BRNO MO­TOGP CHAOS IN PITS DE­CIDES RACE

TYRE ER­ROR COMES GOOD Honda star picks wrong tyres, re­alises his mis­take… and steals a march on ri­vals with early bike swap

Motorcycle News (UK) - - NEWS - MO­TOGP RE­PORTER SIMON PAT­TER­SON

Marc Mar­quez says that a mis­take in tyre choice dur­ing Sun­day’s Czech GP was the cat­a­lyst for him tak­ing a stun­ning and com­pre­hen­sive vic­tory.

The Rep­sol Honda star looked strong through­out the week­end in both wet and dry con­di­tions, but with heavy rain fall­ing just be­fore Sun­day’s race and leav­ing the grid lining up on a damp but rapidly dry­ing track, it was more good luck than clever plan­ning that led to his crush­ing win.

Choos­ing to go with the softer of Miche­lin’s two wet rear tyre op­tions (one of only two riders on the grid to do so) the gam­ble failed for him when the tyre burned out in only a sin­gle lap of the es­sen­tially dry cir­cuit.

He said: “It was a lit­tle bit like the flag-to-flag in Ger­many last year, where I was strug­gling with the soft tyre and went in too early to pit. I don’t know why I de­cided to take the risk with it on the grid, but as soon as I went out I knew that it was the wrong de­ci­sion. I thought it would give me extra grip for five laps be­fore pit­ting to change bikes, but it didn’t go like that. I soon started to strug­gle a lot and lost many po­si­tions.

“I nearly crashed three or four times, and had to go into the box for the slick tyres. But we did a great job be­cause the team were so quick – Fol­ger went in and his bike wasn’t ready, but ev­ery­thing was per­fect for me.”

But while we’ve seen the five-time world cham­pion opt for the safe op­tion in re­cent races to bring home a solid points haul and lead the ti­tle fight, he said af­ter the race that when he re­alised a vic­tory was on the cards he knew he had to grasp the op­por­tu­nity with both hands – even if that meant tak­ing few more risks than usual.

Mar­quez said: “I felt like I wanted to take a risk, like I wanted to push to win the race. Hon­estly, to­day I took some risks but it was one of those days when you just have to do it. But it was all worth it when I passed the pit lane and saw a board with P1 +18 on it – it was like the sunshine had come!”

Now hold­ing a rel­a­tively com­fort­able 14-point lead over Mav­er­ick Viñales and go­ing straight into a back-to-back race week­end in Aus­tria, Mar­quez con­ceded that Rep­sol Honda’s plan of test­ing at Brno in the sum­mer break,

a track where he has had dif­fi­cul­ties in the past, was cru­cial.

“Brno is a track I nor­mally strug­gle at, one I worry about ev­ery year, and getting 25 points was very im­por­tant. But we chose the cor­rect strat­egy dur- ing the sum­mer break, com­ing here to test, and we ar­rived pre­pared. We’re im­prov­ing step by step, but the cham­pi­onship is still very, very tight and we must be able to be fast in all track and weather con­di­tions.”

‘Still not rain­ing…’ Mar­quez, Pe­drosa and Viñales de­fied the Brno weather

It’s not ev­ery day you turn a ter­ri­ble tyre choice into a fa­mous vic­tory

‘When I saw P1 +18 on my pit board, it was like the sun had come out!’

MARC MAR­QUEZ

Now 14 points ahead, Mar­quez is hop­ing to keep win­ning

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