Mo­toGP scrap moves to Brno

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORSPORT - MO­TOR­ING STAFF

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.

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