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
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!’