MOTOGP | BRNO: The team strategy lifts Marquez up

by H. Mayor – photo: | In a day overshadowed by the memory of legend Angel Nieto, Brno witnessed an exciting and versatile race which ended up with a Spanish trio on the podium. At the top stood the smartest driver under the ever-changing circumstances of the day. Marc Marquez opens up his distance with the rest within a still very close leadership.

He had already showed a different strategy over the weekend which succeeded in giving him the pole and which he replicated in this very unconventional race. Under an unsettled sky and with a slight but persistent drizzle, the race had to be disputed in the wet. Márquez, unexpectedly, opted for medium and soft tyres instead of the most common water back tyre of choice by the rest of drivers. The key of the strategy however was in boxes where a dry bike awaited an early change over.

The initial manoeuvre gave him the lead at the start but he quickly fell back under Jorge Lorenzo’s meteoric impulse and Rossi’s attack. Just before completing the second lap Marc went down to tenth position before getting the ace out of his sleeve. The track was now dry, something nobody else had predicted. The early change of machine, with medium tyres back and front, turned things around completely: an amazing performance which shifted the balance in his favour way before anyone else had time to react.

Rossi, Zarco, Lorenzo

It took too long for Rossi and Zarco to make the change and they paid for it by loosing any chance to the podium. But it was even worse for Jorge Lorenzo whom after an exceptional start entered boxes only to have to wait an awfully long time for another bike which at the end wasn’t up to scratch. Marc was passing everyone on the track like a rocket, scoring ten extra seconds per lap; an unbeatable margin.

Behind Marquez, the rest of the drivers in the grid got into their different positions according to the time it took them to react. Espargaro was the first one to change bikes but he was way behind at that point. Pedrosa managed to pick up speed and achieved a very valuable second position. Viñales also accelerated in the second half and overtook Petrucci and Crutchlow completing the podium. Rossi had the grit to climb back to fourth, and Dovizioso ended up sixth. Lorenzo (who would have thought) ended up fifteenth despite his impressive start; a clear example of how determinant the work in boxes is.

The distances between the pilots at the lead stretches slightly: Marquez is now 14 points before Viñales and 21 and 22 points ahead of Dovizioso and Rossi respectively. All of them, including Pedrosa who is now in fifth position, remain plausible contenders for victory in this exceptionally open championship.

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