A gamble on tyre choice turned
into a tactical masterstroke in the Czech Grand Prix held on August 7, 2017, as
defending World Champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda Team made an early pit
stop to switch bikes after only two laps of the 23-lap race.
The tenth race of 2017 started
on a damp track, after Marquez had made a last-minute change to a soft rear
rain tyre, while everyone else went with the medium. He led away from pole
position, but quickly realised he had made the wrong choice. This convinced the
24-year-old Spaniard to make an early pit stop to take his slick-equipped bike
before anyone else made the move. His second-guess tactics helped him to win
the race by 12 seconds, his biggest MotoGP victory margin in his 32nd success
in the class of kings.
Marquez’s decision to switch
bikes so early was inspired – by the time all his rivals were also on slicks
the three-times MotoGP king had built an unassailable 20-second lead. His
progress to his second successive win and his third of the season was
deceptively serene – he admitted that the early laps on slicks had been fraught
with risk. This latest success increased his championship lead to 14 points
over Maverick Vinales (Yamaha), who finished a distant third.
Marquez’s teammate Dani
Pedrosa was a little more cautious, changing bikes two laps after his
team-mate. But the veteran Honda rider’s pace, which had put him on the front
row of the grid for a second race in a row, soon paid off. By lap nine, he was
in second place, and was never threatened in his ride to the runner-up spot.
This was the 31-year-old
Spaniard’s fifth podium of the season and his 150th across all three
categories: MotoGP, 250cc and 125cc. The result also paid dividends for his
championship chances, moving him to within nine points of fourth overall in a
still-close battle at the top of the table.
The all-Spanish podium
dedicated their results to Spain’s 13-times World Champion Angel Nieto, who recently
succumbed to injuries sustained in a road accident.
The next race is the Austrian
Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, next weekend.The next stop on the calendar
will be heartening for Lorenzo and the Ducati team, as MotoGP heads to Austria
– a track that suits the ‘Desmosedici’ like no other. And despite Marquez’
domination at Brno, everything remains very much an open book – with Vinales,
Rossi, Dovizioso and Pedrosa still in hot pursuit ahead of next weekend’s visit
to the Red Bull Ring.
Repsol Honda Team
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
OCTO Pramac Racing
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Team Suzuki Ecstar
Pull &Bear Aspar Team
EG 0,0 Marc VDS
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