MotoGP scrap moves to Brno
AFTER nine races, the second half of this year’s MotoGP season beckons in the Czech Republic this weekend with the top five riders in the championship – Marc Marquez (Honda), Maverick Viñales (Yamaha), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and Dani Pedrosa (Honda) split by only 26 points.
The top four of those are within 10 points of each other, and it has never been closer.
That’s a tantalising prospect as the Brno race brings to an end the month-long MotoGP summer break. Ten different podium finishers, four different championship leaders, and five different winners is the count so far in an intriguing season.
Marquez is the title leader for the first time this year after the German GP, and his team-mate Pedrosa has found some form too with five podium visits this year including victory in Spain. Brno is a track where Honda have the best recent record and a good place to launch their assault on the second half of the season.
The man now second in the standings - and who has been first or second since the Qatar season-opener - is Viñales. He’ll be wanting to stamp the authority he lost ahead of the summer break straight back onto proceedings, but the man on the other side of the garage will have a lot to say about that.
Rossi has a long record of winning and rostrum finishes at Brno. Still very much in the title fight at the halfway stage, the Doctor has found his way from a challenging preseason to fourth place in the standings, just ten points adrift of the leader – not something he’ll be ready to give up.
Then there are the works Ducatis. Andrea Dovizioso has already won two races this season and sits a very close third in the standings. Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo has had a tougher season so far and lies ninth, with the five-time world champion taking just one podium so far.