The first British win in 35 years – and the second independent team win of the season.
After a torrential Moto2™ race at the Automotodrom Brno, it was the turn of the MotoGP machines to head out as the rain was just starting to stop – leaving the prospect of a flag-to-flag hanging over the race. In the end it wasn’t to be, and it was Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) who sliced through the field in one of the most spectacular victories in recent years, taking the flag to become the first British winner for 35 years. He also follows Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) into the history books as a winner with an independent team in 2016, with wet weather opening the door for many on the grid.
The softer tyre compounds of the frontrunners soon began to see them suffer, and it was Crutchlow leading the charge ahead of Valentino Rossi as the 9-time world champion suddenly clicked into gear and followed the Brit into the lead. The two, after seeming an almost lost cause after Lap 1 as they circulated well outside the top ten, proved unstoppable in their climb through the field and overcame what had seemed almost impossible to take the 1-2.
Marc Marquez then chose his moment to fight back, taking Andrea Iannone and Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) in the squabble for the podium and protecting his title lead with a steady ride home behind Rossi. Now 53 points clear of Rossi, who took over in P2 in the title fight, Marquez has seen his lead grow through some of the most challenging races of the season – and ridden with a level head to make sure that was the case.
Late chargers as the tyre wear proved decisive saw Loris Baz (Avintia Racing) suddenly appear and overtake his teammate Barbera, and Eugene Laverty (PULL&BEAR Aspar) join the fight as he overtook Iannone for P6.
Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) also overtook his compatriot to end the race in P7, with Iannone coming home just ahead of Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), who crossed the line in P9.
Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) kept his head to take his first top ten finish in MotoGP, ahead of Yonny Hernandez (PULL&BEAR Aspar). Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) had a tough race to come home in P12, with old rival Jorge Lorenzo suffering the worst in Brno as the title contender made a big error with a bike swap decision.
Lorenzo fell backwards through the field in the early laps like teammate Rossi, and when he got back on the pace to be one of the fastest out there, Lorenzo chose the gamble and came in to switch bikes. It proved the wrong decision on the day, with the ‘Spartan’ losing points to Marquez in the championship, and teammate Rossi.
Next up? Silverstone, as Crutchlow heads back to his home track for the British GP.