa has claimed victory in the Czech Grand Prix after a race-long battle with Jorge Lorenzo. Pedrosa followed up his win a week ago in Indianapolis with one of the most impressive performances of his career to beat championship leader Lorenzo after an epic last lap battle.
The pair spent had spent the whole 22 laps separated by less than half of a second, and pushed each to the limit on the final lap following some tactical racing in the early stages. In an agonisingly tense last lap Lorenzo and Pedrosa swapped the lead four times before the race was finally decided in Pedrosa’s favour after a move at the final corner. The win for Pedrosa means he’s now just 13 points off the championship lead.
Cal Crutchlow can celebrate a great weekend for the man from Coventry. Having signed a new contract with Tech 3 to remain on one of their Yamahas next year, he then claimed his best qualifying position of his Moto GP career with second. His 3rd place finish today marks his maiden podium in the series. With today’s result he became the first Briton since Jeremy McWilliams 3rd place at Donnington Park 12 years ago to take a premier class podium. The Tech 3 rider was not quite able to live with the pace of Lorenzo and Pedrosa.
The leading pair had stretched their lead out as the race progressed with Lorenzo initially in the lead until Pedrosa made a move into the penultimate corner halfway through the race.
Lorenzo at that point tucked in behind Pedrosa until the final lap. Despite feigning moves every once and a while he left it late to make his move; having been faster through the stadium section than Pedrosa consistently. Lorenzo made his move to successfully steal the lead in the stadium complex.
Going into the penultimate turn Pedrosa inched back in front, but Lorenzo stuck with the outside line and tried to forge ahead when he got back on the power. Unfortunately for Lorenzo he ran wide and this gave Pedrosa the chance he needed as he used full use of the extra drive he had out of the second last corner to edge ahead of Lorenzo and block the line as they came onto the pit-straight. Lorenzo could do nothing in the slip-stream as Pedrosa crossed the line to claim back to back wins.
With Ben Spies once again having a nightmare race, having struggled with a clutch issue that saw him drop to 13th on the opening lap. He tried to recover but ultimately crashed out of the race and retired whilst running in 8th place. The battle for the bottom step of the podium was therefore an inter-team one between the Tech 3 bikes of Dovizioso and Crutchlow.
Dovizioso didn’t appear to have the same pace as Crutchlow and seemed to shadow his team-mate from a distance for most of the race. Having dropped some time early on being passed by Valentino Rossi it appeared that Dovizioso didn’t have the pace of his team-mate. Many were expecting Dovizioso to possibly close in on Crutchlow as the laps progressed; however he was unable to do so and saw the gap extend to just over 6 seconds at the flag.
After his best qualifying performance of the season so far, there were some early signs that Valentino Rossi might feature in the podium battle on his Ducati after he passed Dovizioso and Ben Spies on the opening lap. Unfortunately for the Doctor, as the race went on he did not seem to have the race-pace to keep up with Yamahas and Hondas. He was eventually overtaken by the satellite Hondas of Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista on his way to 7th spot.
Bradl claimed victory in the battle of the satellite Hondas with 5th spot just under 4 seconds up the road from Alvaro Bautista in 6th.
Randy de Puniet claimed the CRT honours with 8th spot and can be proud of his weekend’s work having also beaten the privateer Ducati’s of Karel Abraham and Toni Elias.
Tip Watch: Our man to watch Pedrosa won the race at an SP of 7/4 if you took our advice to wait after qualifying.
Our Stefan Bradl top 6 bet also paid dividends following his 5th place. He could be found at as big as 4/5 this morning.
Results – 22 laps:
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap
1. Dani Pedrosa Honda 42m51.570s
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha + 0.178s
3. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha + 12.343s
4. Andrea Dovizioso Tech 3 Yamaha + 18.591s
5. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda + 25.582s
6. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda + 29.451s
7. Valentino Rossi Ducati + 34.514s
8. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia + 1m04.285s
9. Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati + 1m08.278s
10. Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia + 1m09.972s
11. Toni Elias Pramac Ducati + 1m10.003s
12. Yonny Hernandez Avintia FTR-Kawasaki + 1m24.040s
13. Colin Edwards Forward Suter-BMW + 1m27.898s
14. Michele Pirro Gresini FTR-Honda + 1m36.165s
15. James Ellison Paul Bird Aprilia + 1m40.565s
16. Mattia Pasini Speed Master Aprilia + 1m41.226s
17. Danilo Petrucci Ioda-Aprilia + 1 Lap
Ivan Silva Avintia FTR-Kawasaki 9 laps
Ben Spies Yamaha 8 laps